Race above the waves on a floating theme park
THERE is no end to the lengths that cruise companies will go to steal a march on their rivals.
This hits home as I hurtle around the longest racetrack at sea which weaves across the top deck of new cruise ship Norwegian Encore.
My racing car roars through the twists and turns of the 1,100ft track — part of which juts off the side of the ship — and as I floor the accelerator, the electric go-kart vrooms up to 25mph while subwoofer boxes provide a throaty roar that fires up my inner Lewis Hamilton.
But this isn’t the only thrill on Norwegian Cruise Line’s new 3,998-passenger ship, which I’ve joined for a sailing from Papenburg, the German shipyard where it was built, to Southampton, en route to Miami, from where it will spend this winter cruising to the Caribbean.
As darkness falls, I do battle in the openair laser tag zone, the largest afloat, where I shoot laser beams at deadly foes in Atlantis-style ruins dominated by a giant serpent.
With an outdoor aqua park, including two waterslides, a well-equipped gym and Mandara spa, there’s enough to keep cruisers of all ages busy.
They won’t go hungry, either, as there are 19 dining spots, including Mexicanthemed
Los Lobos, upscale Italian restaurant Onda by Scarpetta, and international fare at Food Republic where iPad menus add to the hip vibe.
These speciality venues come with an extra charge, but there are six complimentary alternatives.
Entertainment is top-notch with West End hit Kinky Boots and stage show The Choir Of Man.
Fans of the amber nectar and other tipples can quench their thirst at the dozen or so bars and lounges, supping 72 types of beer in the District Brew House or sampling rum-based concoctions at the Sugarcane Mojito
Bar. My favourite is the Cavern Club, inspired by the legendary Liverpool haunt, with its own Fab Four lookalikes whose medley of Beatles’ hits fires up audiences and gets everyone’s motors running.
Start your engines: The cruise ship Norwegian Encore. Above, the 1,100ft go-kart track is the longest at sea