TPG Editors’ Choice Award: The most innovative new cruise-ship attraction

Dec 18, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Cruise Week banner for the 2020 TPG Awards

There has been no shortage of gee-whiz attractions popping up on cruise ships in recent years.

For starters, there are the massive go-kart tracks that have begun appearing on Norwegian Cruise Line ships. Yes, go-karts tracks. Really.

There also are the bumper car pavilions and skydiving simulators that now can be found on several Royal Caribbean ships, and the bizarre-looking, pedal-powered SkyRides on some Carnival Cruise Line vessels.

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s new cruise newsletter

But when it comes to the most innovative new attraction on a cruise ship, not just for this year but easily for the decade, it’s hard to argue that it is anything other than the roller coaster that Carnival is building atop its next new ship: the 5,200-passenger Mardi Gras.

That’s right. For those of you haven’t heard, a cruise line actually is planning to stick a roller coaster on top of one of its vessels — something that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

The attraction is so out there for a cruise ship — readers often tell us they can’t imagine it being possible — that we’ve decided to give it a special Editors’ Choice Award this year as part of Cruise Week at our annual TPG Awards. We’re calling the award The Most Innovative New Cruise-Ship Attraction.

Related: The best credit cards for booking cruises

Carnival's Bolt roller coaster
An artist’s drawing of the BOLT roller coaster that soon will debut on Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, Mardi Gras. (Image courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line).

Scheduled to debut in April when Mardi Gras sails with passengers for the first time, the BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster (as it’ll be called) won’t be the longest or fastest roller coaster in the world. Its track is just 800 feet long, and it’ll reach speeds of just 40 miles per hour — give or take.

But, hey, it’s a roller coaster. On a cruise ship. How can any cruise line ever beat that?

As you can see from the above rendering of the ride, the BOLT coaster will be something of a technical marvel. It will weave its way around the giant winged funnel of Mardi Gras, offering several twists, turns and drops. Its location will place it 187 feet — or nearly 19 stories — above the water. In short, it’ll be THE big attraction on the ship’s top deck.

Related: The 9 craziest attractions you’ll find on cruise ships

Because it’s on a cruise ship, it’ll be an all-electric roller coaster, with two-person ride vehicles that will resemble motorcycles. They’ll be launched forward at the start of the ride, allowing for race car-like levels of acceleration, while the end of the ride will bring a hairpin turn around Mardi Gras’ funnel.

In a twist, riders will be able to modulate their speed. To a point.

Carnival has said its design team has worked closely with the ride’s manufacturer — a German company (Mauer Rides) that is no stranger to designing roller coasters for tricky settings — to ensure BOLT will be safe and reliable on a moving cruise ship.

The new BOLT roller coaster under construction in October atop Carnival Cruise Line’s soon-to-debut Mardi Gras. (Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

They’ve also revealed that BOLT won’t be the only roller coaster on a Carnival ship. The line recently said a second, similar attraction will be atop another new vessel — the 5,200-passenger Celebration — that’s under construction for delivery in 2022.

There’s also now plans for a roller coaster on a third cruise vessel to be built for Asia-based Dream Cruises.

But for now, there’s only one of these innovative attractions set to launch next year — and that’s why Carnival’s BOLT roller coaster is the winner of the Most Innovative New Cruise-Ship Attraction at the 2020 TPG Awards.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image of courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.