Could a Zip-Line Roller Coaster Be the Next Great Cruise Ship Topper?
Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line has its SkyRide suspended cycling on the new Carnival Vista, Disney Cruise Line has its AquaDuck water coaster on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, Norwegian Cruise Line has its ropes course (pictured above) and zip rails on the Norwegian Breakaway and beyond and Royal Caribbean International has its Ultimate Abyss slide on the new Harmony of the Seas. But could a zip-line roller coaster be the next great attraction onboard?
I’ve always thought it’s only a matter of time before a cruise line attempts installing a full roller coaster at sea, but the trains and track themselves would take up a lot of space on the upper decks of a ship. Not to mention, shifting gravity would also require some form of linear induction motors to maintain momentum. However, after seeing the YouTube video below recently popup on my Facebook feed, I thought maybe this is the best of both worlds: a zip line not unlike what has already been tried on a ship combined with the thrilling curves and up and down dips of a coaster.
Surely, the video above showcases a more wild ride than could be expected at sea, mainly due to the loose fastening of the rail to trees with cables. What could be proposed alternatively might be something closer in line to Carnival’s SkyRide with a more rigidly positioned rail traversing the upper decks in sinuous double-back patterns like Disney’s AquaDuck. Shifting gravity as the ship rolls, pitches and yaws could still pose a challenge, but motors again could ensure that enough speed will get riders from start to finish.
Such a ride would be a hybrid between the lengths of the SkyRide and AquaDuck with the high-speed thrills of the twisting slide on Royal Caribbean or shorter zip rails aboard Norwegian. In fact, NCL will deploy the first go-kart racetrack at sea, a pretty ambitious concept in its own right, when it launches its Norwegian Joy to the Chinese market early next year, so perhaps the company could try something like this too.
Of course, the No. 1 priority for cruise lines is safety, and any onboard attraction has to adhere to more stringent regulations than even a shoreside theme park as rides become more complicated once installed on a moving vessel. Surely, such a zip-line roller coaster could be made to work at sea, but extensive computer modeling and physical testing would have to be conducted first.
Still, much as Walt Disney once said, as long as there is imagination left in this world, there is no limit to the kinds of things we might see onboard cruise ships in the future, and it just so happens the Disney Cruise Line has two of its own new ships scheduled for the future that could also attempt such daring attractions.
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