Race above the waves on a float­ing theme park

Scottish Daily Mail - - Escape - SARA MACEFIELD

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

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