Cruises can be filled with time spent relaxing, trying new foods, shopping, cultural exploration — and plenty of action and adventure.
That’s right, cruises can even provide a rush for you hardcore thrill-seekers out there. Let’s talk about the best cruise features for adrenaline junkies, shall we?
Harmony of the Seas Ultimate Abyss – This is a dry slide that is among the fastest drops at sea. The Ultimate Abyss starts on Deck 16 at the aft of Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, and a pair of dual twisting slides sends cruisers down 10 stories in about 12 to 14 seconds until they are deposited on Deck 6 in the heart of the Boardwalk neighborhood. It’s a fast and fun alternative to using the elevators to get to this spot on the ship.
Norwegian Cruise Lines “Free Fall” Slides – Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Escape feature vertical-drop water slides that load you into capsules and open trap doors below your feet to send you free falling into a twisting water slide tube. The anticipation of the drop really gets your heart racing.
Rock Climbing Walls — Ships in the fleets of Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean feature rock climbing walls. The climbs are thrilling and challenging. You can try different ways to the top (where you finish by ringing a bell), choosing more difficult routes as you get better. Side-by-side ropes also allow you to race up against fellow cruisers, and the views you see from high on the wall can be amazing.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Ropes Course – A few cruise line offer ships with ropes courses, but the courses on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Bliss are the biggest and most challenging ones at sea. The courses cover two levels and have dozens of cool features, like climbing nets, ziplines, rope lines and platforms. But what really gets the adrenaline going are the spots on the course where you walk the plank off the edge of the ship. Smile: You’re on camera for a ship photo of you showing off your bravery!
Longest Zipline at Sea – A pair of ziplines run side by side about 20 decks high on MSC Seaside. Passengers glide through the sky for a 22-second ride covering nearly 345 feet (105 meters). The views are unequalled during the ride.
Norwegian Bliss Go-Kart Track – Yes, you can go racing on a cruise ship. The brand-new Norwegian Bliss features a 1,000-foot-long go-kart track. The electric cars zoom around a blacktop-look surface that is laid out in a space at the top of the ship.
Royal Caribbean’s Surfing and Skydiving – Multiple Royal Caribbean ships offer FlowRider surf simulators that give passengers a chance to try surfing and kneeboarding on powerful wave machines. The line’s Anthem of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas also have RipCord by iFly skydiving simulators. You hop into a vertical wind tunnel and do your best to stay aloft without bouncing off the clear glass sides. As you get better, you might try a flip or spin move.
Submarine Exploration – Luxury expedition ships Crystal Esprit from Crystal Cruises and Scenic Eclipse from Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours feature onboard submarines to give passengers an under-the-sea experience. Crystal Esprit has three-seat submersible, and Scenic Eclipse carries a seven-seat submarine that takes passengers to the ocean floor to spy turtles, sharks and other exotic creatures.
Expedition Voyages – A sailing with expedition cruise lines such as UnCruise Adventures, Lindblad-National Geographic and Quark Expeditions delivers a daily dose of adrenaline as part of its program. Passengers know they will be undertaking a full slate of adventures that include exploration of amazing destinations known for their natural beauty. Activities on these cruises include polar plunges, snorkeling in exotic places, invigorating hikes and kayak and skiff tours.
John Roberts is a freelance writer and operator of InTheLoopTravel.com. He writes about cruising and active travel, highlighting how people can connect with the world and other cultures through rewarding travel experiences.