Speed on a race track on a cruise

Spectators look on as the Norwegian Joy cruise ship passes a shipping lock to make its way over the river Ems near Emden, northern Germany.
Spectators look on as the Norwegian Joy cruise ship passes a shipping lock to make its way over the river Ems near Emden, northern Germany.PHOTO: REUTERS

SHANGHAI • Holidaymakers will soon be able to satisfy their need for speed on a race track on the high seas.

Norwegian Cruise Line has anchored a partnership with Scuderia Ferrari Watches to come up with a two-level racing track on the soon-to-debut Norwegian Joy that can carry 3,850 passengers.

Scuderia Ferrari is the racing division of Italian carmaker Ferrari, whose driver Sebastian Vettel has triumphed in two of the three Formula One races held so far this season, outsmarting leading rival Lewis Hamilton in the process.

The Ferrari race track can take up to 10 drivers at a time, according to USA Today. They can pretend they are Hamilton as they compete in electric go-karts at speeds of up to 60kmh, according to media reports.

Hamilton incidentally honed his skills initially in go-karts.

Singaporeans will not need to travel too far to board the Norwegian Joy because the German-built ship will be based in China.

The mega ship is expected to be delivered to the owners on Thursday.

Voyages will depart from home ports Shanghai and Tianjin, starting in summer.

The race-track move comes as players in the global cruise industry - from Royal Caribbean to Disney Cruise to Genting - have accelerated their efforts to keep passengers entertained.

They are all eyeing a bigger share of a pie that is growing larger, especially with higher interest from Chinese travellers.

Norwegian Joy, in fact, is custom- designed to serve the Chinese market.

Its other attractions include hovercraft bumper cars and a two-person waterslide that will allow guests to race one another in inner tubes as well as an extensive premium shopping zone.

Elsewhere, other cruise liner operators over the years have floated new-fangled draws such as rock-climbing walls as well as surf and skydiving simulators.

Meanwhile, Singaporeans would have seen advertisements by Genting Hong Kong's premium cruise line brand Dream Cruises.

Its Genting Dream vessel will make Singapore its home port from Dec 3.

The ship, whose amenities include a butler service and can accommodate 3,400 guests, is a boost for the country's ambition to be a regional cruise hub.

Its sailings are expected to attract about 200,000 foreign passengers and generate about $80 million in tourism receipts, according to the Singapore Tourism Board.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 23, 2017, with the headline 'Speed on a race track on a cruise'. Print Edition | Subscribe