Cruises

You’ll soon get to soar and plunge on a roller coaster — on the deck of a ship at sea

Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras offers first roller coaster at sea

The cruise line company plans to offer BOLT, called "the first-ever roller coaster at sea" on its Mardi Gras ship. Mardi Gras is based in Port Canaveral, Florida.
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The cruise line company plans to offer BOLT, called "the first-ever roller coaster at sea" on its Mardi Gras ship. Mardi Gras is based in Port Canaveral, Florida.

We know the quandary: You can go on a cruise or you can go on a roller coaster.

Thrill seekers have had to make that choice — or put one off for the other — for, like forever.

Doral-based Carnival Cruise Line has just come up with a way to please both cruise lovers and amusement park devotees.

In what Carnival calls “the first-ever roller coaster at sea,” passengers will get to ride on the open-air BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster, when it goes into operation in 2020 on the new Mardi Gras ship.

The cruise line’s Mardi Gras will be based in Port Canaveral.

Built by Munich-based Maurer Rides, BOLT’s design will include 800 feet of twists, turns and drops on its track. Riders would hit speeds of 40 mph in a two-person, “motorcycle-like” vehicle along a track perched 187 feet above sea level.

According to Carnival, riders can select their own speed (up to the limit, of course) and the ride would provide passengers 360-degree views of the open sea.

The big thrill? Expect a hair pin turn around Carnival’s funnel.

Unlike land-based roller coasters, like those at Disney in Orlando or the annual Youth Fair in West Miami-Dade, which use gravity to send its riders careening down and around the tracks, Carnival’s BOLT will be an all-electric coaster.

Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, said in a statement on Thursday: “Mardi Gras will be our most innovative ship ever with some truly special features and attractions, highlighted by BOLT, the first roller coaster at sea. We are so thrilled to introduce this one-of-a-kind, game-changing, exhilarating attraction – our guests are going to love it!”

Itinerary information on Mardi Gras will be announced in early January.

Carnival plans to start construction on a second XL-class ship in 2020 that will be delivered in 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of the cruise line’s founding.

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Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.
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