The race track on Norwegian Bliss is brilliant fun. Following the success of the track installed on Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) have done it again. The aft end of deck 19 plays host to the two-level race track. The track on board Bliss is around 1000 ft (300 m) and about 40% longer than the track on Norwegian Joy. The go-kart racing track is run with 10 electrically powered carts. Most of the carts are single seater but there are some two seaters (a total of 20 cars). Each race session involves up to 10 cars in a 5-6 min race session. Furthermore, the karts are decorated with red Ferrari Formula One livery for an added sense of big race atmosphere.
Norwegian Bliss Go-Kart Track: Ferrari F1 Fun
The track is split over two decks. It features a viewing platform, covered pit lane, workshop, storage room, timing system and floodlights. The pits area is downstairs. This is where you get tickets and get kitted out with racing balaclava and helmet. Here you climb into your go-kart. Before racing there is a compulsory safety video and you are strapped into your kart with a genuine racing harness. The go-karts are actually silent but there is an engine noise which is piped through loud speakers in the headrest of the car seat.
Races generally last between 3-4 laps and there is not much opportunity for passing. The ride itself is quite fast and is great fun. The track has 10 looping bends, two of which are cantilevered over the side, and the steering can be quite challenging. The go-karts can achieve speeds of up to 40 mph (65 kph). The cars have four speed settings, for beginner, intermediate and advanced drivers with a ‘turbo boost’ on each lap for thrill seekers.
There is no minimum age for the go-karts. Instead NCL are using a minimum height requirement, which is 1.20 m or 48″. Conversely the maximum height is 2.00 m or 79″ (this is around 6ft 8” and the car is too small). Weight limits are around 300 lb but the go-karts are generously sized. Shoes must cover toes and ankles. Loose clothing, such as floppy shirts, are not allowed. Long hair must be tied back and inside the helmet. Alcohol consumption before driving is strictly forbidden. Racing is not recommended for people who are pregnant or who have cardiovascular disease, hypertension, or spinal injuries. A racing session costs $5; however, Haven and Concierge passengers enjoy complimentary rides.
The Technical Side
Norwegian Bliss is the world’s second cruise ship, after Norwegian Joy, with a Ferrari-themed racetrack. The track was built by RiMO Supply, a world leader for rental karts and tracks, which is part of the RiMO Germany Group. The track is operated via a partnership with Scuderia Ferrari Watches. This is also the first-ever branded Formula 1 race car track at sea for NCL. The RiMO technology used provides protection for the go-karts under the intensified UV conditions and saltwater exposure that may be encountered at sea. The Dutch decking specialist, Bolidt, supplied the track. The company fitted its Bolideck Racetrack flooring, which is a synthetic slip-resistant material that has previously been used for roads, car parks and bridges.
The Chequered Flag
The racing is very well administered. There are lots of staff and consequently safety is paramount.
At the end of a racing session there are ample opportunity for pictures and posing at the track or on the winners podium! This will be a big hit and is defininitely one of Norwegian Bliss’ wow factors.