Cruise ships were once a series of dining options pared with sunning spots, a pool or two and cramped galley rooms have now transformed into the ultimate vacation hot spots, bundling anything and everything a traveler could imagine wanting—all within walking distance. Luxury shopping, top-notch entertainment and on board adventure are now part of the package on major ships.
Long gone are the old days of cruising—you won’t believe the new adventures you’ll find on board.
You might think skydiving requires a plane, parachute and a nice patch of earth to land on—but the crew at Royal Caribbean has made those extras obsolete. The new Quantum of the Seas ship, which has recently taken its first voyage, features a simulated skydiving experience that will blow you away. RipCord by iFly brings the sensation of skydiving out to sea for the first time ever using a giant wind tunnel and a professional instructor. Take your turn in the wind tunnel overlooking the ocean at the back of the ship and see what it feels like to fly.
En garde! There’s no better time to learn the basics of fencing than at sea—take lessons on board Cunard’s Queen Victoria. Whether you’re an expert looking to improve or completely new to the sport, the Cunard crew is there to teach. Join the class, become a pro and never again worry about pirate attacks.
The North Star gives Quantum guests a truly one-of-a-kind look at the ship and the seas far beyond. The pod offers 360-degree views while rising more than 300 feet in the air—first over the boat and then outstretching above the sea far below. The breathtaking aerial tour is sturdy in the lift operated pod, but those afraid of heights might want to skip this attraction.
Double axels and layback spins galore on the open ocean. Royal Caribbean has ice skating rinks on the Freedom Class and Voyager Class ships. The rinks are open for passengers to play or practice their skills—they have instructors on standby—and they also host shows on the ice with professional skaters.
Typically associated with jungles or adventure courses, Royal Caribbean was the first to take the zip line to the ship in 2009. The Oasis Class ships feature a zip line nine decks above the boardwalk. The views are one-of-a-kind on this quick thrill ride so take it all in.
In a brilliant fusion of water park and open ocean, MSC Cruises brings the most epic waterslide to deck 18 of their MSC Preziosa. The 390-foot Vertigo Waterslide dips and plunges through an array of colors, before shooting riders out over the side of the ship into a clear section, offering views of the ocean below that you won’t see on any other slide.
It wouldn’t be shocking to hear that you can surf on a cruise vacation, after all many cruises make stops in tropical hotspots, but surfing on board—that’s pretty unique. Royal Caribbean’s FlowRider Surf Machine is the perfect platform to practice your moves before the boat docks at your destination and you take your skills to the real ocean waves.
Your local bowling alley meets the high seas with Norwegian Cruise Line. Their Norwegian Epic ship offers two separate bowling alleys. During the day lanes are open to all ages but neon bowling is offered in the Bliss Ultra Lounge at night for guests 18 and older. Throw a few strikes and take in the light show in this port-side alley.
This childhood favorite comes back in a big way on board Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas. Rubber lined cars take over the giant SeaPlex “gym” floor whizzing around and colliding in neon-lit fun.
If you’ve ever thought of running away to join the circus, you can try out the experience in the SeaPlex center of the new Quantum ship. Try out your trapeze skills and land safely on a giant blue cushion while a crowd watches you perform from the balcony.
More than 40 obstacles stand in the way of you mastering this multi-level ropes course on the Breakaway Class ships from Norwegian Cruise Line. Sneak a peek at the amazing ocean views, but don’t look down, the drop can be daunting.
Norwegian takes this old pirate tradition to new heights on their Breakaway Class ships. There’s no thrill quite like walking eight feet beyond the boat and looking down at the water way below. Luckily for Norwegian guests, they won’t be forced off the end by the tips of swords.