12395835480?profile=RESIZE_930xCarnival Cruise Line

On their recent Carnival Cruise Lines vacation, every member of the Meyers family was busy enjoying their three-generation vacation getaway. Tom and Martha were playing their favorite sport of pickleball, which is a popular pastime among people in their advanced age group. Their son Ben and his wife Melissa were steering electric race cars along a winding two-level track (above and below), slowing to negotiate sharp hairpin turns. Meanwhile, grandchildren Tom and Betsy were getting wet and wild at a water park which included a Twister waterslide and drenching by a mammoth bucket which rained a torrent of liquid down on them from above.


12395836279?profile=RESIZE_930xCarnival Cruise Line

The fact that these family members, across a wide span of ages, were experiencing such a varied choice of activities in one place was unusual. Adding to the appeal was that the pickleball game, race car ride and soaking, some Carnival ships also offer bicycle tracks suspended over the water, miniature golf course, volleyball and basketball courts, and more.


12395837098?profile=RESIZE_930xCarnival Cruise Line

In recent years, the amenities and activities aboard giant cruise ships that ply the seas have extended well beyond those of the past to include some you would expect to find only on land. With more staterooms to fill, companies are adding fun-filled features as they compete to attract passengers. Aboard Royal Caribbean, passengers can choose ice skating, rock climbing, and bumper cars, surfing simulation, roller skating - and the first "skydiving" experience at sea (it´s actually an iFLY simulator like ones currently found in dozens of cities throughout the USA and beyond. Oh, and those who have ever dreamed of becoming a circus performer may opt for the trapeze school to learn the basics of swinging and swooping.

12398385469?profile=RESIZE_930xRoyal Caribbean Cruises

Young passengers are drawn to a hand-carved carousel that harks back to earlier times. as well as an "AquaTheater" presenting a cast of skateboarders, divers and robots. Their parents can encounter robot bartenders that prepare adult beverages at a "Bionic Bar," and enjoy dinner and entertainment in eight distinctive “neighborhoods” which offer attractions ranging from a suspended infinity pool and swim-up bar to adults-only retreats.

Grown-ups also are likely to enjoy offerings aboard other passenger cruise ships. They include the underwater lounge on some ships of the upscale French expedition line Ponant. Set below ships’ water line, they offer a multisensory experience featurig large glass windows which offer views of the underworld outside, digital screens that project images captured by cameras, and subaquatic sounds streaming from outside the vessel.


12395837271?profile=RESIZE_930xViking Cruises

On Viking, the scientifically curious may take advantage of a planetarium whose high-definition presentations compare in quality with those available at land-based observatories. Another amenity puts snow rather than stars at the focus of a special thermal area. Paying tribute to the line’s Nordic heritage, these “snow grottoes” pipe cold air into rooms as snowflakes fall from the ceiling; then after chilling out, many people opt to warm up in the adjacent steam room and sauna (above).


12395838268?profile=RESIZE_930xCunard Lines

Speaking of planetariums, the Cunard Line´s Queen Mary 2 boasts the only full-sized planetarium at sea, in which up to 150 stargazers may be accommodated beneath a giant dome in its Illuminations Theatre, where narrated star shows, lectures and other programs are presented in partnership with the Royal Astronomical Society.

It's experts associated with the National Geographic Society who provide information and education aboard the ships of Lindblad Expeditions, which are designed to explore some of the most challenging environments in the world, including the Amazon River basin, the Arctic, and Antarctica. Plus it offers immersive programs for specialized interests, such as photographers and undersea enthusiasts.


12395848498?profile=RESIZE_930xDisney Cruise Lines

And when it comes to fun bells and whistles, as you would expect, Disney Cruise Line offers plenty for kids, including interactions with Mickey and and gang; assorted play areas; shows galore; and even rides like Aqua Mouse (above) and various water coasters and slides.


12395847660?profile=RESIZE_930xDisney Cruise Lines

At the same time, the Mouse at sea doesn´t stint on attractions and activities for their parents, either They include adults-only pools and virtual sport simulators on "Goofy´s Sports Deck" which enable passengers to swing, throw, kick, and more in baseball, football, golf, and the like. Two adult-exclusive restaurants include a romantic French-inspired dining room, and lounge and bar areas such as the Disney Treasure´s steampunkish Periscope Lounge (above), inspired by Disney´s 1945 film and longtime parks attraction 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Then of course there are also spas, private pools, and secluded sun decks for those seeking some “me” time.


12395849863?profile=RESIZE_930xPrincess Cruise Line

Finally, there are one-of-a-kind highlights that can be as enjoyable as they are unexpected. Examples include a glass-bottom "SeaWalk" (above) which extends out over the sides of Princess Cruises ships provides a bird’s-eye perspective of the ocean below. And Formula One fans will get a kick out of Norwegian Cruise Line´s race simulator - the same kind used by professional drivers to train, as custom software projects images of real tracks onto the display and surround sound speakers add to the realism.

So as you can see, there´s a lot of vroom, vroom on the high seas this year. Come and explore some of it!





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  • Those race car things do look pretty cool. And I´ve done iFLY, in Orlando, and that was a trip, too.

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