A Cruise Ship With Go-Karts: Norwegian Cruise Line

When you think of cruise ships, you think of relaxation. You think of bars, lounges, shows and areas where you can spend the days with your loved ones – or alone too, if you’re traveling alone. Believe it not, there are two cruise ships that have something much more exciting and adrenaline-inducing than the usual activities or sipping a margarita overlooking the beautiful ocean – a go-kart race track! Here are some of the highlights:

  • Go-karts feature speeds of up to 30 mph
  • Features custom-built multi-level race track
  • $15 per race or 199.95 for the Unlimited Pass
  • Safety gear provided by Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Amazing racing experience with an unbeatable view

Inspired by the grandkids of the company’s CEO, these karting tracks are the first of their kind on any cruise ship. It’s important to note that they are not just amusement-park karting race tracks either – they feature an authentic racing experience similar to the one you can experience at indoor go-kart racing facilities on land. 

Featuring a platform where people can sit and spectate, a covered pit lane, a system that times your laps, and even floodlights to let you race at night, this go-kart track on a cruise ship will give you an absolutely unique experience while being in the middle of the ocean! How exciting is that?

With all of this available on a cruise ship, your adventurous side will thank you for giving this thrilling activity a shot. Karting in itself is one of the most fun and challenging motorsport activities that you can experience. Doing that in the middle of an endless ocean brings this experience to a whole new level!

On What Cruise Ships Are Go-Karts Available?

At this point in time, you’re able to experience go-karting on the Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy. Both of these cruise ships are part of the Norwegian Cruise Line. At sea, the Norwegian Bliss has the longest race track providing an unparalleled experience to anyone who loves motorsports.

If you’re the type who likes quiet and peace while at sea, don’t worry. The tracks are located towards the back of the ship so you’ll be able to enjoy and relax, as well as refuel your adrenaline.

What Kind of Race Tracks Are Available?

The race track featured on both cruise ships is named Encore Speedway and even for indoor karting standards, is relatively large. To be more specific, the race track is 1150 feet (350 m) long and features a track width of 18 feet (5.5 m). There are also plenty of turns and straight sections built into it that provide plenty of overtaking opportunities. The tracks are also multi-level so you can expect some inclinations at certain points to get an even better view of the ocean! How cool is that?

© Norwegian Cruise Line

To add to the racing experience, the electric go-karts produce sounds of race car engines while you drive, making it feel even more authentic. And with a crowd cheering you on from the stands, you’re sure to get into the racing mood.

While the race track is 18 feet (5.5 m) wide, overtaking can be challenging in certain areas, so you’ll have to factor that in. However, this also makes the overall experience more fun and challenging. Slower drivers may also be enjoying the ocean views while racing, so you should always be mindful of that. 

But with a little bit of patience, a positive attitude and some racing skills, you’ll be able to overtake them at strategic sections of the race track. The races last for about 8 – 10 minutes, with each lap taking up around 30 seconds, depending on how fast you are. That means that if you’re standing in line for your turn, you won’t have to wait that long.  

What Type of Go-Karts Are Available?

The go-karts featured on the Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy are all-electric SiNUS iONs that have been customized for corrosion-resistance, due to the saline environment. These go-karts are known to be of high-quality and are extremely fun to race with!

A lot of people on cruises are with friends or family. That’s one reason why there are two-seaters karts, as well as the standard one-seaters go-karts available. This allows you to share this amazing racing experience with someone else. Whether it’s your partner, your parent or your kid, being able to race a kart on top of a ship in the middle of an ocean is an experience not many things can beat.

© Norwegian Cruise Line

Another cool thing about these go-karts is that they are fully electric. They’re extremely quiet but they do feature authentic engine sound effects to make you feel like you are going much faster than you actually are. With a top speed of up to 30 mph, you’re able to race at decent speeds, considering you’re on top of a cruise ship.

If you’re wondering who actually customized the go-karts, then you’d be happy to know that they’re custom-built for the tracks by none other than Alex Vega – a name that is sure to be recognized by car fans around the world who watch ‘The Auto Firm with Alex Vega’. If you’re interested, you should watch the episode of the show that features these exact go-karts.

