Mardi Gras made her debut in the United States earlier, docking for the first time at Cruise Terminal 3 at Port Canaveral.

The location was built specifically for the latest ship from Carnival.

The vessel is the first in the Americas to be powered by Liquified Natural Gas and features the first rollercoaster at sea.

Port Canaveral-based Carnival Freedom and Carnival Liberty joined Mardi Gras as she made her way down the cruise channel, creating a befitting entrance.

More than 1,500 fans lined Jetty Park, located adjacent to the terminal, to welcome Mardi Gras to the Space Coast, while Carnival president, Christine Duffy, Carnival Corporation chairman, Micky Arison, and Carnival Corporation chief executive, Arnold Donald, participated in a welcome reception.

“Mardi Gras has been five years in the making and the arrival is a historic milestone for our company not to mention a truly emotional moment for everyone here at Carnival Cruise Line,” said Duffy. 

“This ship offers so many innovations and ways for our guests to choose fun that we are certain that she will quickly become a guest favourite.”

The company will now begin the process of ramping up Mardi Gras’ crew to a full contingent of 1,750 ready to create memorable trips for guests.

They will enjoy the widest array of entertainment at sea, including the first shipboard version of the hit TV show Family Feud.

Guests can enjoy a host of culinary, bar and entertainment experiences throughout 19 decks and six distinct themed zones, as well as a wide range of outdoor attractions, including the longest ropes course and largest water park in the fleet.

Mardi Gras will sail year-round from Port Canaveral, offering seven-day itineraries to the eastern and western Caribbean.

The New Orleans metro area added 3,200 jobs between January and February to reach 524,600 jobs. But a full recovery has not happened yet, as the region had 66,000 fewer jobs, down 11.1%, compared to a year ago. 

Louisiana statewide added 14,700 jobs month-to-month, for a total of 1.8 million, according to data released Wednesday by the Louisiana Workforce Commission. That’s still down 158,000 jobs, or 7.9% less than in February 2020. The numbers are not seasonally adjusted.

The data was compiled through surveys conducted in mid-February, before the state removed capacity restrictions on most businesses for the first time in more than a year. Even so, social distancing requirements still restrict how many customers establishments can have indoors. An ice storm around Mardi Gras that caused widespread power outages and street closures may have had an impact, according to local economists.

Mardi Gras was muted as parades were canceled and bars shuttered to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. There were some still some tourists who booked hotel rooms and trekked across the city. Overall, leisure and hospitality added 1,200 jobs month over month to 62,400 jobs. That’s still down 30,400 jobs, or 32.7% over the year. Inside the sector accommodations added 100 jobs between January and February while food services and drinking places added 1,400 jobs during the same time period. But arts, entertainment and recreation lost 300 jobs during that stint. 

New Orleans has been under more restrictive rules than the rest of Louisiana for months and only recently allowed live music indoors. 

Education and health services added 400 jobs month-to-month to 101,700 but was down 3,600 jobs over the year, or 3.4%.

Professional, scientific and technical services added 1,500 jobs month-to-month but was down 6,500 jobs, or 8.2%, over the year to 72,100 jobs.

Construction added 300 jobs month-to-month but was down 3,400 jobs over the year, or 11.8% to 25,300. 

Mining and logging was flat over the month but lost 700 jobs over the year, or 17%, to 3,400; manufacturing added 200 jobs month over month but lost 400 jobs over the year, or 1.3% to 29,800; trade, transportation and utilities lost 500 jobs over the month to 395,300 which is down 7,500 jobs or 6.7% for the year. Information, which includes the motion picture industry, lost 100 jobs over the month and was down 3,600 jobs over the year, or 40%. Financial activities were up 200 jobs to 28,200, still down 3,100 jobs, or 9.9%, over the year. Other services lost 200 jobs over the month to 21,200 jobs, down 3,300 over the year or, 13.4% while federal state and local government added 200 jobs over the month, still down 3,500 jobs over the year, or 4.7%. 

The New Orleans unemployment rate was 8.6%, down from 9.1% in February but up from 3.8% in February 2020.

Louisiana’s February unemployment rate was 7.1%, down from 7.6% in January but up from 4.2% in February 2020. The U.S. unemployment rate was 6.6% compared to 3.8%