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It may take cruising to new heights, but for me the Mardi Gras roller-coaster will spoil the view

It may be ground-breaking and exhilarating, offering, as Carnival Cruise Line says, a heart-pounding rush of adrenaline. But I can't help wondering if the first-ever roller coaster at sea is a step too far, writes SeaView editor David Simpson.

Yes, adrenaline junkies may flock to experience BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster when it arrives on Carnival’s new ship, Mardi Gras, in 2020.

BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster
Carnival’s BOLT roller coaster pushes the boundaries of cruise excitement, above and below

And in all honesty, 40 years ago I would probably have been first in the queue, at a time when theme parks offered amazing white knuckle experiences such as the Corkscrew, Scorpion and Black Hole.

But in the quest for stretching entertainment to the limit as each new ship is launched, the once-upon-a-time beauty of cruise ships is, to my mind, being sacrificed.

I personally want a cruise ship to look like a cruise ship, not a theme park at sea. But, as my children keep telling me, I am losing touch with the real world. Tell me about it.

Anyway, back to the facts. Literally taking cruise innovation to new heights, BOLT offers nearly 800ft of twists, turns and drops with riders reaching speeds of nearly 40mph.

The all-electric roller coaster allows two riders in a motorcycle-like vehicle to race along a track 187ft above sea level, with breathtaking 360-degree views.


Built by Munich-based Maurer Rides, BOLT begins with an action-packed launch with race car-like levels of acceleration and culminates with a high-powered hair-pin turn around Carnival’s iconic funnel.

Riders’ speeds are posted after the race, and just like land-based roller coasters, guests have their photo taken during the ride for a memorable keepsake. 

Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, said BOLT is the cornerstone of innovations and features being designed for Mardi Gras. “It will be our most innovative ship ever with some truly special features and attractions,” she adds.

“BOLT will continue the tradition of Carnival providing exciting new ways for our guests to ‘Choose Fun’.  Our guests are going to love it.”

Posted on 19th December 2018 at 03:31 pm in Cruise News | Cruise Lines | Carnival Cruise Line |

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