Carnival Cruise Line roller coaster on Mardi Gras super quick, but also super quick

·4 min read

Slow. Slow. Give it some throttle. Wooooooooo. Umm.. Ahhh. OK, this is pretty fast, and am I supposed to be enjoying the view, and wait, I’ve come around the corner. I guess there was at least another corner. I must have lost track.

And now I’m done. Can I go again?

That’s pretty much the feeling for what was about 20 seconds of thrill ride on the first roller coaster at sea, a flashy thrilling adrenaline shot of a ride called BOLT.

The roller coaster is the highlight of the new class of ship and largest ever built for Carnival Cruise Line. Mardi Gras left Port Canaveral on its first-ever sailing Saturday with nearly 4,000 passengers on board.

The ride uses a two-seat, motorcycle-esque car, so the quick ride that can go up to 35 mph, may help with the queue for those who want to partake in the experience.

And not everyone on board will be lining up. It’s an extra cost. Riders will get two trips on the attraction for $15. So yes, they can go again.

Not everyone will choose to go max speed, though, as just like a motorcycle, there’s a handle that mimics hitting the gas, and even a button for an extra boost of speed. Some may choose to take it easy though, and take in the view of the 800-foot-long track that winds around the aft of the ship.

It’s certainly a lot faster than the suspended cycle attraction SkyRide on the line’s three Vista-class ships, which could take around three minutes, but did allow riders one of the best views at sea, at a much more leisurely pace.

And although faster, for those who remember to look, they can see the view from 187 feet above sea level.

The attraction was developed by German company Maurer Rides, which calls the it a Spike Coaster, using electric-powered cars that give riders a degree of control, meaning they can have an accelerated launch, and adjust the speed while they tackle the course.

While Carnival spokesperson Shaquille O’Neal helped introduce the cars back in 2019 at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo at the Orange County Convention Center, and actually fits on the cars, he’s not going to be able to actually ride the coaster.

He’s 7-foot-1 and there’s a 6-foot-5 height restriction. Oh, and a 300 pound weight limit as well. Shaq is a little bit heavier.

At a media event Friday, Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy revealed that she and Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald rode the coaster back in June when the ship first arrived to Port Canaveral.

“To say this is an amazing feat of engineering is an understatement. And our team have been working on this for a long time. I’ve been waiting three years to actually ride BOLT,” Duffy said. “People ask me, ‘What did you see from up there?’ I said, ‘I saw nothing. My eyes were closed and I screamed the whole time.’”

Mardi Gras is the first, but Carnival will be putting the coaster on sister ship Carnival Celebration coming to Miami in 2022 as well as a third ship in the class coming in 2023.

For now, though, Bolt joins the rest of the Central Florida roller coasters, at least every seven days when it comes back to its home at Port Canaveral’s new Cruise Terminal 3.

The 1,130-foot-long, 180,800-gross-ton vessel could sail with 6,631 guests at full capacity, but was traveling at about 70% capacity for its first voyage. It’s the fifth Carnival ship to sail since cruise lines returned to business after the coronavirus pandemic shut the industry down in March 2020.

The ship is a step up in size from its Vista class vessels, ranking for now among the top 10 largest ships in the world in terms of gross tons. Similar to Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships, the largest in the world, Carnival has opted to carve Mardi Gras up into six neighborhoods: Grand Central, French Quarter, La Piazza, Summer Landing, Lido and The Ultimate Playground.

“This is a big ship and completely different for those of you that know Carnival,” Duffy said at the event. “This is unlike any other ship. Do not forget your map, and I don’t want to hear that you got lost and you couldn’t get off the ship and you had to stow away.”

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