The next big gim­micky things

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - DESTINATION AFLOAT - LOUISE GOLDS­BURY

The al­lure of the ocean, the par­a­disi­a­cal des­ti­na­tions, free food and posh but­lers — it’s just not enough to con­vince some peo­ple to take a hol­i­day a sea. Cruise lines keep try­ing to outdo each other, or their own fleets, by com­ing up with the next big, silly thing.

For the past decade, the most in­trigu­ing struc­tures on Aus­tralian ships were a glass­blow­ing stu­dio and a five-sec­ond wa­ter­slide. Then along came the Asian cruis­ing boom, which has lured the world’s most cre­ative me­ga­lines to our re­gion.

Like go-karting? The new Nor­we­gian Joy prom­ises a top-deck race­track where pas­sen­gers can zip around in elec­tric cars. Hover­craft bumper cars, what­ever they are, will be the main at­trac­tion in­side the ship’s vir­tual re­al­ity pavil­ion. Thrill-seek­ers can also strap into a sim­u­la­tor that feels like rid­ing a roller­coaster in the dark, or fly through the gal­axy with Star Wars Bat­tle Pods.

Royal Caribbean’s Ova­tion of the Seas has ro­botic bar­tenders to mix cock­tails, a ver­ti­cal wind tun­nel to try sky­div­ing, and an ob­ser­va­tion cap­sule in­spired by the Lon­don Eye.

P & O’s next ship, Pa­cific Ex­plorer, will have bare­foot bowls and wa­ter­slides with spe­cial ef­fects. Some Princess Cruises’ ships have a glass-floored Sea Walk that juts out over the edge of the ship. Cu­nard’s QM2 has a plan­e­tar­ium for stargazing.

And then there are all the restaurants dreamt up by

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