A new cruise ship will take to the seas next year with the name Mardi Gras emblazoned on its hull and a restaurant with a famous New Orleans chef at the helm.

Celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse is developing a restaurant in the Carnival Cruise Line ship Mardi Gras, which is now under construction. When the huge new ship launches in the fall of 2020 one of its amenities for passengers will be a restaurant called Emeril’s Bistro 1396.

Mardi Gras will be a 6,500-passenger cruise ship plying a route around the Caribbean from its homeport of Port Canaveral, Florida.

Lagasse, whose company is based in downtown New Orleans, has lately been branching into different kinds of ventures. Earlier this year the company formed a new consulting division called We Love Food Hospitality to work with other restaurateurs.


Carnival Cruise Lines plans to launch its new ship Mardi Gras in the fall of 2020.

A restaurant at sea will be a first for Lagasse, though it follows a trend of cruise lines collaborating other other big-name chefs to burnish the fare for seafaring vacationers. Thomas Keller, Jacques Pépin, Nobuyuki "Nobu" Matsuhisa and Jamie Oliver have all developed restaurants with other cruise lines, and Guy Fieri has a line of eateries aboard some Carnival ships.

When Mardi Gras is ready to launch, the ship will have a series of themed zones across its various decks. One zone will be dubbed "French Quarter," which, according to a Carnival release, “will capture the festive spirit of Louisiana with food, cocktails and, of course, live jazz.”

This is also where passengers will find Emeril’s Bistro 1396 (the name comes from the hull number for the vessel in its shipyard in Finland).

The menu calls for po-boys and muffulettas, barbecue shrimp, duck and andouille gumbo, shrimp and grits, bananas Foster and lemon icebox pie.

Mardi Gras will be Carnival's largest ship, displacing some 180,000 tons. The cruise line's first ship was named Mardi Gras when it set sail 1972, though with capacity for 800 passengers it was a much smaller vessel. 

Lagasse’s company has 11 restaurants in New Orleans, Las Vegas, Miramar Beach, Florida and at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem in Pennsylvania. Closer to home, recent moves include opening Meril in the Warehouse District in 2016 and a revamp of NOLA in 2017.

Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter, @IanMcNultyNOLA.