Cruising: The Ultimate Thrill Ride

The amusement industry, much like the travel industry, is evolving by leaps and bounds. Cinephiles, for instance, can now enter and interact with the world of Star Wars — like getting on board the Millennium Falcon or an Imperial Star Destroyer — with Star Wars: Galaxy Edge at both Disneyland in California and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida.

It was not a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that the most thrilling thing you could experience on a cruise ship was a kiddie waterslide. Of course, one can argue that a cruise itself is satisfying ride enough, but in today’s market, elaborate onboard attractions are a part of cruise lines’ competitive edge. Now, enter everything from daring free-fall waterslides to full-blown roller coasters at sea. Let’s get extreme, shall we?

Cruise Ships Have Roller Coasters?

It was only a matter of time before a cruise line attempted to perch a genuine roller coaster on a ship, and Carnival came very close with SkyRide on its Vista class. The self-pedaling cycling attraction follows an outdoor track over the ocean and periodically lets gravity take over for brief dips and turns.

While SkyRide is relatively thrilling, Carnival’s new Bolt, described as the “ultimate sea coaster,” is definitely anticipated to supersede it on the upcoming Mardi Gras this year. Ride vehicles will traverse about 800 feet at speeds reaching nearly 40 miles per hour — all 187 feet above sea level.

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By Jason Leppert

Photo: Carnival Cruise Line
Photo: Royal Caribbean International

Jason Leppert is the founder and editor of Popular Cruising. The native of San Diego is a regular contributor to Porthole Cruise Magazine and has been aboard hundreds of cruise ships throughout his life.