Bolt: Ultimate Sea Coaster (Updated September, 2022)

Artist rendering of Carnival Mardi Gras attraction, Bolt Ultimate Sea Coaster

Carnival’s newest ship, the Mardi Gras, will have a lot of firsts to the line. But one first, is unlike any other seen yet in the cruise industry: the first roller coaster at sea! The attraction, Bolt: Ultimate Sea Coaster will be prominently featured on both the Mardi Gras and her sister ship, Carnival Celebration, when rolled out in November of 2022.

I’ve put this page together to feature all things Bolt, including information from the ride designer Mauer Rides, simulation videos, and media tweets. ! Consider this your one-stop-shop for all things Bolt: Ultimate Sea Coaster.

September, 2022 Update: It’s hard to believe it’s been over two years since we first posted this article. Since that time, Mardi Gras has welcomed more than

Stepping Back

As a coaster fan, I asked the question years ago, “What if my love of cruises and my love of roller coasters came together one day?” At the time, another coaster enthusiast exclaimed that it would never happen and listed out the variety of reasons why that was the case. Fast forward a couple years and we would already have ride reports had it not been for the COVID19 pandemic and delays at ship builder Meyer Turku in Finland.

Carnival partnered with Mauer Rides to bring Bolt to life. Mauer has developed 75 rides across 22 countries at the time of this writing, and Bolt is a new class listed on their website called a Spike Cruise Racing coaster. While the Spike concept has been around since 2017, first premiering on the Sky Dragster at Allgäu Skyline Park near Munich, this is the first Spike Cruise Racing coaster.

Image credit Mauer Rides.

The Spike Coaster provides interactivity with the rider controlling the vehicle (things like throttle and boost buttons provide limited control on speed). What makes the concept perfect for a cruise ship is that the design provides freedom with how the ride is designed and laid out. One of the claims that Mauer makes on their site is that since the ride is controlled by software, it can be modified after installation, “even day by day.” A couple other notables, the motors of these rides can accelerate at over 1g and the experience can include sound, touch screen, camera and other media included.

But let’s get into some specifics for Bolt. According to the spec sheet from Mauer Rides, Bolt Ultimate Sea Coaster will have:

  • Track Length: 220m (~722ft)
  • Max Speed: 60 km/h (~37mph)
  • Capacity: 190 PPH (persons per hour)
  • Base area: 84m x 33m (275ft x 108ft)
  • Acceleration: max 1.2g
  • Above Sea Level: 57m (187ft)

Ride Announced

On December 13, 2018, Carnival posted this 30-second animated clip of Bolt on YouTube providing viewers their first sense of what to expect and how the ride would fit into a cruise ship setting.

On the same day, Mauer Rides put out a press release celebrating the Carnival Cruise Line partnership and provided some highlights about Bolt: Ultimate Sea Coaster. As you can imagine, with a first-to-market idea like a roller coaster on a cruise ship, there were lots of tweets, blog posts and speculation! Good Morning America tweeted their own excitement on December 27, 2018.

Coaster 101 released an awesome interview with Glenn Aprile, Director of Innovation for Carnival Cruise Line on January 14, 2019. I’d encourage you to check out the full interview, but here’s a snippet from their conversation:

Coaster101: How was the decision made to go with Maurer and their “Spike” coaster as opposed to another manufacturer that produces more of a “traditional” roller coaster experience?

Aprile: Traditional roller coasters tend to be very noisy.  This wouldn’t work for us on a ship where guests are also relaxing and enjoying other activities in the area.  The Spike Coaster system is so quiet that guests will barely hear it.  It is also a powered ride all the way through and the vehicle has constant traction with the track making it a perfect fit for a roller coaster experience on a moving ship.

Coaster 101

On November 19, 2019, the ride car for the Bolt was unveiled by Carnival Cruise Lines President, Christine Duffy. Several media outlets covered the event.

On November 25, 2019, Mauer Rides and Carnival posted a minute-long animated video to YouTube and Twitter. This video provides a much better indication of how the ride will interact with other components on the ship.

On July 20, 2020, Carnival released a press release on Mardi Gras construction along with real-live drone footage which included some great visuals of the Bolt’s track in place as it wraps around the funnel and winds its way around the aft of the ship.

