From MARDI GRAS To MAGIC, Carnival Celebrates Milestone Events

Carnival Cruise Lines took delivery of their 23rd ship, the CARNIVAL MAGIC earlier this month in a gala ceremony held in Venice, Italy.  The new ship was christened by Lindsey Wilkerson, a former cancer patient and current employee of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, who pushed a button atop a winged replica of the Carnival funnel in the ship’s showroom releasing a bottle of champagne across the bow.  Following the May 1st ceremony, she and 3,700 other guests departed on a nine-day maiden voyage in the Mediterranean.

Illustration by Lorraine Turner, courtesy of Carnival Corp. & plc.

The delivery of the CARNIVAL MAGIC marked another milestone for the company.  It was the 100th cruise ship delivered to the combined companies of Carnival Corporation & plc.  To commemorate the event a specially commissioned painting by Lorraine Turner was unveiled showing Carnival’s first vessel the T.S.S. MARDI GRAS juxtaposed against the new M.S. CARNIVAL MAGIC.  The MARDI GRAS was built in 1961 for Canadian Pacific as the EMPRESS OF CANADA.  In forming what was then known as “The Golden Fleet” Carnival purchased the ship in 1972 and operated it until 1993.  The MARDI GRAS was a wonderful example of a classic ocean liner going on to a successful career as a cruise ship.  That first vessel measured 28,284 gross tons, with a length of 650 feet and carried 906 passengers.  In the 1970’s it was frequently billed as one of the largest cruise ships in the world.  Times have certainly changed and the new CARNIVAL MAGIC measures 130,000 gross tons, is 1,004 feet long and holds 3,690 passengers based on double occupancy.  As the painting clearly shows, they are two vastly different ships from eras that are separated stylistically by more than just the 50 years between when each was built.

Shawn Dake

Shawn Dake

Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years.  A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary.  A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs.  Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America.  With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.
Shawn Dake
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