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Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours

The Craziest Cruise Ship Amenities

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Helicopters, Scenic
Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours

Something for Everyone

Sure, cruises are one of the most polarizing vacations out there, but cruise lines are working overtime to win us over. Of course, their task is especially imposing after COVID-19 battered the cruise industry. But if you're ready to go aboard again, you'll find amenities that it may be hard to believe have found a home at sea. Some cruise ships are even the size of small cities — Royal Caribbean's new Wonder of the Seas is the largest cruise ship in the world, with room for 6,988 guests — and they're stuffed with unexpected ways to spend your time. 


Related: These Cruise Lines Are Letting You Drop Your Mask

Carousel
© Royal Caribbean International

Carousel

Royal Caribbean

The cruise line's massive new Wonder of the Seas, which sets sail March 4 from Ft. Lauderdale, is a whopping 1,188 feet long, and it's jam-packed with features. One attraction is a full-size traditional carousel. It's free to ride day or night, so why not take a few nostalgic spins during your cruise?


Related: The Worst Cruise Ship Horror Stories

Zip Line
© Royal Caribbean International

Zip Line

Royal Caribbean

While zip lining on your vacation may not seem like a big deal, doing it on a cruise ship may be – especially when the zip line is 10 decks high. Wonder of the Seas' zip line dangles above the ship's boardwalk, not open sea, which isn't quite as terrifying but still offers some impressive views. The zip line is included in the cost of the cruise and no reservation is required, so it doesn't have to be a once-in-a-lifetime (or even a once-in-a-cruise) experience. 


Related: 12 Private Islands and Resorts Owned by Cruise Lines

Free-fall Dry Slide Norwegian
Norwegian Cruise Line

Free-Fall Slide

Norwegian

Due to launch in August 2022, Norwegian's new Prima cruise ship is taking onboard thrills to a new level, literally, with The Drop. It's a 10-story dry plunge slide that winds its way down the side of the ship, producing "the highest G-force of any comparable experience in the cruise industry," according to a Norwegian news release. There's also The Rush, a pair of twisting slides that will let friends race to the bottom. 


Related: 23 of the Most Luxurious Cruise Ships

Go-Karts, Norwegian
Norwegian Cruise Line

Go-Karts

Norwegian 

The Norwegian Prima will have another eye-popping feature where passengers can rev up the fun: a go-kart track that spans three levels and 1,378 feet in length. It's not Norwegian's first flirtation with go-karts, though: The Norwegian Bliss has a two-level course that features hairpin turns and, of course, the most pristine sea views you're likely to ever enjoy while racing.

Roller Coaster, Carnival
Carnival
Surf Simulator, Royal Caribbean
royalcaribbean/facebook

Surf Simulator

Royal Caribbean
Surf's up, and no one means the waves below the ships. More than a dozen of Royal Caribbean's ships feature the FlowRider, a 40-foot surf simulator that blasts adventurous riders with 30,000 gallons of water. Boogie-board riders are welcome, too. 

Sky Bike, Carnival
Carnival

Sky Bike

Carnival
Called SkyRide, Carnival's sky bike is on three of its ships: the Panorama, the Vista and the Horizon. It lets riders strap in and pedal — or race, if you're in a competitive mood — around a two-lane course that's suspended high above the deck.

Escape Room, Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean

Escape Room

Royal Caribbean
Cruise ships are working overtime to shake their old-fashioned reputation and this amenity makes that clear. This trendy activity recently made the leap to a handful of cruise ships. One of the most deluxe escape rooms, aboard Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas, is called "Escape the Rubicon." Passengers work together to escape the S.S. Rubicon, packed with clues and special effects, before time runs out.

Ropes Course, Norwegian
Norwegian Cruise Line

Ropes Course

Norwegian
One of the most impressive ropes courses at sea is on the Norwegian Escape. It's three stories tall and packs in a whopping 99 challenges, including zip tracks and two heart-stopping "planks" that let the bravest participants walk out over the ocean.

Water Coaster, Disney
Disney Cruise Line

Water Coaster

Disney
Finally booked a Disney cruise? Buckle up for this amenity. Though many cruise ships have a water slide or two, Disney ups the ante with a water coaster. The family-friendly AquaDuck, on the Disney Dream and Fantasy, whizzes rafts up, down and around through transparent tubes for 765 feet, and even includes a four-deck drop. A similar ride, the AquaMouse, will be on the soon-to-debut Disney Wish.

Planetarium, Cunard
Cunard

Planetarium

Cunard
If speed isn't your thing, perhaps a relaxing star-gazing session is in order? The Cunard Queen Mary 2 has the only on-board planetarium, called Illuminations. With the dome retracted, the venue also hosts concerts and recitals, as well as impressive 3D movies.

Skydiving Simulator, Royal Caribbean
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Skydiving Simulator

Royal Caribbean
Available on Anthem of the Seas and other Royal Caribbean Quantum Class ships, the RipCord by iFly gives you a taste of skydiving without truly leaving the ground — er, deck. Adventurous passengers get to "fly" for about a minute, always under the eye of a watchful instructor.

