There are so many onboard diversions on cruise ships these days, with cruise lines competing to design the biggest, most spectacular and best new attractions.
Our line-up of the top of what’s hot will help you know what to book and what’s worth queuing for, from water slides to underwater subs and robotic bartenders to sports simulators.

Days spent at sea will be anything but boring with the vast array of onboard activities offered across the

some of the most amazing attractions can be found onboard Royal Caribbean vessels who harbour a fleet of extravgant ships including the world’s largest, harmony of the seas.

Bird’s eye view

Taking inspiration from The London Eye, Royal Caribbean® has observation pods on its Quantum-class ships, which are on a hydraulic arm that can be raised more than 300 feet above the ship. Called North Star™, the glass capsule sits on a cradle, which turns at a leisurely pace to give you different perspectives.
The panoramas are breathtaking, with 360-degree views across the ocean and of your new destination if you’re lucky enough to be inside as you approach. At 3.6 metres x 4.5 metres it’s standing room only for up to 13 guests at a time. Unfortunately, you can’t book time slots so you’ll have to wait in line with everyone else but, if you time it right, North Star makes for some very romantic sunset viewing.

Royal Caribbean North Star

Race around the deck

Norwegian Cruise Line is soon to be the first cruise company to offer a racetrack at sea. Split over two levels, the electric car track will be aboard the innovative Norwegian Joy ship, due to make its maiden voyage in summer 2017. Racing your friends and family on the top decks isn’t the only driving experience available though. You can also head to the Galaxy Pavilion on Deck 16 for hovercraft bumper cars in this high-tech games zone.

Bionic barkeeps

Never wanting to fall behind, an uber high-tech advancement from Royal Caribbean is their Bionic Bar™ complete with robotic bar tenders. Making drinks to order from a touch screen, the pair of electronic arms dispenses the ingredients from optics hanging prettily, like chandeliers above the bar. Adding to the theatre, the movement of the bionic arms is said to have to been modelled on American ballet dancer, Roberto Bolle.

Royal Caribbean Bionic Bar

Rollercoaster races


Take a ride on the closest thing to an actual roller coaster at sea on Carnival Cruise Line’s SkyRide, found on the Carnival Vista (and coming soon to its sister ship Carnival Horizon, which debuts in April 2018). Ride an open-air bicycle-like vehicle around an 800-foot-long track built atop the ship at speeds of up to 18 miles per hour. Race your friends while taking in panoramic views of the sea 150 feet below

Sliding over the seas

Disney Cruise Line (Kent Phillips, photographer)

There are water slides and then there are Disney water slides. Debuting on the Disney Dream ship and now also on the Disney Fantasy, the Aquaduck water slide has transparent tubing over the upper deck twisting right above the ocean. While you ride on a raft you can hear a story of Donald Duck and his cheeky nephews, adding to the fun, particularly for little ones.

Dr. Seuss WaterWorks Water Park – Carnival Cruise Line
Be greeted by larger-than-life images of Dr. Seuss characters at Dr. Seuss WaterWorks on Carnival Horizon, scheduled to debut in April 2018. This family-friendly waterpark features two slides, including The Cat in the Hat slide with over 450 feet of twists and turns, and The Fun Things slide named after the Thing 1 and Thing 2 duo. The waterpark also includes a 150-gallon tipping bucket patterned after The Cat’s hat, along with a kiddie splash zone.

Flow or fly

You can get your kicks from balancing on a board or floating in the air on two of Royal Caribbean’s of the most popular – and free – attractions from Royal Caribbean. Try surfing or boogie boarding under optimum conditions over and over again on the FlowRider™ surf simulator, all included in the cost of the cruise.
Nine Royal Caribbean ships now have FlowRider surf simulators and, due to popular demand, three ships have two FlowRiders each, Oasis of the Seas®, Allure of the Seas® and the newest ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet, Harmony of the Seas® – the world’s largest cruise ship.

Royal Caribbean FlowRider

With the iFly by RipCord™ vertical skydiving simulator on the Quantum of the Seas®, Anthem of the Seas® and Ovation of the Seas®, those as young as three can float around in the see-through, vertical wind-tunnel as their grown-ups watch from outside or join in the fun. On selected sailings passengers get one complimentary go on the iFly by RipCord, which normally lasts one minute but you can purchase an additional two minutes of time for $40 to prolong your experience.

Royal Caribbean iFly by RipCord

Swinging around

On Carnival’s ‘Fun Ships’ you can expect to find a whole host of activities including waterslides and mini golf. However, one of the more unusual pastimes is climbing along the 16-piece rope course called SkyCourse, on their Breeze, Magic, Sunshine and Vista ships.
Hooked onto guidelines with the help of staff at various platforms, you traverse scramble nets, ladders and beams up above the ship’s deck. Maybe not one for those with a fear of heights, aside from this, it’s fun for all ages and for free.

A water spectacle

Most cruise ships run on-deck movies on the big screen these days, so you can snuggle down under a blanket and munch on popcorn alfresco. However, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, and Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas ships have AquaTheaters™ on their sterns. A show lounge reimagined, as the sun sets the loungers become theatre seats and a spectacular acrobatic and high-diving show takes place. With the sea drifting off in the background, the show is also overlooked by six decks of private balconies, so if you pick wisely you can see the entertainment from your room.

Feeling like you want to try out these cruise ship attractions for yourself? Check out our top cruise deals here. 

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