Culinary artist prepares giant gingerbread model of Carnival Mardi Gras


Culinary artist and baker Karen Portaleo has created a giant gingerbread replica of Carnival’s newest ship, Mardi Gras, set to debut in 2020. The spicy and sweet version of the vessel is docked on display at Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta, Georgia.

Measuring 23ft (7m) in length and weighing 1,500 lb (680kg) , the ship-shaped confection was introduced with an official naming ceremony, with Portaleo serving as godmother. The Food Network star smashed a ceremonial bottle across the vessel’s bow.

Carnival made a US$10,000 donation to the Immune Deficiency Foundation, Portaleo’s charity of choice, which is dedicated to improving the diagnosis, treatment and quality of life of those with primary immunodeficiencies.

“I’ve created hundreds of cakes during my career but a 1,500 lb gingerbread cruise ship is certainly a first for me,” said Portaleo. “As a baker, I’m always looking for a challenge and creating a gingerbread replica of Mardi Gras was an amazing experience as it serves as a fun conversation piece for thousands of holiday shoppers. I can’t wait to see the real Mardi Gras when it debuts next year.”

“Carnival is all about bringing fun and memorable vacations to more than five million guests who sail with us every year,” said Hugo Castillo, Carnival’s creative director. “And what better way to ring in the season and bring fun to holiday shoppers than with the world’s largest gingerbread ship! If they like this version of Mardi Gras, they’ll be blown away when the real deal arrives next year.”

The gingerbread Mardi Gras required 130 lb (58kg) of flour, 10 lb (4.5kg) of cinnamon and 50 gallons (189 litres) of icing, and comes complete with a water park and a working replica of the Bolt rollercoaster.

The real Mardi Gras will debut in Europe in August 2020 and after several sailings in New York, will reposition to Port Canaveral for year-round Caribbean departures beginning in October 2020.

The gingerbread cruise ship will be on display at the Lenox Square Mall through 24 December, as a holiday attraction for shoppers.

Shoppers can also interact with the ship through a fun custom Snapchat geofilter, special Snapchat AR lenses that provide a peek into Mardi Gras, and a GIF booth for shoppers.

Images: Carnival Cruise Line


About Author


Marisa has been writing about transport design and the passenger experience since 2013 and is also a contributor to sister titles Aircraft Interiors International and Business Jet Interiors International. She has travelled the world extensively by car, plane, train and cruise liner.

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