New cruise ships debuting in 2018 are taking the cruise industry to a whole new level in terms of ‘at sea attractions’, and these new cruise ship features are almost custom-made for social media envy!
A private submarine, a magic carpet restaurant, a racetrack at sea, slides within suites and underwater lounges – the cruise industry is going all out in 2018.
Robot bartenders and thrilling ziplines were the talk of the cruise industry in 2017, but they were just the start, the early pioneers, in the cruise industries’ transformation from a hotel at sea concept to a luxury resort and entertainment destination at sea.
In 2018, passengers on cruise ships will be racing electric cars around the largest racetrack at sea, playing outdoor laser tag at night, and photographing marine life with diving drones. The coming 12 months are expected to be some of the most innovation-heavy in the history of the cruise sector, and in the age of social media, the following eight ‘at sea attractions’ will also be the perfect backdrop to an awesome Instagram post.
“We’ve become spoiled as consumers to always want the coolest, best, neatest thing,” explains Vicky Garcia, co-owner and chief operating officer of Cruise Planners Inc., an American Express Co.-affiliated travel agency. “It’s all about bragging rights.”
Here are the eight most highly anticipated cruise ship features debuting in 2018:
Go Karting among Alaskan Glaciers
Norwegian Bliss, a sister ship to Norwegian Escape, the first Breakaway Plus-class, will be delivered in June, 2018 and will sail roundtrip week-long cruises to Alaska from Seattle. On each cruise there will be a weekly Grand Prix tournament, with cruise passengers racing against each other on a fleet of electric go-karts manufactured by RiMo Germany.
Special eco-friendly speakers in the cars’ accelerators mimic the sound of a real engine for the driver, without creating general noise pollution. So you get a visceral experience without disturbing the peace of Alaska’s glaciers.
This isn’t the first go kart racetrack at sea, of course, Norwegian Joy debuted the first, but the one on Bliss will be 40% larger. Each lap will be 1,000-feet on decks 18 and 19.
Cruise industry’s first underwater lounge
The French luxury cruise line Ponant is following other luxury operators into the high-end expedition cruise sector with its new cruise ship yachts Le Laperouse and Le Champlain, which will be deployed in the Mediterranean and on more remote explorer cruises from June, 2018. They are the first of four new Explorer-class cruise ship yachts being built by the line.
Each is named after a famous French explorer, and appropriately, they will feature a Blue Eye lounge, in which passengers can experience the flight of fancy of a famous French novelist Jules Verne. The underwater lounges, with portholes looking out into the open ocean, are like something out of Verne’s 20’000 Leagues Under the Sea.
These are the world’s first underwater lounges to be built into the hull of a cruise ship. The defining visual feature will be two large, eye-shaped portholes to get passengers up close and personal with marine life in exotic anchorages.
However, the entire room will be designed to bring the outdoors in, with large screens broadcasting live images from three underwater cameras while a hydrophone captures the actual sounds of the ocean. Even the furniture is tricked out to vibrate in sync with the sounds.
Laser tag to the next level at sea
Laser tag has been a thing on cruise ships for a few years now, but it has been restricted to the kids’ games arcades in small and unremarkable ‘arenas’. Not anymore!
Aboard Royal Caribbean’s new 5,535-passenger Symphony of the Seas, debuting in March, 2018, the massive ice skating rink will do double-duty as an indoor, glow-in-the-dark, 16-person laser tag arena, decked out in an intergalactic theme.
Aboard the Norwegian Bliss, meanwhile, a dedicated open-air laser tag course will debut on its 20th (and top) deck, complete with an eerie, abandoned-space-station theme. Expect nighttime bookings for be brisk!
A Magic Carpet ride through the Caribbean
Aboard the 2,908-passenger Celebrity Edge, debuting in the Caribbean in late 2018, one of its deck areas will be unofficially known as The Magic Carpet. The huge section of deck will move up and down the side of the ship like an open-air elevator and will transform into a specialty restaurant, an extension of the pool area, an al fresco cocktail lounge, and a luxury embarkation station for the ship’s sleek tenders.
Family Suite with slide instead of stairs
There’s very little about a standard staircase that could induce you to Instagram about it, but what about a slide within your duplex suite?
Aboard Symphony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean will pack its family duplex suites with unconventional amusements, including a covered slide connecting the two floors, a full-height Lego wall, an air hockey table, and a video-game corner with a popcorn machine.
There’s also a private deck with a whirlpool big enough for the whole family—and 24/7 butler service. In case you’re wondering, there is still a set of stairs if you prefer.
Go deep sea diving during lunch?
The Norwegian cruise line Hurtigruten has teamed up with Silicon Valley’s BluEye Robotics to introduce a diving drone simulator aboard its new 530-passenger cruise ship Roald Amundsen that debuts in Antarctica next October.
The 15-pound diving drones can operate at up to 150 meters and are equipped with four thrusters and a wide-angle video camera adapted for low-light conditions.
All that content gets streamed in real-time to screens around the ship (even to your personal devices), so you can virtually join a pod of whales while sipping a martini, eating lunch or lying in bed.
Helicopters and submarines on a cruise ship
Australian river cruising company Scenic’s first oceangoing vessel has been marketed as a “Discovery Yacht” and the hype seems to be justified as passengers aboard the luxurious, all-suite, 228-passenger Scenic Eclipse will be able to explore their surroundings in the onboard helicopter and submarine.
Debuting in the Mediterranean in August, 2018, Scenic Eclipse will offer aerial tours of Italy’s active volcanoes in its helicopter or the icy Arctic Ocean via private submarine.
Driverless Vans for shore excursions
Royal Caribbean are taking on Google and Uber in the autonomous vehicle race, with a fleet of fully autonomous shuttle vans called Arma, developed in partnership with French company Navya SAS.
The cruise line is planning to launch the vans in “a lot of destinations” to move cruise passengers and crew more efficiently around ports, according to press material.
The first of these vans are currently being tested to carry up to 15 people and are expected to debut in select ports before the end of 2018, our money is on Labadee or CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s two private cruise islands in the Caribbean.
Categories: Cruise Lifestyle