Proving that the first roller coaster at sea is both fun and a feat of modern engineering, Popular Science magazine has recognized Carnival Cruise Line with its “Best of What’s New” engineering award for the innovation and design work that resulted in the July 2021 debut of BOLT, the first roller coaster at sea on board the line’s flagship Mardi Gras. Since 1988, Popular Science annually reviews thousands of new products and innovations and chooses the top 100 winners across 10 categories. To win, a product or technology must represent a significant step forward in its category. “Normal roller coasters use gravity to send thrill-seekers zooming and looping. But if you want to build a ride on a cruise ship—where stable, level ground is far from guaranteed—you have to get creative,” according to Popular Science.
A marvel in maritime engineering, BOLT is an all-electric roller coaster encompassing an elevated track across Mardi Gras’ upper decks with 800 feet of exhilarating twists, drops and turns, including hairpin turn around the ship’s iconic funnel. Riders can achieve speeds of up to 40 miles per hour as they enjoy views to the sea 187 feet below. Sister ships to Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration and Carnival Jubilee will also feature BOLT: The Ultimate Sea Coaster when they debut in late 2022 in Miami and in 2023 in Galveston, Tex., respectively.