Screen grab from FlowRider website
Visit FlowRider’s website, and the first image that pops up is a proud announcement that Royal Caribbean International has recently installed its 15th FlowRider – the surf simulator that made a splash in the cruise industry when it began to be installed on RCI’s Voyager-class ships and beyond – at sea. Initially, the line was just putting one aboard, but the Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and newest and biggest Harmony of the Seas each have two. Plus, there are even more products available from the manufacturer that could still make their way onto a cruise ship.
When asked by FlowRider why Royal Caribbean chose its company’s attraction time and time again, the cruise line admitted, “because we wanted something to set us apart from our competitors and FlowRider did just that.”
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The version that the line has installed is the FlowRider Double, which is a 32-foot-wide ramp that can accommodate two riders at once. Essentially, a high pressure sheet of water is propelled over a spongy surface in the shape of a wave that can be surfed on without any injury should a participant fall off their board, and Royal Caribbean offers the fun feature entirely for free.
But what you might not know is that there are actually thirteen total FlowRider attractions that are available from the manufacturer, including smaller FlowRider variations as well as larger, more elaborate simulators. The one, in particular, that is still screaming to be placed atop a cruise ship is the WaveOz (pictured above). Think of it as a 180-degree semicircle of contiguous FlowRiders for one massive wave that can be caught across nearly 7,000 total square feet of surface area and a 187-foot-wide curved rail. In other words, here’s one for the next largest cruise ship in the world to consider installing.
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Additionally, FlowRider has taken sheet waves to the next level to now simulate water bends and curves. The LatiTube, FlowCurl and FlowBarrel all safety mimic more intense wave forms, with the FlowCurl being the best hybrid between the FlowRider and a full barrel-crashing wave, which might be trickier to sustain aboard a cruise ship. The FlowCurl at least keeps the water tighter to the nearly 53-foot-wide surface.
With the greatest alternate contenders being sizable upgrades over the standard FlowRider, it’s definitely their grander scale that might make them less feasible on a ship, but surely a cruise line could make one fit if it really wanted to, perhaps one WaveOz in lieu of two separate FlowRiders next time. I suspect it will be sooner than later before you see one of these extreme attractions pop up onboard.