Cruise ship water slides have come a long way. Read on for the craziest innovations yet. - Photo by Carnival Cruise Lines
If you’re the type of cruiser whose daytime entertainment needs to go beyond a dip in the pool, then you’ll want to take note of these five adrenaline-pumping water rides. Complete with twists, turns, drops — even some surprises! — these slides can add some excitement to your sea day, and make you feel like a kid again:
Located on Deck 12, this water slide is dubbed an “aqua coaster” due to its roller coasterlike warren of twists and drops. As you ride through the 765-foot course, you can take in views high above the ocean until your single or double raft drops into the lazy river at the end.
Also Look for: Each ship also has themed splash zones dedicated to little ones 8 years and younger. Nemo’s Reef on Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy and AquaLab, also on Disney Fantasy, have water jets, fountains, and mini-water slides.
2. Free Fall
These ships have the largest water parks in the fleet, featuring the heart-stopping Free Fall ride. Two brave souls step up to the side-by-side slides, where they stand and wait in anticipation for the trap door to drop from underneath their feet. Fellow passengers can watch the action below through the translucent tubes, as their courageous counterparts loop around to a fast-paced finish.
Also Look for: Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway have Nickelodeon-themed aqua parks for toddlers, featuring life-sized characters, such as SpongeBob SquarePants, along with water squirters and shallow splash pools.
The 390-foot-long Vertigo slide sits majestically atop Deck 18. Riders travel down at speeds up to 13 mph, catching a glimpse of the sea as they’re carried over the edge of the ship. Several portions of the slide are equipped with bands of sheer colors that change when the sun shines through, creating a cool strobe effect as you soar down to the finish.
Also Look for: The infinity-style Garden Pool on MSC Divina is the more relaxing option for watery fun. In this adult-only area, you can sunbathe in peace or take a spin class without leaving the pool.
4. Speedway Splash
These two-lane racing slides, a first for Carnival, were added aboard Carnival Sunshine as part of the Fun Ship 2.0 renovations. Hop into one of the side-by-side blue and green tubes at the same time as your competitor, and fly down to the checkered flags and flashing lights at the end of the course, where a screen announces the winner.
Also Look for: Carnival Sunshine also features the longest water slide in the fleet — the 334-foot-long Twister — as part of its WaterWorks park on Deck 10. There, you’ll also find mini-racing slides for little ones, as well as the Power Drencher, which drops 300 gallons of water on top of eager passengers.
5. Epic Plunge
The 200-foot Epic Plunge on Deck 15 is tall — four stories tall. Sitting on a raft, riders slide down the enclosed tube before being shot out into a giant bowl. After swirling around, they’re finally sucked into a hole that drops out into the water for a big splashy ending.
Also Look for: At Spice H2O, the adult-only area located on the top deck of Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Breakaway, and Norwegian Getaway, you’ll find lots of lounge chairs, two hot tubs, and outdoor enclaves with waterfalls for when you need a break from the sun.
Tara Imperatore is a contributing writer for Cruiseline.com.