Five Faves: Onboard Thrills

Five Faves

Cruise Enthused

Five Favorite Onboard Thrills

Modern-day cruisers might not realize that there actually was a time when shuffleboard and bingo were it for onboard activities. But then came waterslides and rock-climbing walls and today, the opportunities — and possibilities — for onboard thrills are endless. Here are our five favorite, most-thrilling, one-of-a-kind experiences to check off your list… while on a cruise!


If you’ve ever dreamed of catching a wave — minus the gush of saltwater up your nose or the fear of sharks below your board — you’re in luck. That’s because many Royal Caribbean International cruise ships feature a Flowrider, a surfing simulator that lets you test your balancing skills and wipeout tactics. Of course, the Flowrider is also quite a spectator sport, so if you’re more into watching than doing, grab a seat and be prepared to be entertained, especially if you’re watching Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. master the skills.

(Quantum-class, Oasis-class, Freedom-class, and Voyager of the Seas)



Walk the Plank

As if trying to balance and traverse tightropes and small boards high above Deck 17 of a Norwegian Cruise Line ship isn’t thrilling enough, part of said ropes course then gives you the chance to walk The Plank. First take a deep breath and get a good grip on your support cable and then head out 8 feet from the side of ship for one momentous moment — and a lifetime of bragging rights.

(Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway)


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Thrill Theater

With the word “THRILL” in its very name, you know this theater is no relaxing poolside retreat. So take your seat in Carnival Cruise Lines’ Thrill Theater for an exciting film experience that includes not only high-definition 3D effects but also strobe lights, smoke machines, water sprays, seat vibration, and more, which all combine to make you feel like you’re right in the middle of the heart-pounding action on the screen.

(Carnival Breeze)




First convince yourself that you will not fall, and then take a walk across the 60-foot-long glass-bottomed walkway 128 feet above the ocean. Princess Cruises’ SeaWalk lets you check out the ocean below (OK, plus some life boats and balconies too), but certainly gives you that hesitant, stomach-dropping, OMG feeling that thrill-seekers crave.

(Royal Princess and Regal Princess)



RipCord by iFly

The latest, thrilling industry first is Royal Caribbean International’s RipCord by iFly skydiving simulator. After a quick training lesson, don your blue jumpsuit, helmet, goggles, and earplugs and head up in small groups to take turns for your one minute of fame in the wind tunnel. Your instructor stays with you to provide instruction (straighten your legs, chin up, etc.) in hopes that by the end of the 60 seconds, you’ll be able to fly solo long enough for the photographer to snap a few pics of you giving a thumbs-up.

(Quantum of the Seas and upcoming Anthem of the Seas)


— Jodi Ornstein

Now in its 25th year, Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine is published bi-monthly and available worldwide through digital subscription. It offers the latest news in cruise and travel, with in-depth features on voyages, new ships, the best destinations, readers' picks, onboard cuisine, entertainment, and more!