An ocean cruise is all about the water. Whether you are relaxing on your private balcony enjoying ocean vistas or reposing by the top-deck pool soaking up the sun, the hypnotic allure of water is all around. However, some cruisers like to take things a step further and enjoy an adrenaline rush even while onboard – welcome to the world of cruise ship water slides.
Cruise ships have evolved beyond the traditions of fine dining and formal events in slow motion as the vessel gracefully cuts its way across the sea. These old favourites are still available of course, and are an enduring attraction of the voyage, but cruising in the 21st Century has also become a family and fun affair. Activities and attractions on cruise ships are now the equal of any land-based theme park. The most iconic theme park attractions often include water slides and rides, so it was only a matter of time before cruise ships introduced similar theme park style attractions. Here are some of the best onboard water slides.
Free Fall: Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway
Designed for adventurous thrill-seekers with a competitive streak, the Free Fall ride pits sliders side-by-side in a race to the finish. Standing at the top of the ride, competitors wait for a trap door to drop, before they speed through translucent looping tubes as fellow passengers watch on.
Smaller kids get their taste for water park fun too, with aqua parks perfect for toddlers complete with splash pools and water squirters. Life-sized characters including SpongeBob SquarePants also regularly visit to entertain the youngsters.
Speedway Splash: Carnival Sunshine
This is another multi-lane racing slide, introduced as a Fun Ship experience. The exhilarating competition down the 235-foot tubes ends with flashing lights and a chequered flag to announce the winner. Racers’ times are also displayed on a scoreboard for everyone to see.
Carnival Sunshine includes mini-racing slides perfect for smaller children. Another feature that guests look forward to is the Power Drencher, a tipping bucket that stores 300 gallons of water and sprays it on sun-drenched passengers.
Vertigo: MSC Preziosa
This ride is for the young and brave, and for the young-at-heart with a taste for adventure. Measuring almost 400 feet and starting above deck 18, Vertigo is aptly named. A section of the slide is built with transparent tubes, giving riders a glimpse of the sea far below as it spirits them beyond the edge of the ship and safely down to the finish.
Aqua Duck: Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy
In true Disney style, the Aqua Duck is more than just a slide; it’s an aqua coaster comprising twists, turns and drops, all cushioned by ample water and inflatable single or double rafts. The 765-foot long ride takes guests up, above, around and off the side of the ship before leading them to a high-speed descent into a calm river-like end.
Disney is famous for family entertainment. Apart from the water slide, there are dedicated splash zones for smaller children. Mini water slides, fountains and water jets are just some of the attractions to keep the kids occupied and soaking wet.
Epic Plunge: Norwegian Epic
The Epic Plunge is more than a ride – it’s a challenge. Brave riders sit on a raft that quickly slides down a tube. Next, the rider bursts out into a giant bowl of swirling water before being sucked through a hole and down into a big splash ending at the pool below.
The water slide cruise craze continues, with many cruise lines introducing an array of daredevil attractions. The cruise industry is changing with the times, and a whole new breed of passengers are coming onboard.