Snow Grotto

Snow Grotto

Viking
The intimate Viking Sea hosts a sophisticated Nordic-inspired spa with a special feature indeed: a (supposedly) invigorating snow grotto. Watch snowflakes spiral down from the ceiling in this icy, glass-enclosed room, then head to the steam sauna to warm up.

Rock Climbing, Royal Caribbean
Royalcaribbeanblog.com

Rock Climbing

Royal Caribbean
Climbing walls have become a standard feature on many Royal Caribbean ships, some of which even feature two walls for double the fun. Passengers can climb up to 40 feet and choose from different routes according to their experience level.

Virtual Balconies, Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean

Virtual Balconies

Royal Caribbean
Interior cruise-ship cabins can feel a little claustrophobic, so several Royal Caribbean ships have a creative solution: virtual balconies. They are actually 80-inch LED screens that show live, high-definition views from the stem and stern of the ship, and since they even have sounds and a computer-generated balcony overlay, it might be difficult to tell the difference.

Personal Butlers, Silversea
Silversea

Personal Butlers

Silversea
Silversea bills itself as the ultimate in luxury cruising. One over-the-top amenity? Your cabin — ahem, your suite — comes with a dedicated white-gloved butler. Whether you need a stiff drink or want your shoes shined, they're ready to indulge your every whim.

Craft Brewery
Carnival

Craft Brewery

Carnival
Just about every cruise ship gives you the chance to kick back with a beer, but on the Carnival Vista, you can indulge in beers that are actually made on board. The ship's Redfrog Pub and Brewery has a three-barrel glass brewery that actually uses seawater for the beer, thanks to desalination and reverse osmosis technology.

Ice Bar
norwegiancruiselineinternational/facebook

Ice Bar

Norwegian
Several Norwegian ships feature a Scandinavian-inspired ice bar, where guests can indulge in specialty vodka cocktails. Kept at a brisk 17 degrees, they require passengers to suit up in blanket-like parkas to enjoy the solid-ice bar, seats and glasses.

Moving Bar, Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean

Moving Bar

Royal Caribbean
No, you haven't had too much to drink — the floor really is moving. The oval, glassed-in Rising Tide Bar, found on several Royal Caribbean ships, slowly rises four decks, stops for a while, then descends back to its starting point. Not offbeat enough for you? Some ships also have robotic bartenders.

Laser Tag
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Laser Tag

Norwegian, Royal Caribbean 
Want to play like a kid on your cruise, whether or not you have them with you? Step aboard the Norwegian Bliss or Joy and you'll have a full-on laser-tag arena at your disposal. Made to look like an abandoned space station, the arena has blasters that players can put in shield mode to thwart their opponents, or on a super-powerful setting to eliminate an opponent with just one shot. Royal Caribbean has its own version of the game, called the Battle for Planet Z, aboard several ships. 

Seawalk, Princess
Princess Cruises

SeaWalk

Princess
Afraid of heights? The SeaWalk on the Regal Princess and Royal Princess might not be for you. Otherwise, this glass walkway is a show stopper. Jutting out 128 feet above the water and 28 feet from the edge of the ship, it offers unobstructed views of the churning waves below.

Bumper Cars, Royal Caribbean
royalcaribbean/facebook

Bumper Cars

Royal Caribbean
Everyone's favorite amusement-park staple comes to life on Royal Caribbean's Quantum class ships. Bumper cars are just one of the fun diversions you can find at the SeaPlex, a venue that also hosts a roller rink, basketball court, and even a circus school where you can swing from a trapeze.

Grass Lawn, Celebrity
Celebrity Cruises

Grass Lawn

Celebrity
Love the way it feels when your toes sink into the grass? It's a sensation you won't have to give up if you sail with Celebrity, which features a lush lawn on the top deck of its Solstice Class ships. Picnic, listen to some jazz, play a little croquet — the choice is yours.

Bowling, Norwegian
Norwegian Cruise Line

Bowling

Norwegian
Gutter balls may not hurt quite as much if you sink them during a voyage on the Norwegian Epic, which has six full-size bowling lanes: three in a family-friendly bar and grill, and three more in a swanky lounge that comes alive with neon lights at night.

IMAX Movies, Carnival
Carnival

IMAX Movies

Carnival
Movies theaters are a staple of cruise-ship entertainment, but Carnival has upped the ante with the first IMAX theater at sea. On the Vista, passengers can take in a range of IMAX movies in a special 187-seat theater with a screen that's a whopping three decks high.

Helicopters
ScenicCruisesUS/facebook

Helicopters

Scenic
The super-sleek Eclipse fleet from Australian luxury cruise line Scenic has what might be the most eye-popping amenity of all: Two Airbus H130 helicopters that seat up to six passengers at a time, providing bird's eye views of some of the planet's most gorgeous, remote terrain.

Magic Portholes
DisneyCruiseLineJobs/facebook

Magic Portholes

Disney
An inside stateroom is a good way to cut costs, but on the Disney Fantasy or Disney Dream, it could be preferable to a window facing the sea. Characters ranging from Mr. Potatohead to Rapunzel pop up in the porthole view (which, when not visited by animated stars, is focused on the view) at regular intervals.