What Other Wild Attractions Could Make it to Cruise Ships?
Photo courtesy of Disney Cruise Line
Just when you think cruise ship attractions can’t get any more elaborate, another cruise line comes out with something even more outrageous. So, what could possibly be next? A full-blown go-kart racetrack is coming to Norwegian Cruise Line’s upcoming Norwegian Joy in the Chinese market in 2017, but that’s likely just the beginning.
Currently, the cruise industry has been taking its cues from land-based attractions when developing its own, and that has resulted in some pretty impressive features thus far with Royal Caribbean International in the lead with its plethora of innovations. After all, it has surfing and skydiving simulators as well as the North Star craned passenger pod on the Quantum-class ships and new high-speed Ultimate Abyss slide on the new Harmony of the Seas.
Carnival Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line aren’t far behind though with the SkyRide suspended cycling ride and AquaDuck water coasters (pictured above) respectively. Also from land, Carnival has introduced an IMAX theater at sea, and Norwegian has installed free-fall AquaLoop water slides on several of its ships.
For the future, the most obvious extension to consider beyond these attractions are the variations that already exist. For instance, the FlowRider company makes about a half dozen different models besides the original wave one found aboard Royal Caribbean. Its others also simulate barrels and curls, which are perhaps more advanced, but with two mounted on many ships, you might eventually see one swap out for a FlowBarrel or FlowCurl, or even a third one on larger vessels still.
As for water slides, Royal Caribbean also upped the ante by recently adding the first boomeranging Tidal Wave to the Liberty of the Seas where inner-tube riders propel down and up the sides of a halfpipe-like structure. And MSC Cruises will combine video games and water slides on the first interactive variety aboard its MSC Seaside when it launches in 2017.
READ MORE: My Ride on the North Star
Even Disney’s AquaDuck effectively pairs water slides with roller coaster technology, and such hybrid designs are expected to continue. Consider that land amusement companies are beginning to demonstrate zip lines that operate more like roller coasters as well with alternating dips and inclines, and you start to see a picture of where things might soon head at sea.
In fact, theme parks might be the best place to look to get a glimpse into the future of cruise ship attractions because it’s probably only a matter of time before a cruise line attempts to install an actual roller coaster on a ship. Shifting gravity might at first seem to pose a problem, but linear induction motors could provide additional momentum when needed. Disney has two new cruise ships on the horizon. Perhaps it will be the first to innovate in this way or even modify its shoreside Tower of Terror (excuse me; Guardians of the Galaxy) attraction for an onboard free-fall ride. Only the sky’s the limit as they say.
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