Cruising is proving ever more popular, and leading operators around the globe are using the opportunity to introduce us to all manner of new experiences. Not only do we now have more choice than ever in stopovers and cruising destinations, but it’s also leading to some ingenious use of space onboard. When you decide to book your next cruise, look out for some of these unusual sights.

Pedals to the metal for GoKarting onboard

The world’s first ever GoKart track at sea is being built onboard Norwegian Joy. This majestic ship will begin operating in summer 2017 and is part of the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet.

With twists and turns aplenty, the racetrack pits you and your fellow travellers against one another for pole position, while the ship also features advanced virtual reality studios and other outlandish ways to have fun. The track definitely takes the trophy for the most unusual feature onboard though – the question is, will you being going home with a trophy of your own?

Take in the view from 300-feet above sea level

Do we mean going ashore to hike up for a view of the bay? Not at all. If you’re cruising onboard plush Quantum of the Seas® from Royal Caribbean®, be sure to try out their North Star observation pod.

Like the London Eye of the sea, the pod is formed of a curved glass room that is hosted atop a powerful mechanical arm. Take a seat inside to be lifted high into the air, allowing you to take in the splendor of the ship as well as the rolling views of the ocean beyond. On a clear day you may even spot the specks of land awaiting your arrival on the horizon.

Observe the snow-capped arctic peaks beyond Scandinavia

Picture a cruise and you’re likely to be thinking of sandy beaches, swaying palms and margaritas on deck. There’s no harm in that, of course, but the world’s a diverse place, and that makes for some diverse cruising destinations. A growing number of travellers are cruising from Norway’s North Cape to take in glacial tranquility of the region, with trips often stopping at Svalbard, one of the last untouched regions of wilderness in Northern Europe.

Get your feet wet in the Aquaduck water slide

Don’t panic if you hear the odd shriek of high speed delight as you’re enjoying your Disney cruise – it’s probably just passengers whizzing around on the onboard water tubes. And it’s not just Disney that are getting in on the fun, as MSC Cruises’ MSC Preziosa boasts the longest water slide on the world’s oceans today.

At almost 400-feet in length from start to finish, it rewards daring travellers with a 29-foot stretch of cylindrical sliding fun. Rush down the transparent tube that leans over the side of the ship, with nothing to look at but a long drop down to the briny deep below. Feeling brave?

Sip a cold one in the ice bar

It doesn’t matter how hot your destination is, when you need to cool down, Norwegian Cruise Line have you covered. Ships including Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Epic offer spectacular onboard ice bars, serving everything from cold beers to sophisticated New York-inspired cocktails. Using state of the art temperature controls, the ice bars onboard have tables, chairs and more all crafted entirely out of the cold stuff, with complementary hats and gloves to keep you cosy while you enjoy this unique experience.

Feel flush at a poker tournament in motion

Cruise ships keep us safe from the hungry critters of the deep, but the sharks are most definitely onboard for this one – card sharks, that is.

Many cruise lines are hosting poker tournaments at sea these days, including Royal Caribbean’s Casino Royale, available on select ships within the fleet. Sit back and enjoy the spectacle, pick up some tips from the experts or even get involved yourself. Just remember to game responsibly.

See some tradition in the world’s cosiest rivers

River cruising is on the up, not least since it gives curious minds the chance to see some of the world’s most fabled locations, from the secrets of the Nile to the architecture that laces the banks of the Rhine.

There are plenty of cruise lines that specialise in river cruises to choose from, including Avalon Waterways and Viking Cruises. If this more relaxed style of cruising is your thing, be sure to head to India. A country with a growing tourism market, you’ll have the chance to soak in the ambiance of the river routes of Kerala, as well as meeting the locals who still fish, farm and play here.

Let the kids cook

Princess Cruises is one operator that’s always got time for families, and that mindset shines through strongest in its Jr.CHEF@Sea cooking classes for the little ones. Under the guidance of one of the ship’s chefs, youngsters can learn how to decorate the perfect cupcake or whip up a fruit pizza for later enjoyment. Among the usual sensational cuisine you get on cruises, it’s good to see a families having fun together, we bet you never thought you’d see the kids cook, either.

Drink the beer they brewed onboard

You might think touring the great cities of Europe would be the ideal chance to savour the flavour of some alluring ales and leading lagers, but the crisp taste of a classic German beer is readily available at Carnival Vista’s RedFrog Pub & Brewery. Is it because they bring a big stock of the good stuff before departure? Partly. But this bar also houses its own ingenious onboard microbrewery. Kick back, relax and enjoy a cold pint that was freshly brewed just a few feet away.

Cruise Miami as a member of the Walking Dead

Have you tried the zombie cocktail? Go a step further, albeit a shambling, groaning, brain-eating step.

One of the biggest successes on TV in recent years has been The Walking Dead, and every year the Walker Stalker cruise departs Miami with its guests excited and raring to go. The makers of the show fully back the whole thing, so expect to learn how the programme is made, the special effects they use and even mingle with some of the show’s stars.

Have you experienced some unusual sights and experiences on your cruising adventures? Keep us posted of your travels and triumphs.

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