Do you remember when the biggest attraction on a cruise ship was a swimming pool?  Oh, and not a pool with a cool waterslide, just a simple swimming pool.  Of course, after recent events, cruise ship lines have had to really step up their game.  As evidence of that, we present the nine craziest attractions on cruise ships.

1.  Go-Kart Tracks

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Image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Seriously, Norwegian Cruise Lines’ three newest ships–Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Joy–have real full-blown go-kart tracks.  These tracks take up a great deal of two decks and are over 1,100 feet long. They have four sections that actually extend almost 13 feet over the vessel’s sides.  

The go-karts are all electric-powered.  They can reach a speed of up to 32 miles per hour.  On the Norwegian Encore, you and your family and friends can shoot each other’s cars with “laser guns” that will boost your vehicle’s power.  Your cost is $15.00 to run in an eight-lap race.  1-week, “all-you-can-ride passes” will run you $199.00 per person.

2.  Roller Coasters

mage courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

As this goes to press, the roller coasters have not yet actually debuted on any cruise ships but they’re on their way.  Three ships are currently finishing construction of top-deck roller coasters: Dream Cruises’ Global Dream, and Carnival’s Celebration and Mardi Gras.  Indeed, the Mardi Gras, set to officially debut in February 2021, will be the world’s first ship to have a roller coaster.

Named the BOLT: Ultimate Seas Coaster, it will be 800 feet long.  It will include motorcycle-style cars-for-two and reach a top speed of nearly 40 miles per hour.  It will rise over 180 feet above the water.  Prices have not yet been set for this attraction.

3.  Bumper Cars

Image courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

There are presently only four ships that have bumper cars: Anthem of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, Spectrum of the Seas, and Ovation of the Seas.  The people at Royal Caribbean took the on-board basketball court one step further in 2014.  They converted the indoor arena on the then-new Quantum of the Seas into a basketball court and a multipurpose pavilion.  

The pavilion, dubbed the SeaPlex, is used for roller skating, bumper cars, and a circus school too.  This entertainment area is two decks high and includes spaces for foosball, ping-pong, and video games too.  The bumper cars seat two and reach a top speed of 5 miles per hour.  They’re free to ride “except on China sailings.”

4.  Ice-Skating Rinks

Image courtesy of Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean’s 12 Voyager, Freedom and Oasis-class ships all have ice-skating rinks.  You have to admit it’s an exceptionally interesting concept.  After all, there’s something cool and incongruous about ice-skating in the middle of the ocean on a warm sunny day, right? 

The cruise line first began installing interior ice-skating rinks back in 1999.  The rinks also include stadium seating for a maximum of 775 passengers and the rinks use real ice.  Additionally, the ships also cruise professional ice shows and are groomed with actual Zamboni machines.  Skates are provided to passengers and there is no charge to skate.

5.  Water Coasters

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Image courtesy of The Disney Blog

Disney unveiled the first water coaster aboard a ship.  Today you will find them on Disney Fantasy, Disney Dream, and Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas.  A water coaster is a water slide that employs water  jets to propel passengers in different directions.  

Disney’s ships include AquaDuck, a 765-foot-long, two-passenger, family-friendly ride that begins at the rear of each vessel and circles the pools.  Royal Caribbean’s 800-foot-long Blaster is a high-speed, two-person attraction that winds over and around the ship’s rock-climbing wall, basketball court, and FlowRider surf simulator.  Rides are free.

6.  Laser Tag Arenas

If you want some shoot-em-up fun while on a cruise you will have to board Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Joy, or Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, or Symphony of the Seas.  Laser tag arenas have become quite popular.  In fact, the Norwegian Encore has the most elaborate and largest laser tag area on any cruise ship.  

The Royal Caribbean laser tag areas are temporary, pop-up courses set up over the ice-skating rinks.  The attraction is covered under the price of your fare.  On the Norwegian vessels, it’s $10.00 per person for a five-minute laser shoot-out or $199.00 for a week-long pass.

7.  Skydiving Simulators

Skydiving simulators are included on Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, and Spectrum of the Seas. The RipCord by iFly provides vertical wind machines at the rear of the vessels that provide passengers simulated skydiving back of the ships that give you the sense of 60-second skydiving experiences.  Participants wear a full jumpsuit, helmet, and safety goggles provided by Royal Caribbean.  They’re accompanied by a trained company instructor into this vortex. The first “ride” is free and it’s so family-friendly even three-years-old have experienced it.  

8.  Observation capsules

The North Star observation capsules are featured on Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, and Spectrum of the Seas.  These glass-enclosed capsules rise hundreds of feet above the sea on huge mechanical arms.  Some sources say these capsules provide “the ultimate in middle-of-the-ocean views.”  Up to 14 people, and the operator, can fit at one time.  Rides last between 15 and 20 minutes. The cost is generally included in the fare but one can pay extra to book a capsule for any special shipboard event.

9.  SkyRides

Image courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

You can only take a SkyRide above the waves on the Carnival Horizon, Carnival Vista, or Carnival Panorama.  These rides suspend you in the sky.  They are essentially one-person vehicles that run on pedal power.  Each attraction takes passengers on set loops around sturdy tracks that are 800 feet in length.   These relatively small recumbent bicycle-reminiscent rides can actually reach a maximum speed of 18 miles per hour.  Mind you, most passengers reportedly plod along at a much slower speed since they want to enjoy the unique view.  There is no additional charge to ride this attraction.

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