Carnival One-Ups Its Rivals With Plans for Onboard Roller Coaster

(Bloomberg) -- Carnival Corp.’s new Mardi Gras ship will feature a first for a cruise line: a roller coaster at sea.

The coaster will send four riders on motorcycle-like vehicles traveling at up to 40 miles an hour, almost 19 stories above the ocean.

Carnival One-Ups Its Rivals With Plans for Onboard Roller Coaster

Cruise-line operators, which have a record number of new ships on order, have been in an arms race of sorts, trying to come up with more jaw-dropping attractions to lure guests. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. put what it calls the tallest slide on its new Symphony of the Seas, while Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.’s Bliss recently debuted a two-level, go-kart track.

The Mardi Gras, which sets sail in 2020, is named after Carnival’s first vessel, introduced in 1972. It will be the largest ship the Carnival line has built, at 180,000 tons -- more than six times bigger than its namesake.

The size of the ship gives it the space and stability to include a coaster, Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president, said in an interview. Other Carnival ships include a water park, ropes course, and a pizza parlor that delivers to passengers’ cabins 24 hours a day.

“We try to have something new on every ship,” Duffy said.

Mardi Gras also will be powered by liquefied natural gas, part of a larger trend for ships to be more environmentally friendly.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.