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14 May 2019

Maurer testing first coaster at sea to cater for salty atmosphere
BY Andy Knaggs

The Bolt Ultimate Sea Coaster ride finishes with a hairpin bend around the ship's funnel

The Bolt Ultimate Sea Coaster ride finishes with a hairpin bend around the ship's funnel

German manufacturer Maurer Rides is putting its Bolt Ultimate Sea Coaster – the first rollercoaster to be installed aboard a cruise liner – through special testing, to ensure its vehicles can remain up to scratch on the open ocean.

Speaking to Attractions Management, Torsten Schmidt, business development manager at Maurer, said that the company would begin production and pre-assembly of the 220m-long (722ft) electric Spike coaster ride during Q3 2019. The coaster will be installed on the top deck of Carnival Cruise Line's new Mardi Gras ship.

Among the challenges of the installation are factoring in the design and movement of the ship, which don't have to be accounted for with a land-based coaster, but Schmidt said the biggest challenge was accounting for the "aggressive atmosphere" at sea, caused by salt in the air.

"We have to see which components are sensible to use in this atmosphere," he said. "The wind and movement of the ship are not so much of a challenge because with Bolt we will have 100 per cent traction control all of the time."

The ride accommodates two cars at a time, each holding two passengers and each able to reach speeds of nearly 40mph (60 kph), with an acceleration of 1.2g. The track reaches a height of 57m (187ft) above sea level, culminating with a hairpin bend around the ship's funnel. Riders' speeds are posted after the race and they have their photo taken during the ride for a keepsake.

According to Maurer, the ride will have capacity for 190 people per hour. At full throttle, the cars can complete a circuit in about a minute, with changeovers possible in 25 seconds. Passengers can control the speed of the cart with a pedal so the experience will be different for all.

The Mardi Gras is set to launch in 2020 and will be based at Port Canaveral, Florida, US. Carnival Cruise Line said the ship will be the "ultimate playground at sea for fun seekers of all ages".

The competitive cruise liner sector is increasingly looking to such attractions as a point of differentiation, with Viking Cruises' Orion featuring a high-tech planetarium, a race track onboard Norwegian's Bliss, and an 800ft-long waterslide on Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas.



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