Bumper Cars Go Sailing

A new approach to a classic favorite is in the works for Quantum of the Seas.
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Making for friendly races and safe jostling amongst riders, bumper cars are a staple at amusement parks, fairs and arcades across the country. In November 2014, however, the ride will find a different, floating home on board Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas.

To accommodate their new location at sea, the bumper cars for Quantum are in a league of their own when it comes to their design. Denise Key-Tielebein, a member of Royal Caribbean’s Newbuild team working on the bumper cars, says there were a few requirements to bring bumper cars to a ship.

“Standard bumper cars are traditionally electric with a power source coming from the ceiling,” she said. “Ours do not have this connection and are fully battery-operated.” In addition, the floor and charging stations for the bumper cars had to be designed for ship usage and to account for the movement of the ship.

The bumper cars will be featured as a part of Quantum’s SeaPlex, the largest indoor active space at sea where cruisers can go to get their sporting fix. During the day, the SeaPlexactivities will include basketball and a circus school with trapeze, while at night bumper cars, roller-skating and dancing take over.

According to Key-Tielebein, one of the challenges that came with designing the bumper cars was figuring out an efficient way to store them while the SeaPlex undergoes its daytime transformation.

“A special raised rack was designed specifically for Quantum in order to store the bumper cars and allow them to be charged while stored,” she said. “This is one of the only instances in which bumper cars are stored this way.”

The Newbuild team also had to take the SeaPlex’s multi-purpose nature into account when designing the floor for the bumper cars arena. While on-land bumper cars traditionally operate on concrete floors, Quantum’s will run on a surface made of Polite, the same material used in the ship’s pool decks.

“Polite is a manageable material that can be manipulated to create surfaces that look like wood, marble and more,” Key-Tielebein said.

The floor for the bumper cars will have a blue marble pattern, but what will the cars themselves look like? Key-Tielebein said the goal was to create traditional-looking bumper cars as opposed to today’s futuristic designs. Out of several models developed, however, one in particular was chosen to be produced for Quantum. Guess which one made the cut by visiting the Cruise Critic blog and sending along your comments. A winner will be randomly selected to receive a prize.

Final fun fact: the cars are being custom-made in Italy… so just because they run at 5 mph doesn’t mean you can’t pretend you are cruising in a Maserati.

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