RIDES OF YOUR LIFE

Ex­treme new thrills get your heart rac­ing at sea

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - LINER NOTES - AN­DREA BLACK

Love a good theme park? No need to trek all the way to Dis­ney­land or Universal, since cruise ships are up­ping the stakes as des­ti­na­tions in them­selves for thrillseek­ers, and they’re com­ing to a port near you. We’re talk­ing thrills and spills with wa­ter­parks, go-kart tracks, sim­u­lated surf­ing and rock-climb­ing walls.

Ex­pect ex­treme highs and lows; there are pods that take guests high above sea level and over the side on Royal Caribbean’s Quan­tum-class ships, as well as the RipCord by iFLY fea­ture, where guests can show off their sky­div­ing tech­nique. And what’s best de­scribed as an un­der­wa­ter he­li­copter on-board Crys­tal Cruises Crys­tal Esprit is a sub­mersible sub which takes two guests and a cap­tain in a small glass cap­sule for an un­der­wa­ter ex­cur­sion.

Here are more ac­tion-packed on­board ac­tiv­i­ties for adren­a­line ad­ven­ture-lovers.

A NEW WA­TER­PARK

Set to re­launch in Fe­bru­ary 2019, Royal Caribbean’s Nav­i­ga­tor of the Seas is un­der­go­ing a $US115 mil­lion over­haul and will of­fer even more thrills than be­fore. Most ex­cit­ing is the new aqua coaster, The Blaster, set to be the long­est slide at sea.

The dif­fer­ence be­tween this aqua coaster and a reg­u­lar wa­ter­slide is the wa­ter can pro­pel thrillseek­ers in both di­rec­tions by us­ing wa­ter jets to pro­pel riders up­hill. Guests hop on a THE BLASTER two-per­son raft that will push them through 244m of hills, drops and straight­aways, which in­cludes ex­tend­ing over the side of the ship.

You can also plunge head­first through a translu­cent tube on the new Rip­tide wa­ter­slide, or try the FlowRider surf sim­u­la­tor and rock­climb­ing wall. And there will be glowin-the-dark laser tag. ROY­AL­CARIBBEAN.COM.AU/

TAKE THE SKYRIDE

First in­tro­duced on Car­ni­val Vista and a multi win­ner of Best Cruise Ship Fea­ture in cruise ship awards, SkyRide could be the clos­est ap­prox­i­ma­tion to a roller­coaster at sea. Lo­cated on the top deck, riders are sus­pended 45m high above deck along a 244m track. Once strapped in, you can re­lax and en­joy the scenery or pedal hard for a thrill ride. Two riders in sep­a­rate bikes can com­pete against each other for added fun. There’s a dip for an ex­tra burst and should you want to re­ally take it easy, you can put on the brakes.

The ride is also on the new Car­ni­val Hori­zon and will be com­ing soon to Car­ni­val Panorama, set to launch in 2019 from Long Beach, US. While SkyRide isn’t for those who fear heights, the views are sub­lime. CAR­NI­VAL.COM/ON­BOARD/SKYRIDE

RACE GO-KARTS

Any­one sail­ing on Nor­we­gian Cruise Line’s Nor­we­gian Joy or Nor­we­gian Bliss should head to the top deck to check out the new go-kart race­track, the long­est race­track at sea. The twolevel elec­tric track has four dif­fer­ent speed set­tings – with the top speed be­ing 48km/h – so learner young­sters to petrol­heads are all catered to.

You’ll zoom around at your own pace for eight laps. It’s no ride in the park – there are hair­pin turns and the very dis­tinct pos­si­bil­ity of smash­ing into bar­ri­ers and fel­low driv­ers; don’t worry, hel­mets are pro­vided.

Also new is an open-air laser tag course where play­ers zap each other in an area themed to look like an aban­doned space sta­tion. For more thrills, Ocean Loops is a free-fall wa­ter slide that shoots riders out the side of the ship and up over two loops. NCL.COM GO-KARTS

PIC­TURES: SUP­PLIED

Get ready for blast-off on the long­est slide at sea aboard Nav­i­ga­tor of the Seas; speed around hair-rais­ing turns on Nor­we­gian Cruise Line’s new gokart race­track, the long­est race­track at sea.

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