Carnival Cruise Line will introduce a groundbreaking new ship in 2020—Carnival Mardi Gras—and it’ll feature a thrilling attraction most expect to find on land: a roller coaster.
Carnival’s Mardi Gras will be the company’s largest ship to date, measuring 1,130 feet long and totaling 180,000 gross tons. The cruise ship will be part of Carnival’s new XL-class.
Mardi Gras’ roller coaster, called BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster, will be nearly 800 feet in length and reach speeds of about 40 miles per hour. Like coasters on land, BOLT will feature twists, turns, and drops, but unlike its land counterparts, this ride will traverse guests around the upper deck of a cruise ship at 187 feet above sea level.
According to Carnival, riders will enjoy a forward launch and the ability to control the speed of their vehicle. Additionally, because the ride won’t rely on kinetic energy and gravity, it’ll have the capability of using acceleration throughout the entire track, including uphill sections.
German designer Maurer Rides is helping to bring this experience to life. The company was also responsible for the creation of Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit at Universal Studios Florida.
The cruise industry is aiming to appeal to different age groups, and the introduction of a roller coaster shows Carnival’s interest in attracting younger audiences. This experience compares to additions other cruise lines have introduced to entice families and young adults, such as go-cart racing on Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy and skydiving simulators on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class. Mardi Gras’ coaster will allow it to be more competitive in the cruise industry, especially among the mega ships like Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class. Plus, with the cruise ship’s home port based in Port Canaveral, it may become an add-on for theme park travelers.
Carnival is paying homage to their first ship, 1972’s TSS Mardi Gras, with the 2020 Mardi Gras. A sister ship to the Mardi Gras is expected to begin construction in 2020 and launch in 2022.