Carnival Cruise Line currently operates 26 cruise vessels and they’re continuing to add to their fleet. their new ship, Mardi Gras, will be the 6th largest cruise ship in the world when it debuts in 2020. At 180,000 tons, it is the biggest vessel ever for Carnival. Although the ships are getting bigger and bigger, Carnival is going old school for the name. Mardi Gras is named after Carnival’s first ship, which sailed from 1972 to 1993 under the Carnival brand. To visualize the greatness of the ship and the changes in the industry over the past 4 decades, this new Mardi Gras will be more than six times larger than its namesake.
Carnival Cruise Line is not the only brand that is growing in size when it comes to fleet and vessel capacity. As a result of this growth, there are many more options for cruise guests, and the competition can be fierce! In order to ‘woo’ guests, each cruise line is getting more innovative, making the industry even more exciting. Carnival’s Ultimate Sea Coaster is a prime example; it will be the first roller coaster onboard a cruise ship. Carnival’s Mardi Gras features thrills aboard Bolt, the open-air, motorcycle-style rollercoaster with 360 degree ocean views and speeds of up to almost 40mph. Guests will have 800 feet of twists, turns and drops that they can control with foot pedals, so this does not necessarily have to be a thrill ride. It can also be a scenic ride for some, depending on one’s pace and is built that way for those who want to pause at the top to absorb the view at the top. This electric roller coaster at sea is one of the new experiences that Carnival will be introducing on their new ships. Carnival president Christine Duffy said, “People always want more, whether it is (for their) vacations or anything else”. She realizes that “They’re looking for something new, different and exciting.” With innovation comes additional safety considerations, and Duffy notes “Certainly it has been tested and studied” Duffy says. “Safety is the No. 1 priority for us.” The design team at Carnival worked closed with the ride’s manufacturer and the ship’s builder to build a ride that is safe and reliable at the heights of a cruise ship. They note that there may be times when wind and/or weather may cause the ride to close, but that is not in Carnival’s control; they have built a roller coaster designed for a cruise ship.
As they say, necessity is the mother of all invention, and the cruise lines feel the need to get innovative in order to capture guests in this growing cruise market. Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) reports that in 2019, 30 million passengers are expected to take a cruise. These numbers are staggering and cruise lines are coming up with creative amenities, ship designs, dining, and entertainment to attract these guests. New innovations include a planetarium at sea, racetracks onboard, new and updated private islands, an 800-foot waterslide and of course rollercoasters at sea. Don’t blink because there’s a lot more to come!
This post was written by Shannon Mckee, founder of Access Cruise Inc. Access Cruise Inc is a Miami based cruise marketing and sales consulting group, specializing in product and business development within the cruise industry.