To keep the karting experience safe for everyone, the staff has the ability to control the speed of the go-karts for passengers who require some assistance. At the start of the race, the speed may be throttled for a while, but eventually you’ll be able to fully control the speed yourself. This feature is also introduced for safety reasons and they will also reduce the speed of racers, if there are any incidents on the track to ensure everyone’s safety.

Does the Cruise Ship Provide Safety Gear?

Norwegian Cruise Line provides a helmet with a visor, as well as a balaclava to all racer. The helmet sock fits over your head like a ski mask and prevents the helmet from touching your bare head. Not only is this more hygenic, but it’s also much more comfortable. The helmet socks are also washed after every single use so the whole experience is very clean and sanitary.

How Much Does a Karting Session Cost?

If you want to have the experience of driving go-karts on top of a cruise ship, you can do that for $15 per race. This gets you one ride that will last for about 8 – 10 minutes. This is a great option for people who just want to try it out. If you’re into go-karting and enjoy the motorsport, the better option to go for multiple races, as you can bundle these up. 

And if you fall in love with the experience and can’t get enough of it, you can also splurge for the Unlimited Weekly Pass that costs $199.95 and allows you to go to the track whenever and however many times you want for the whole week that you’re on the cruise. You’ll also get to use a priority line, which drastically reduces your waiting time!

What Are the Requirements to Race?

One of the best things about these tracks is that there is no age limit to drive karts on them. You just need to be at least 55 inches tall. It doesn’t matter how old you are! Another requirement to go on the tracks is to have the proper attire. This is very important, as it ensures the safety of the racers. 

You shouldn’t be wearing sandals when going karting. You are required to wear closed-toe shoes, as well as clothes that are not loose. Items like an open jacket or a scarf are not allowed as they run the risk of getting stuck on the wheels which could cause potential accidents. Other than these standard karting rules that you should be following, there’s not much stopping you from being part of this amazing oceanic karting experience.

Do I Need a Reservation to Ride Go-Karts?

Do you need to get a reservation? No. But should you? Absolutely!

These tracks, as you may have assumed, are the most popular parts of these two ships so they are going to be pretty much always occupied. If you want to save yourself from the long lines, it’s best to have a reservation for a spot the moment you board the cruise. 

Otherwise, you’re going to probably end up waiting for your turn for a much longer time than the actual lap will take. Alternatively, you can always opt for the Unlimited Weekly Pass for those extra queueing perks!

Is Go-Karting on a Cruise Ship Worth It?

If you’re going on a cruise, it’s great to do whatever you can to make memories that will last a lifetime. Usually, these experiences are more relaxing in nature but having an exciting option like being able to race go-karts on a custom-built race track in the middle of the ocean is something you’ll probably only do once in your life. 

So the definitive answer is, yes! For larger families the karting experience can be a little pricey. But when you think about the fact that you’d be having this amazing experience in the middle of an ocean on one of the very first race tracks on top of a cruise ship, spending the money is worth it. Especially if you just intend to do it just for the experience.

In fact, most indoor karting arenas feature similar prices, although the length of a race may be a little longer. But who are we kidding? Of course, it will be an extremely awesome and thrilling experience. You’ll be racing on top of a cruise ship! Not only will you be able to get the thrill of racing go-karts but you’ll also have the thrill of that with the ocean right in front of you. 

It’s like having the best of both worlds – you get the adventure of karting and you get to do it with a view! So, the answer is a definitive yes! Don’t miss out on this experience.

Photo of author

About Gerrit

Owner, Researcher, Writer & Editor at GoKartGuide.com

Hi, I'm Gerrit. I have been racing go-karts competitively and recreationally for the past 20 years. Apart from actively growing local karting communities, I run GoKartGuide and write comprehensive articles, guides & reviews about go-kart racing. I race, build, mod, & discuss go-karts whenever I find the time. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the read!

Leave a Comment

My goal with this site is to share valuable go-kart racing information through guides, articles, reviews, track details and more.

GoKartGuide is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com