Cruise Ships Lost Customers After COVID-19. So One Built an Onboard Roller Coaster

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Ameya Paleja
Animated depiction of Bolt roller coaster at seaCarnival Cruise

As the world still reels under the waves of the pandemic, businesses need to find innovative ways to pique customer interest in different ways. The entertainment and hospitality sectors have been pushed aside while essential services peaked, so it is still an uphill task for businesses like movie halls and cruise liners to get their customers back. In a bid to do that, a cruise liner has now made a bold attempt by putting a roller coaster on one of its ships.

Carnival Cruises recently launched its latest ship, Mardi Gras. The cruise liner was announced in 2019, but it faced delays due to the pandemic and it only began operating recently. Powered by Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), the ship boasts a wide range of activities like any other cruise, but it is the adventure activities that outshine others. There is a water park on the ship comprising of three spiraling slides, two racing slides, and a giant dumping bucket; a roller coaster, on the other hand, stands out among the water park and other amenities towards the rear of the ship.

Called Bolt, the roller coaster isn't a typical one that you see on land. Conventional roller coasters are designed to allow gravity to pull down the cars from heights at increasing speeds. The twists and turns on the track are also designed accordingly. Since ships rock and pitch at sea, gravity probably wouldn't do a good job, nor would it be powerful enough to power a longer ride.

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So, the Bolt was designed to be self-propelled and accommodate only two people. Like in a motorbike, the pillion is a mere rider but the person in front gets to control the speed of this ride. The company claims that the coaster can hit a top speed of 40 miles (64 km) per hour.

The roller coaster track is about 800 feet (243 m) long and sits at a height of 187 feet (56 m) above the sea surface. Apart from the drawback that there are no loops on this ride, the company doesn't cover it in the ticket price for the cruise. 

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