Possibly inspired by the Mario Kart: Double Dash! level named Daisy Cruiser, Norwegian Cruise Lines has started building go-kart tracks on top of its biggest ships to lure vacationers who’d rather race flat-out than lazily watch the sun go down. The company is about to christen a massive ocean liner that will offer what looks like the most epic go-kart track yet.
The Encore — not related to the AMC-made Renault hatchback, or to the Buick crossover — scheduled to carry its first passengers in November 2019 will offer a two-story, 1,150-foot-long go-kart track, according to Car & Driver. The publication learned the track is big enough to accommodate 10 drivers in electric go-karts; we suspect the firm chose battery power for noise reasons. Four sections of the 10-turn track take racers over the side of the ship, though retaining walls keep them from racing underwater, Mario Kart-style.
Costumes, turtle shells, and banana peels are not included, for better or worse. As a trade-off, Norwegian explained that spectators can give their favorite racer a boost by tagging them with a type of laser. That’s a feature even Mario Kart hasn’t thought of yet, but we’d be thrilled to see it appear in the next version of the game as a reward for getting blue-shelled.
The Encore certainly has space for a rooftop go-kart track. It’s an 1,100-foot ship big enough to carry 4,000 people, which is the size of a small rural town. In addition to the speedway, it’s decked out with a laser tag arena, a water park, several swimming pools, plus the amenities you’d expect to find on a cruise ship, like a casino and a spa.
Made in Germany, the ship sailed for the first time in August 2019, so it’s currently undergoing final testing, and it’s scheduled to embark on its first seven-day cruise in November. It will be based in Miami, Florida, and it will take tourists to the Eastern Caribbean. Other routes will be added in 2020, including one that explores Alaskan waters.
Racing go-karts on the open seas is as expensive as you’d expect. Car & Driver learned an eight-minute session costs $15, and a week-long pass is priced at about $200. That’s on top of the cost of the cruise, of course. Norwegian sells spots on a first come, first served basis.