As cruise ships have gotten larger, activities onboard have gotten, well, wackier. You could call them gimmicks to fill cabins, but we’re dazzled by some of the cool new options you can do at sea. From faux flying to arctic attractions, cruise lines are making it nearly impossible to be bored … and who wouldn’t toast to that?
1. Go Sky Diving
Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas
Photo by Royal Caribbean
One of the coolest new activities on Royal Caribbean’s newest ship is the RipCord by iFly experience, a sky diving simulator that uses an air machine to keep you aloft. Perfect for adventurous cruisers who aren’t quite ready to jump out of a plane just to tick off a box on their bucket lists. Also on Quantum: bumper cars and the North Star, a 15-minute ride in a moving pod that carries you into the air above the ship for a better view.
2. Grab a Drink at an Ice Bar
Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Breakaway, and Norwegian Getaway
Norwegian Cruise Line
Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line
It may be hot outside, but onboard, guests can put on furry wraps and sip vodka and icewine cocktails in a room made entirely of ice. The bars are kept at a chilly 17 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure the bar, seats, and glasses all stay frozen. New York City, the home port of Norwegian Breakaway, inspires the ice sculptures on the ship, with replicas of the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and Chrysler Building. Norwegian Getaway, set to sail from Miami in February 2014, will feature palm trees, Ocean Drive, and a life-size alligator throne.
3. Watch an Animated Porthole
Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy
Disney Cruise Line
Photo by Disney Cruise Line
Even inside staterooms have a view on Disney’s newest ships, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. These “magical” portholes give you a real-time glimpse of the sea, superimposed with a video of animated characters, some of whom appear to surf by your cabin.
4. Ride a Zip Line
Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas
Photo by Royal Caribbean
Sure, many ports have zip line parks, but these Oasis-class ships bring their own high-wire act with them. If you have the nerves, you can fly 82 feet across the ship while suspended nine decks in the air. Also on these ships: ice skating rinks with complimentary skates.
5. Watch a Movie in a "5-D" Theater
Carnival Cruise Line
Photo by Carnival Cruise Line
In the Thrill Theater, a 3-D projection system is combined with 4-D special effects, like squirting water and blowing air, as well as scents, to give you a truly unique experience. The final element comes from the seats, which move side to side and vibrate along with the show.
6. Take a Bike Ride... Underwater
Photo by MSC Cruises
You can try the latest fitness craze and get your heart rate pumping without ever leaving the pool. Aqua cycling places spinning bicycles in pools for an intense workout: As you work against the water, you’ll burn calories. There may be no better place to take advantage of the guilt-free indulgence you can allow yourself as a result than on a cruise ship.