Guests aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras were treated to a special Junkanoo experience to celebrate the 50th anniversary of independence in the Bahamas. The special luncheon, performances, and other activities occurred on September 11, 2023, while the ship was docked in Nassau, the capital of the vibrant island nation.

Carnival Cruise Line commemorated the independence of the Bahamas along with 150 government officials, community leaders, and business professionals with a special event aboard Mardi Gras. The celebration showcased an overview of Junkanoo history with live performances from a local Bahamian troupe and the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band.

“Carnival has partnered with The Bahamas since we first started sailing more than half of a century ago, and we are honored to celebrate the country’s 50 years of independence, resilience, strength and progress,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival Cruise Line president.

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Stunning costumes, lively music, and smiles were the order of the day to celebrate 50 years of Bahamian independence, with great optimism for what the future holds for the island nation.

In late June, Carnival Cruise Line also hosted a Golden Jubilee breakfast aboard Carnival Legend during a visit to Freeport, also including cruise line executives, community members, and leaders of the Bahamas in celebration of the nation’s independence. During the breakfast, awards were presented to Grand Bahama parliamentarians to recognize their service.

Mardi Gras is currently sailing a 6-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary that departed Port Canaveral on Sunday, September 10. Nassau was the ship’s first port of call on the voyage, and the ship will also be visiting Amber Cove and Grand Turk before returning to Port Canaveral on Saturday, September 16.

Carnival Cruise Line has been a long-time guest favorite to visit the island nation with different vessels to different ports of call in the Bahamas for the past 50 years, including Nassau, Freeport, Bimini, and two exclusive private destinations – Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays.

The cruise line is also pledged for future growth and investment in the Bahamas with Celebration Key, a new $200 million (USD) private cruise port being developed exclusively for Carnival Cruise Line on Grand Bahama island.

With a mile of white sand beach and features that showcase Bahamian history, art, culture, and nature, the new destination will offer all guests unique and colorful insights into the Bahamas.

Photo Credit: Eric Glenn / Shutterstock

“As we commemorate the anniversary, we look forward to our future together, bringing millions more visitors to experience all the beauty and culture the country offers,” said Duffy.

Ground was broken on Celebration Key in May 2022, and the destination is forecast to welcome its first guests in July 2025.

“We are a paradise nation that is known for our pristine natural resources, culture, diversity and world-class hospitality,” said Parliamentary Secretary John H. W. Pinder II. “Partners like Carnival have helped showcase all we have to offer the world and contributed to our country’s flourishing economy over the last five decades. I thank them for their longstanding commitment now and in the future.”

Carnival Cruise Line plans to announce further details about Celebration Key later in September, including opening sales for the first itineraries that will visit the new destination. At least 10 ships from multiple US homeports will offer voyages that include Celebration Key.

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