Bolt: Ultimate Sea Coaster Welcomes Very Special Guest

To keep the excitement going for the launch of Mardi Gras and Bolt (despite an ongoing pandemic), Carnival welcomed a very special guest to ride in December, 2020. Santa Claus took his first trip on Bolt. The only question folks asked was: Is Bolt faster than 8 reindeer pulling a sleigh?

Bloomberg Features Bolt

In late December, 2020, Bloomberg featured an article about Bolt that included quotes from shipbuilders. It’s a great read, with one particular quote standing out from Ben Clement, Carnival’s SVP in charge of shipbuilding:

At New York, New York in Las Vegas, by the pool, you can hear the noise and vibration of the [Big Apple] roller coaster. We didn’t want that on a ship.

Ben Clement, Senior Vice President of Shipbuilding

Clement goes on to explain how the ride uses an electrical motor on track versus chains and rigs in a typical roller coaster. He also speaks to the customizations that had to be made to ensure a roller coaster would stand the conditions of a ship. It’s a great 5-minute read.

Awards and Recognition

The energy continued to build in January of 2021 when Bolt started winning awards – before the first guest had ever even taken a seat. Bolt Roller Coaster was named the “most innovative new cruise ship attraction” by the Points Guy.

Bolt Test Ride Video Footage Released

In February, 2021, Carnival released on-ride video of Bolt in action. The video has garnered nearly 30,000 views on Twitter:

Mardi Gras and Bolt Launch to Phenomenal Reviews

While Bolt is an engineering feat to say the least, Mardi Gras truly stole the headlines with just want a departure she is for Carnival Cruise Lines. The ship is unlike anything else you’ve seen in the CCL fleet. Sure, she has the standard staples (Guy’s Burger, Blue Iguana, Red Frog, Serenity), but she adds so many new elements that have pleased even the toughest critics.

We Finally Get to Ride Bolt!

In December, 2021, Rocky and I finally got to ride Bolt! We’re working on a YouTube review that we’ll post here, but overall, we really enjoyed the ride. Was it worth the cost? Absolutely – if nothing else, just to be able to say: We rode the first-ever roller coaster at sea!

Bolt Reaches Major Milestone In Just Six Months

In January, 2022, Carnival shared that in the first six months of Mardi Gras being in operation, Bolt offered cruisers 30,000 rides!

Carnival Celebration

To coincide with National Roller Coaster Day on August 16, 2022, Carnival Cruise Line released this quick teaser from the shipyard where Carnival Celebration is being built. It’s a a wrapped train moving for the first time. While the clip is short, the excitement is building for Carnival Celebration to launch later this year and welcome riders to Bolt.

Cost and Booking

Carnival indicated early on that this attraction would come at an additional cost. According to Cruise Critic at the time, Carnival would use a pay-per-ride model. My ask at the time: “I’ll be curious to see if they also provide a cruise pass so that passengers like me can ride every day!”

What we’ve learned since the launch of Mardi Gras is that Bolt is, indeed, a pay-per-ride model with rides costing $15. While that’s quite steep, the ride experience does loop around the entire track twice. So, I guess that’s only $7.50/loop? Unfortunately, no cruise pass was launched with Bolt, so every time you want to ride it, you have to shell out $15.

To book Bolt, you simply click the dedicated Bolt link on Carnival’s HUB app, choose your booking time, and agree to the terms and $15 ride cost. During your reservation window you head to the Ultimate Playground on Deck 18 to queue up for your ride. Carnival has provided lockers in Bolt’s boarding area for your belongings as you are required to empty your pockets before riding.

Things to Keep In Mind

There are several need-to-know things when considering Bolt:

  • $15 per ride cost
  • Minimum Height: 4ft 4in and Maximum Height 6ft 5in
  • Maximum weight: 300lbs/rider
  • Closed toe shoes are required
  • You must empty your pockets before you can board the ride
  • Riders cannot be intoxicated and no food, drink, or gum is allowed
  • Your clothing must be 100% dry
  • No cameras are allowed, including GoPro (even if you have the ability to strap it to your person)

I snapped this photo on December 4, 2021 listing all of the rules at that time:

Everything else

As more information becomes available, I’ll continue to share here. Until then, we can’t wait to see you, Mardi Gras and Bolt: Ultimate Sea Coaster again in December, 2022!

Images and copyrights used in this story are owned by their respective brands.

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