From shuffleboard to rollercoasters, cruise ship attractions have come a long way since the dawn of cruising. With wildly innovative ships setting sail each year, cruise lines now provide an experience on par with their land-based competitors, offering a variety of attractions for all ages. This has become increasingly important for passengers seeking vacations to entertain all ages following the recent rise in multi-generational family cruising. In this article, we will be diving into the newest, most hair-raising and spine-tingling cruise attractions on the seas. Read on for our top six of the most thrilling upcoming attractions at sea.

Glide above the water

2024 is set to be a substantial year for industry firsts in cruise ship attractions. Kicking off the innovations is the first rollglider at sea, launching on Sun Princess. This cutting-edge cruise attraction combines a rollercoaster with a glider, inviting guests to enjoy stunning panoramic views in a thrilling new way. As the cruise line’s biggest ship yet, Sun Princess is set to introduce many inspired designs including the Princess Arena, Spellbound, and its innovative rollglider, Sea Breeze. Guests embarking on Sea Breeze will be safely harnessed to an electric rollglider which can reach speeds of up to 11 mph via an overhead track spanning the ship’s top deck. This allows them to enjoy the ship’s surrounding views throughout the 90 second ride. This ride is also ADA-accessible, allowing it to be enjoyed by many.

Sea Breeze will be the main star of Park19, a new top-deck family activity zone debuting on Sun Princess. This space designed for multi-generational cruising families spans decks 19, 20 and 21.

 “Park19 as the name suggests is a new space created for all our guests, including activities to bring together multi-generational travel families in a location with spectacular views and fun outdoor activities for all.”

John Padgett – President, Princess Cruises

Splashing onto the scene

Royal Caribbean’s ships, dubbed floating cities, offer cruises for multigenerational families with different zones and neighbourhoods designed to suit all passenger demographics. When she set sail, Icon of the Seas debuted the largest waterpark at sea. Located in the ship’s Thrill Island neighbourhood, which was designed to feel like a shipwrecked island, this stimulating waterpark features six record-breaking waterslides and is the largest at sea. And would you expect any less from the world’s largest ship title holder?

Water, speed, and height were the three focal points of the waterpark’s design. At Icon of the Seas’ exhilarating new waterpark, guests can test their courage on Frightening Bolt, the tallest waterslide to sail, or experience the adrenaline-rushing Pressure Drop, the first open freefall waterslide on a cruise.

Off the rails

Orient Express will be heading off the tracks and onto the ocean in 2026 with Orient Express Silenseas. However, this won’t be the only rail-based cruise experience making waves when Royal Railway debuts. Embarking on Utopia of the Seas in 2024, this immersive new dining experience is designed to resemble the inside of a train carriage, allowing passengers to enjoy a railroad adventure, even whilst at sea.

Utopia Station’s Royal Railway brings two 24-seat dining train cars on board the sleek yacht-like cruise ship. The cars will be decorated and furnished with pieces from real railway cars, creating an opulent interior inspired by the golden age of rail travel. Following the train’s “departure”, passengers will be enthralled in an experience that combines adventure, food, technology and travel across time and locations using LED screens in the windows. Technology will combine with real life actors playing out storylines to engage all the senses. Passengers will be guided through their meal with one of two immersive stories, including an epicurean adventure that transports them to any place — or time —from America’s sweeping Wild West to far-off destinations across the globe.

Mouse mishaps

The thrills continue with the updated AquaMouse water coaster adventure on board Disney Treasure, hitting the waters in December 2024. When it debuted on Disney Wish in 2022, AquaMouse was the cruise line’s first attraction at sea. Whilst passengers enjoy the thrilling high-speed, 760-foot splashtacular water coaster, they can also delve into in the world of Mickey Mouse through a series of animated shorts displayed on screens around the ride. On Disney Wish, the story followed Mickey and Minnie as they start their very own seaside excursion company, Port Misadventures, on board Disney Wish.

On Disney Treasure, the fun continues as AquaMouse will unveil a brand-new story for passengers to experience. This all-new adventure follows Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse on a zany excursion into an ancient temple. Suspended high above the upper decks, powerful jets will propel two-person ride vehicles through 760 feet of winding tubes, offering breathtaking views of the ocean and the ship below.

Deep-sea explorations

Guests can indulge their inquisitive side and dive into the mythical depths of uncharted oceans on board Disney Treasure. Periscope Pub will get passengers closer to the water than ever before as they can (virtually) voyage through the deep abyss. Serving as Disney Cruise Line’s first venue inspired by the spellbinding adventure of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, the submarine-styled interiors will give guests a look at the watery world below through an intriguing glass ceiling.

Wild water races

This is one for the thrillseekers. Wiegand.waterrides and Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) have united to bring the world’s first hybrid rollercoaster and waterslide, the Aqua Slidecoaster, to sea on Norwegian Aqua. Exhilarating dual slides and a magnetic launch will propel adventurous guests through two different courses. The ride’s magnetic launch will be capable of reaching speeds of up to 50 km/h and up to 0.8G acceleration. This NCL exclusive experience will feature three stories of exciting twists and turns around the ship’s funnel.

The ride’s launch mechanism features contactless linear synchronous motor technology, which is also used in major accelerated roller coasters. This launches the boats on each of the two waterslides simultaneously. With two 2-person rafts, the SlideCoaster provides the opportune moment for passengers to indulge their competitive spirit and race other guests!

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