Cruise Lifestyle

5 of the coolest at-sea cruise ship attractions

There are two primary reasons to book a cruise vacation: to relax, and to see a number of destinations in one trip.



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A cruise easily provides opportunities for both, and in doing so allows passengers to enjoy a vacation of almost any style they’d like: emphasizing either time on the ship, time on shore excursions, or a combination of both.

Aside from pure relaxation, one thing that makes these ships so much fun is that they tend to offer a lot of activities.

Some of these are fairly standard. A majority of cruise ships have casinos, arcades, live shows, ping-pong, vast pool areas and a plethora of eateries and bars. But some ships have some more unique attractions, and we’ve rounded up five of the best.

SkyRide (Carnival Vista)

This is arguably the most unique attraction you’ll find on a cruise ship, and makes for an extremely original experience.

It’s a chance to climb up an almost roller coaster-like contraption on the deck of the Carnival Vista and climb into a bicycle-like compartment; you then pedal your way around an 800-foot track and soak in the incredible views.

Carnival Vista SkyRide

That includes both activity on the ship and the sights off of it.

You’re simply pedaling through the sky above the deck as others go about their business laying on sun loungers, jumping in the pool, or drinking at the pool bar, and at certain points along the track you venture out almost over the water on the side of the ship.

Really, not many on board attractions amount to reasons to book a particular ship, but this one comes close.

Racetrack (Norwegian Bliss)

Norwegian Bliss is one of Norwegian Cruise Line’s newer ships, and features one of the most interesting types of on board entertainment anywhere: a full-fledged racetrack with go carts.

This is the sort of thing that can really appeal to just about everyone on the ship. Young passengers will love the thrill of driving, and older passengers will get into the spirit of competition.


Indeed, competitively the attraction suits the summer and fall cruise seasons pretty well, as the Formula 1 calendar presents some of the world’s biggest races throughout these seasons.

Any of the millions of fans of this kind of professional racing might just get swept up in the idea of trying some auto racing of their own, all while on the top deck of a big, beautiful cruise ship.

Rock Climbing (Jewel Of The Seas)

Rock climbing isn’t unique to one ship, but we’re focusing on Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas here as she’s cruising her maiden Middle East season out of Dubai in 2019.


The rock wall on this ship is quite something. It’s a large outdoor wall that sticks up high enough to offer incredible views of the surrounding seas, or indeed Dubai Cruise Terminal if you do it during a port day.

The only drawback is that not too many people can be on the wall at the same time, but it happens to be in close proximity to other recreational options like a basketball court and a waterslide.

Professional Golf Simulator (Dawn Princess)

In terms of first appearances, this is the simplest attraction on the list. But it might also be the most popular.

And just like the racetrack on the Norwegian Joy, this and other ship golf simulators can benefit from interest in the professional sport. During the summer and fall when a lot of people are booking cruises there are several major golf tournaments.


The U.S. Open is held every year in June and The Open Championship is in July. This year, the Ryder Cup will follow in September. While luxury lines like Hapag-Lloyd and Silversea are known for their golf-themed cruises around these events, Princess Cruises makes it more accessible.

That’s an entire summer’s worth of pro tournaments to get countless cruise passengers in the mood for golf, which makes the simulator on the Dawn Princess a ton of fun.

While some other ships have more limited sims, this one captures 18 different real courses around the world, making for virtually endless fun if that’s how you want to spend your time on board.

Ropes Course (Norwegian Breakaway)

Like Royal Caribbean’s Jewel Of The Seas rock wall, and the SkyRide on Carnival Vista, the ropes course on the Norwegian Breakaway takes you up into the air over the top deck, such that you can see quite a bit around you, and even feel like you’re suspended out over the water.


It’s not a massive course, but the fact that it’s out over the side of the deck over the water makes it that much more thrilling.

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