These days everything on cruise ships is getting bigger and bolder. From the size of the ships (Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas can carry nearly 7,000 passengers plus another 2,000+ crew members) to their amenities, what can be found on a cruise today was unimaginable even a few years ago.
One place where ships are focusing a lot of energy are the onboard waterparks — specifically the waterslides. Gone are the days where a simple slide with a few humps is considered good enough. Slides on cruise ships these days can run hundreds of feet, be up to 10 stories tall, and feature lots of thrills (such as clear slides going out over the water).
With new ships coming out from major cruise lines on a regular basis, the waterslides continue to push the envelope. Below are five slides that we want to ride right now…
Traditional waterslides take you down a tube, starting at a high point and ending at the bottom. Royal Caribbean’s Tidal Wave is a bit different. Lasting only a few seconds, the two-person raft slide drops you down a steep hill that then shoots you up a large wall to where you are nearly vertical with a brief moment of weightlessness as you come down. The unique slide is the first-ever “boomerang” style slide at sea and can be found on Liberty of the Seas.
If you’re sailing aboard the Norwegian Escape, then you’ve got to try the Aqua Loop. If you like slides to be fast and thrilling, then this is just the thing. First, you get in one of two tube pods, standing nearly vertical on a floor that will drop away. In an instant the floor drops away sending riders shooting down before banking hard to the left in a large loop. In all the ride takes only a few seconds, so we’d want to ride it several times to get our thrills.
High-Speed Racing Slides
MSC Seaside has gotten lots of press for its groundbreaking design that features tons of outdoor space. On board the new ship (launched in 2017) are twin racing slides that feature big loops as you slide down. What we think is unique is that the slide tubes jut out over the side of the ship’s deck and are clear — so you can see out as you slide down. In other words, you need to be comfortable with heights if you try this ride. It’s a neat way to add a unique thrill to the ride in our opinion.
Ok, the Ultimate Abyss aboard several Royal Caribbean ships (including Harmony of the Seas) isn’t actually a waterslide. However, it’s simply too thrilling not to include on our list. The slide is actually a traditional slide where riders sit on a specially designed pad to reduce friction. But that’s about the only traditional thing about it.
At 70 feet tall, it’s the tallest slide at sea. The slide features two different routes so that friends can race. It corkscrews down to the deck below, pulling 1.4 G-forces as riders slide down. Once you are in the slide tube there are sound effects and LED lights to add to the excitement. Be sure to take it all in. The time to the bottom is just about 13 seconds.
Norwegian Bliss recently launched and all the talk was of its go-kart track. As the first carting track at sea, that’s understandable. What was missed however is that the Norwegian Bliss also launched with one of the most extreme waterslides around.
The Ocean Loops are similar to the Aqua Loops mentioned above, but with an important difference. You step in and are nearly vertical in the tube before the floor drops out from beneath your feet. As you shoot down the slide there are alternating blue and clear panels. In other words, you can see out of the slide regularly throughout the ride. What’s so special about that is that the slide sticks out over the side of the ship — so you’ll be able to look out over the water while on the slide.