TPG Editors’ Choice Award: The most innovative new cruise-ship attraction
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.
There has been no shortage of gee-whiz attractions popping up on cruise ships in recent years.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship
- The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
- A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
- 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
- 15 ways cruisers waste money
- 12 best cruises for people who never want to grow up
- What to pack for your first cruise
Featured image of courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.