Thursday 17 January 2019

First 'rollercoaster at sea' planned for Carnival's biggest ever cruise ship

Carnival's 'Mardi Gras' will boast "the first rollercoaster at sea" when it launches in 2020

The rollercoaster on Carnival's Mardi Gras (Artists' Impression)
The rollercoaster on Carnival's Mardi Gras (Artists' Impression)
The 'BOLT' rollercoaster
Carnival's Mardi Gras, launching in 2020
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

We've had waterparks, surf simulators and 'Ultimate Family Suites' with twisty slides connecting stories. What can cruise ships possibly offer next?

Why, the first rollercoaster at sea, of course.

Carnival Cruise Line's new ship Mardi Gras will feature the 40mph attraction when it debuts in 2020, providing what it calls "an unforgettable and unique open-air thrill ride" on the line’s biggest ever ship.

BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster, as the rollercoaster is called, will be built by Munich-based Maurer Rides and offers nearly 800 feet of twists, turns and drops... all perched on the cruise ship's top decks, 187 feet above sea level.

Two riders will sit in a motorcycle-like vehicle to race along the track, giving them "breathtaking 360-degree views" over the ocean, Carnival says.

“Mardi Gras will be our most innovative ship ever with some truly special features and attractions,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival's President.

“BOLT will continue the tradition of Carnival providing exciting new ways for our guests to ‘Choose Fun.’  We are so thrilled to introduce this one-of-a-kind, game-changing, exhilarating attraction – our guests are going to love it.”

Gone are the days when casinos, theatres and rock-climbing walls were considered the cutting edge of cruise ship entertainment.

In a growing and innovative industry, big lines like Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean are vying to outdo each other wild and wonderful "firsts-at-sea" aiming to wow customers... and win publicity ahead of new launches.

Last year, Royal Caribbean kitted out the 362m Symphony of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship, with its 'Ultimate Abyss' slide - a pair of twisting purple tubes that drop riders 10 decks in a rabbit hole of dazzling disco lights.

The result is... you guessed it, the tallest slide at sea.

Not to be outdone, Norwegian's Bliss recently unveiled a two-level go-kart track and a pair of waterslides that swing out over the side of the ship.

BOLT culminates with a hair-pin turn around Carnival’s iconic funnel, and riders' can have their photos taken during the "race" and check their speed afterwards.

Carnival currently has three new ships scheduled for delivery – Carnival Panorama, set to debut in 2019, Mardi Gras in 2020 and an as-yet-unnamed ship in 2022.

Mardi Gras will be powered by liquefied natural gas and based in a new terminal at Port Canaveral, Florida. A second XL-class ship will start construction in 2020 and be delivered in 2022 to mark the 50 anniversary of the line, it says.

Read more:

Celebrity Edge: What's it really like on board the $1 billion cruise ship with its own 'Magic Carpet'?

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