Take an Epic Plunge aboard Norwegian Epic
AMAZING WATER PARKS AT SEA
Some of the world’s most thrilling water parks are on board your
It often feels that everything at sea is a little
bit more spectacular than its land-based
counterpart. The world’s most luxurious
liners have certainly gone to extreme
lengths to surprise and delight passengers
and children are no exception.
In their quest to win the hearts and
minds of their smallest travellers, many
have discovered the essential ingredient for
success and continue to break records in
the process. It is of course, the water park,
and one experience of its tumbling thrills
will convince you of why no ship is the same
The spectacularly popular MSC leads the
fleet in the race to secure the most exciting
water park at sea, recently unveiling plans
for its Seaside class of ships due to break
boundaries in November 2017. The largest
ship to ever leave the Fincantieri shipyard
will sail year-round from Miami to the
Caribbean, boasting the most interactive
aquatic park in cruising history.
The qualifying features include
five water slides, one of which
combines the usual spills and
thrills with gaming technology.
Slideboarding will involve guests
plummeting through a two-storey, 112-
metre slide on a raft that contains an
embedded game controller which guests can
use to test their speed and responsiveness
against a buddy.
Not all of the forthcoming water park’s
slides will take passengers to a virtual reality,
however, with some relying on the traditional
method of towering heights to inspire
excitement. The Adventure Trail, which is
to connect directly to the park, will feature
bridges suspended between towers, climbing
equipment and slides, all with the best views
of whichever exotic locale the ship happens
to be anchored in.
In the meantime, cruisers can get their fix
aboard MSC Preziosa, featuring Vertigo, the
120-metre slide that arches beyond the side
of the ship, at which point the safety of the
slide gives way to a nine-metre transparent
panel with views to the depths of the ocean!
Norwegian Cruise Lines
For a high-sea adventure that twists, turns
and topples, Norwegian Cruise Line exceeds
even the wildest expectations of tiny
adrenaline seekers. Aboard the Breakaway
Class ships, five multi-level water slides in
candy-coloured splendour take centre stage,
daring passengers to test their bravery on
vertical drops and dizzying spirals.
The Free Fall is the most extreme of the
Aqua Park’s attractions, taking the crown as
the fastest water slide at sea as passengers
plunge down the tube at an exhilarating
speed. Its younger sibling, The Whip, is
gentler by comparison but wet and wild in
its own right, featuring side-by-side twister
slides that make for the ultimate battle
Norwegian’s other vessels are by no
means more ordinary. On a ship christened
Norwegian Epic, a reputation for all things
impressive must be upheld. Fortunately, the
colossal checkered bowl slide that is The
Epic Plunge does just that, as daring souls
are sucked into its vortex.
Royal Caribbean already has an outstanding
reputation among children as a floating
wonderland, and this will only improve in
May 2016 when Harmony of the Seas makes
its maiden voyage. On board will be the first
Splashaway Bay at sea, a vibrant waterscape
where passengers play side-by-side armed
with water cannons.
On her journey through the Mediterranean
stopping at Barcelona, Provence, Florence
and Naples, the ship will officially earn the
title of possessing the tallest water slide at
sea, ominously known as the Ultimate Abyss.
This 10-storey super ride begins in the Pool
and Sports Zone and delivers guests safely to
the Boardwalk neighborhood below, before
they test their might on the The Perfect
Storm and the Supercell, all equally thrilling.
Those that have travelled aboard the
existing Freedom Class and a selection of
Oasis, Quantum and Voyager Class ships will
have already encountered Royal Caribbean’s
unique aqua attractions. The Flowrider,
for instance, is a surf simulator that gives
passengers the opportunity to live out their
German cruise line, Hapag-Lloyd, takes the
incredible water experiences ashore with
their voyages aboard Europa 2. The compact
and maneuverable zodiacs on board allow
access to secret coves and water parks of
the natural variety. With a range of on-shore
family programmes, passengers may find
themselves snorkelling in Langkawi or
descending to the underwater world of the
Caribbean with the help of a submarine.
Although not an activity of the
aquatic variety, the two state-of-the-art
golf simulators aboard Europa 2 are also
noteworthy for families. With equipment
designed specifically for children between
the ages of six and 10, Hapag-Lloyd offers
little guests the chance to master their swing
accompanied by Capt’n Knopf, the resident
teddy bear and mascot. Parents can also
book a personal hour-long session with the
onboard golf pro for their little ones.
Kids and luxury cruising
Not every luxury cruise ship is child friendly
but nevertheless little ones and five star
cruising can mix as long as you plan things
carefully. Here are our tips on how to take
your kids on a luxury liner without feeling
all at sea.
1. Eat early
It goes without saying that children should
eat at the first sitting. Many ships also have
other à la carte or casual bistro dining
available so mix it up for variety’s sake. It
also goes without saying that only the most
extraordinarily mature child should ever be
seen at the Captain’s Table.
2. Pick your room carefully
The bigger the better, so children can
lounge around and watch DVDs in their
own space. For example, Crystal Serenity’s
Penthouse suites with a verandah are
some of the largest at sea and the two
penthouse floors have a free launderette.
Don’t be tempted to book two staterooms
next to each other – a separate door onto
the corridor is an escape route for littlies.
3. Think through excursions
Children love taking tenders ashore or
exploring new places but the organised
tours may not suit children. Sometimes
it is better to go it alone with young
adventurers so that you can set the pace.
An ice-cream in the square and a walk
around the city ramparts in Dubrovnik is
more engaging than a historical tour.
4. Make your own fun
Recognise that you will be spending more
time with the children than on some other
family-style cruises. Luxury cruise ships
often don’t have specific kids’ centres and
although staff and nannies are on offer (so
you can find a deckchair by the railing on
occasion) this isn’t going to happen all the
time. Family board game nights in the room
will be fun and great for bonding at sea.