Carnival takes ownership of North America’s first LNG-powered marine vessel

Carnival (NYSE: CCL)(NYSE: CUK) they delivered the newest, most innovative submarine, the Mardi Gras, on Friday. The Mardi Gras is a liquefied natural gas (LNG) power vessel, the first of its kind in North America, and is part of the tour line operator’s disarmament program.

Planned for its cruise on April 24, 2021, the Mardi Gras features the next one for a cruise ship: a sea roller at sea.

Artist’s representation of a BOLT roller

An artist’s design of the marine industry’s first offshore roller coaster, the BOLT. Image source: Carnival.

Traveling to a greener future

LNG is a fast-growing option for the tour industry that wants to switch from heavy fuel oil and marine gas oil diesel engines to gas turbine engines.

Carnival was one of the first submarine companies to make the switch, using LNG in 2015 to deliver the AIDAsol AIDA Cruises while in port. Three years later it launched the AIDAnova, the first cruise ship anywhere that could be powered at sea or in a port by LNG. It continued with the Smeralda Coast in 2019.

The Mardi Gras is the first LNG-powered vessel to divert waters around the southeast coast of the US. Carnival Celebration will continue in 2022.

LNG vessels are not particularly common yet as few LNG refueling ports were available. Carnival has partnered with Dutch Royal Shell (NYSE: RDS.A)(NYSE: RDS.B) to use the oil giant’s LNG bunker barge that will allow cruise ships like the Mardi Gras to refuel while in port.

Carnival worked with Port Canaveral in Florida to build an Excel class port to handle Mardi Gras-sized vessels. The new 180,000 tonne vessel will accommodate 5,200 guests and 2,000 crew. It has 2,600 staterooms and 180 suites, and will also have the world’s first roller coaster, the BOLT, which will operate while at sea.