Carnival’s largest cruise ship embarks on its maiden voyage

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Super-sized cruise ships aren’t that hard to find these days. A few weeks ago, Royal Caribbean unveiled its own Icon of the seasa mega-ship planned for beginning end of 2023.

But while the Icon is still under construction, Carnival Cruise Line the latest mega-ship, Carnival Celebration, has just embarked on its maiden voyage to Miami, Pitbull’s own. The ship left Southampton, England on Sunday to begin its two-week transatlantic cruise to Florida, where it will pick up its first passengers later this month.

Carnival’s Celebration is a 15-deck ship that also serves as a sister ship to the company’s other mega-ship, Mardi Gras. These two sea monsters sport roller coasters on deck. Celebration’s ride has been dubbed Bolt: Ultimate Sea Coaster and features an 800-foot-long track with vehicles that can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.

Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

Each of Carnival’s mega-ships is designed to carry up to 6,630 passengers, just slightly below Royal Caribbean’s Icon, which has a capacity of 7,600 passengers. But there’s nothing to be ashamed of, Mardi Gras and Celebration still manage to be bigger than all but 11 other cruise ships in the world. Celebration and Mardi Gras are also, as The Points Guy notesnow tied for the title of Carnival’s largest ships in its fleet.

Despite the similarities, Carnival’s two largest ships have key differences. Celebration will feature a revamped main indoor area, aptly named Celebration Central. Here you’ll find an ocean-facing atrium that will span three decks and give you access to plenty of dining and entertainment venues.

Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

For an extra touch of pizzazz, the main stage at Celebration was outfitted with 1,400 color-changing lights designed to look like confetti. The stage could not be better located – it will be one of the first things passengers will see once on board.

Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

In addition to Celebration Central, the ship has five other key dining and entertainment “zones”: The Gateway, Summer Landing, 820 Biscayne, Lido and The Ultimate Playground.

The Gateway aims to celebrate international flavors and will host several theme nights with names like Abroad in Europe, Far East Voyage and Mexico Lindo. Summer Landing is your classic cruising deck where you can grab a beer and BBQ while you relax by the pool. 820 Biscayne is a love letter to the ship’s home port. Here you can sample Miami favorites like frozen cocktails and Cuban sandwiches.

The Lido Bridge is another classic cruise ship find. You’ll find a few celebrity-owned restaurants here, like Guy Fieri’s Burger Joint or Shaq’s Big Chicken. This platform is also home to the coveted free serving machine. Don’t forget to pack the Lactaid.

Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

For thrill-seeking passengers, The Ultimate Playground is where you can find three huge waterslides, a full mini-golf course, a full basketball court, and a ropes course. So there is a lot to do to eliminate all this free software.

Once the ship completes its transatlantic journey, it will pick up potential passengers in Miami and begin regular six- to eight-day voyages to the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Celebration’s first trip out of Miami is scheduled for Nov. 21 and rates start at $449 per personexcluding taxes and fees.

While all of this may sound exciting, Carnival isn’t done adding to its 24-ship fleet just yet. The company is currently working on a sister ship to Carnival Celebration named Carnival Jubilee. The massive ship is currently under construction in Turku, Finland, at the same shipyard that built Celebration and Mardi Gras.

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Jeremy Porr is a journalist at Thrillist. Follow Jeremy on instagram.

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