If you still think that cruising is just for old people and that you will be bored on a ship, think again! When I was asked this at travel expos or even from friends, my way to prove that ships are designed for everyone was to talk about everything there is to do on board. So to do the same here, let me tell you about 13 best cruise ship activities you need to try…and then tell me if cruises are ‘just for oldies’!
Carnival Cruises are the original water slide kings with the Dr Seuss water park being their signature activity on board. More recently, the competition has stepped up, increasing their baby slides to thrill-seeker’s dream drops!
Carnival Splendor’s Green Lightning water slide starts with an 11.3m free fall drop before curving and twisting guests into a giant swirling bowl.
Disney’s AquaDuck is a two-person raft ride, taking you uphill first before you shoot down the slide, ending in a relaxing lazy river.
The AquaDunk on Disney Magic is one for the big kids, stretching out over the side of the ship and plummeting you 212 feet down to your ultimate splash!
NCL Bliss and Joy offer ‘over the edge’ multi-level water slides, with a double loop which extends 11 feet over the side of the ship and 160 feet above water. Norwegian Escape and Getaway have the daredevil’s free fall drop, the fastest at sea!
MSC Seaside and Seaview have come to the party with the most interactive slides at seas. Their 367 feet water slide has lights and music to entertain you on the way down!
The Perfect Storm is a combination of three water slides on Royal Caribbean’s Symphony and Harmony of the Seas. This is a great family option with slides just 3 decks high, unlike…
RCL’s Ultimate Abyss is actually a dry slide, plunging guests 10 decks down at the rate of 9 miles an hour..not for the faint-hearted! Available on Oasis, Harmony, Symphony and Wonder of the Seas.
2. Go Karts
NCL have introduced Go Karting to their latest ships and they’re impressive! Sister ships Joy and Bliss both feature these race tracks which allow riders to go at speeds of up to 30mph! It’s a truly competitive track, with up ten cars permitted on the track at any one time, and with piped in racing noises, you will feel like it’s the real deal – with sea views!
Fun Fact: the idea was thought of by the owner’s grandkids after being asked what they’d like to see on the next ship!
A single pass costs US$9.95 (which gives you a thrilling 8 minutes on the track) or a day pass is US$29.95. If you are a hardcore racer you can purchase a weekly pass for US$195 which also gives you priority in the queues.
3. Rock Climbing
One of the signature activities for Royal Caribbean ships, this is always a family favourite. The courses vary by ship but are up to 12 meters high,which I can personally testify is pretty terrifying when you’re already 12+ decks above sea…!
This is a free activity with RCL, but you do need to remember to bring active wear, and socks.
P&O Australia also offers rock climbing, but they’ll sting you A$34 for it as an adult (A$24 for kids).
4. Laser Tag
This is such a fun activity which so many cruise lines are jumping onto the bandwagon with! If you’ve been under a rock, laser tag originated in 1979 by the US army as a training exercise. They used laser beams to ‘fire’ at other soldiers which had a device to ‘receive’ the hits. Star Trek jumped on this and created Phaser Guns to coincide with the release of their movie, and so the game grew…
Royal Caribbean‘s Symphony, Independence and Mariner of the Seas all offer a Galactic themed game, located in Studio B in an inflatable glow in the dark maze. Participation is free and is on a first come first served basis.
NCL‘s Encore, Joy and Bliss also have laser tag, in a concrete style abandoned space station. This is charged at $10 for a 10-minute session or $100 for unlimited plays in a week.
P&O Dawn, Aria and Explorer offer laser tag as part of their Edge program. A$24 adults A$14 kids.
5. iFly by Ripcord
This is one of my favourites! Who would have thought that you could ‘skydive’ on a cruise? Well, the kings of innovation have created just that. Passengers go through a safety and instructional training (with some pretty hot activities crew – seriously, where do they find these guys? Haha, sorry…I digress!) and then you’re taken to the iFly air tube where you literally fall forward into it and away you go – it’s pretty awesome!
Being Royal Caribbean, there’s no charge for this either.
Have you tried surfing on a cruise ship? Another RCL innovation, the Flowrider is a surf simulator – and it’s not as easy as it looks! It’s first come first served activity which switches between surfing and boogie boarding throughout the day. The activities staff are there to help get you up and running, but I promise you will crash and burn at some point! Don’t forget to bring secure bathers or a one-piece for this ladies…!
7. Walk the Plank
Offered by both NCL and P&O, walking the plank is a fun activity for those with a head for heights! Located on deck 15 on P&Os; Dawn, Aria and Explorer, the fearless can walk out over the ocean and dream of being a pirate! A$24 Adults A$19 for kids.
On NCL’s Breakaway class ships you can walk the 8 feet long, 6 inches wide plank, perched high over the ocean. I believe this is a complimentary activity, as part of their ropes adventure.
8. Flying Fox / Zip Line
Another favourite, zip lining is offered on board Royal Caribbean‘s Oasis class ships, flying high over the open promenade and Central Park. This is a complimentary activity.
P&O offer their own version of a flying fox, taking you 80m from deck to deck to enjoy the views. A$24 for adults and A$18 for kids.
Exclusive to Carnival, this awesome Skyride is like a semi-enclosed bicycle in the sky! Similar to a zip line, the ‘bikes’ are a pedal-powered go-mobile, giving you incredible views, and a pretty good lower body workout at the same time! This is a complimentary activity.
Available on Horizon, Panorama and Vista ships.
10. Roller Skating
Missing your roller derby days? Well, bring out those fluro tights and crop tops ladies, skating is back! Men also allowed, Royal Caribbean knows how to throw a roller disco. With a DJ perched up over the Seaplex to bring the tunes, you just need to remember long pants and socks for this included activity.
Available on Quantum class ships.
11. Dodgem Cars
Are they bumper cars or are they dodgems? Well, I guess that depends on how well you drive! First come first served (I recommend trying on embarkation day before everyone else has discovered them, or are queuing for the iFly!) these are fun for all the family. Complimentary and available on Quantum class ships.
12. Ice Skating
Studio B is the home of Ice Skating on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis, Freedom and Voyager class ships. Not only do they have incredible ice shows for guests to watch, but they also have open sessions for guests to take to the ice themselves. You will need long pants and socks for this, and it’s first come first served.
13. Escape Room
Have you tried an Escape Room? They are so much fun for all the family, and have become so big that you will find one in just about any city you visit nowadays. Basically, you are set a series of tasks to solve and work together in order to ‘escape’ the locked room.
Royal Caribbean currently offers this on Anthem, Ovation, Harmony, Symphony, Independence, Mariner and Navigator of the Seas.
NCL also offers an Escape Room on Breakaway, Getaway, Epic and Escape.
Looking for something a little more sedate?
Not everything on board these ships is for thrill-seekers! If you want to do something more low-key, but still interesting, you can check out common activities such as cookery class, wine-tasting, mini-golf, Bridge classes, towel-animal making, Bingo, Trivia and movies under the stars. There really is something for everyone on cruises these days!
That’s a Wrap!
So, having explained 14 best cruise ship activities you need to try, would you still think that cruising is just for old people? You may not have expected so many things to be on offer, or for so many of them to be included in the price too. What activities do you enjoy doing when you cruise? I’d love to hear your feedback!
Thanks for reading as always – see you next time!
Wendy A x
Please note prices correct at time of writing.
Pin for later: