Taking a roller-coaster ride right after a big lunch is always a brave move, with those endless twists and turns risking an unwelcome second look at your recently consumed meal.
Florida-based Carnival Cruise Line, however, clearly wants to push things to the limit, having built what it claims is the first-ever roller coaster on a cruise ship.
Its unique location means that riders can enjoy — or suffer, depending on your disposition — not only the twists and turns, but also the ups and downs delivered by ocean swells. Big ups and big downs if the sea’s a bit choppy.
Spotted by Gizmodo, the Bolt Ultimate Sea Coaster is part of Carnival’s brand-new Mardi Gras ship and offers riders a quick thrill alongside the usual, rather more gentle entertainment options offered by such vessels (mini golf, anyone?).
Bolt’s two-seat car scoots along a track running almost 800 feet (240 meters), with its highest point 187 feet (57 meters) above sea level.
The coaster features a top speed of 40 mph, with Carnival describing it as having “massive acceleration” (hence the name) that’s “stronger than a Porsche 911 and Formula 1 race car.” Notably, the front rider can control the speed using a motorcycle-style throttle, so you should be able to walk away with your neck muscles intact.
The video above shows Bolt’s car hurtling off on the inaugural ride, the two Carnival executives riding aboard apparently surprised by the sudden burst of speed (even though the guy at the front presumably made it happen). A short while later they return to the start, with one of the riders describing the experience as “awesome.”
We should be clear, though, Twisted Colossus this is not. For roller-coaster aficionados, Bolt is unlikely to deliver, unless the novelty of riding a roller coaster on a cruise ship scores big.
It’s not free, either. Passengers aboard the 1,130-feet-long (345 meters) Mardi Gras will have to cough up $15 to go on the ride, a fee that may stick in the craw of seasoned cruise passengers who’ve already experienced Disney Cruise Line’s water coasters for the princely sum of nothing. There’s also the arguably more thrilling go-kart rides offered by Norwegian Cruise Line, though admittedly they also cost extra.
The Mardi Gras is on its maiden passenger voyage, which includes visits to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas.
The cruise industry is tentatively returning to operations after a dismal 18 months of lost business caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Mardi Gras operator Carnival was hit particularly hard, suffering a $10 billion loss in 2020 after making $3 billion in profit the year before the pandemic started.
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