Caribbean beaches are definitely fabulous but onboard activities – many of them ‘firsts’ of their kind - could keep you so busy you might never put a toe in the sand.

FlowRiderCourtesy of Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean’s newest Quantum Class ship, Anthem of the Seas will offer huge onboard fun with three multi-story waterslides, the FlowRider surf simulator, RipCordSM by iFly® – a skydiving simulator, and a Bionic Bar with robot bartenders. SeaPlexSM, the largest indoor active space on any ship promises bumper cars (only on Quantum class ships), a full NCAA basketball court, and inline roller-skating. Swing on the trapeze at the circus school, play table tennis, badminton, air hockey or Xbox while a floating DJ booth hovers above the court and a food truck serves gourmet hot dogs. Speaking of hovering, North StarSM, a gondola-type glass capsule on a mechanical arm will transport you 300 feet above sea level, over the deck and out to sea for incredible views. In 2016, Harmony of the Seas – a 16-deck addition to the line’s Oasis Class and the third Royal Caribbean ship to launch over an 18 month period - will add something extra to the multi-deck water experience – a Champagne bowl through which guests will swirl on their way down.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-GolfCourtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Not to be outdone in the fun department, the Norwegian Escape will feature a three-story, 99-component ropes course with elements like sky rails (a zip track to glide you through the air) and even two beams that hang over the side of the ship so daredevils can walk the plank. The largest aqua park in the fleet with also be on the Escape, featuring a Free Fall water slide, the Aqua Racer, in which competitors race side by side in tubes and water cannons and buckets to deliver surprise drenchings to the unsuspecting! Other great activities on Escape will include a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-themed nine-hole, mini-golf course and a bocce ball court.

Carnival Vista_SkyRideCourtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

On the Carnival Vista, groundbreaking activities such as SkyRide, the cruise industry’s first suspended, open-air cycling experience, as well as the world’s first shipboard IMAX® Theatre, and an expanded water park featuring the Kaleid-O-Slide – the line’s first raft-riding tube slide will make every day a party!

Written by Liz Fleming and originally published in World Traveler Summer/Fall 2015 issue.

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