It sounds like an April Fool’s joke, but it’s for real: A giant new ship on order for Carnival Cruise Line will boast a deck-top roller coaster. 

Carnival president Christine Duffy tells USA TODAY the line plans one of the attractions for the 5,200-passenger Carnival Mardi Gras, the first of a new series of giant vessels that will begin arriving in 2020. It’ll be the first roller coaster on a cruise ship. 

To be called BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster, the attraction will be 800 feet long and feature twists, turns and drops with riders reaching speeds of nearly 40 miles per hour. 

“It will be a thrill ride,” says Duffy, who rode a prototype of the attraction assembled by its manufacturer, Munich-based Maurer Rides. “We think it’s a really cool innovation for Mardi Gras, which will have a lot of new guest features and experiences that we have not done before.”

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The new attraction will be just the latest in a series of over-the-top amusements to debut on cruise ships in recent years. Two of Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ships, Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy, boast go-cart racing tracks on their top decks. The newest series of Royal Caribbean vessels offer rides into the sky in glass capsules. The most recent series of Disney ships have “water coasters” up top.

Carnival itself offers a first-of-its-kind-at-sea pedaled “sky ride” on its two newest ships, Carnival Horizon and Carnival Vista.  

“People always want more, whether it is (for their) vacations or anything else,” Duffy says, explaining the trend. “They’re looking for something new, different and exciting.”
Duffy says BOLT will be an all-electric roller coaster. While not nearly as long or fast as the biggest roller coasters on land, some of which extend thousands of feet and hit speeds over 100 miles per hour, it will feature a track that soars 187 feet above sea level. Riders will ride in vehicles that resemble motorcycles.

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