It used to be, you sailed the high seas. But with cruise ships offering more leisure-pool amenities, you can also surf it.
Along with surf machines, water slides, spraypads, play features, surfing rides and other leisure-pool amenities are popping up on board. But to achieve the family atmosphere without the headache, ships also are offering private spots for adults, teens and kids only.
When Royal Caribbean International?s Freedom of the Seas makes its maiden voyage in June, guests can surf or boogie board.
In addition to its surf park, Royal Caribbean is introducing the ?H20 Zone,? a family wading pool with spray cannons, jets, gushers and colorful sculptures that spray water. Guests can also float around a lazy river circling a central island. The ship?s youngest voyagers can play in a wading pool fed by a flamingo-shaped fountain. And for adults only without a fear of heights, two large hot tubs cantilever out 12 feet from the sides of the ship, suspended 112 feet above the ocean for breathtaking views and relaxation.
The cruise line?s Enchantment of the Seas ships will feature an interactive touch-pad Splash Deck, with 64 water jets. At night, the deck transforms into a fountain-and-fiberoptic light show. In addition, its pool deck juts out over the ocean, with floor windows that look down on undulating waves.
Other cruise lines are offering their own take on leisure pools. On Disney Cruise Line, kids can slide past Mickey?s giant gloved hand and splash down into Mickey?s face. The ears are shallower wading pools designed for smaller children. A fountain play area with popping jets is a special treat for little ones who wear swim diapers. And a huge jumbo screen featuring Disney films can be viewed from the swimming pool, added Christi Erwin, spokesperson for Disney Cruise Line. ?It adds entertainment value,? she said.
For teenagers, Holland America Line Inc. offers ?The Oasis,? a private area for teens only aboard the Ryndam and Zaandam. The Oasis features a 9-foot-high waterfall and cave for cooling off, surrounded by a lounging sundeck.
Carnival Cruise Lines takes the fun in ?Fun ship? to new levels. Already, its corkscrew slide is a trademark. Its newest ship, Carnival Liberty, takes to European waters and features a splash pool for youngsters. Norwegian Cruise Line?s Norwegian Star also features two water slides and four whirlpools as part of its main pool area, all visible from the Beer Garden.
While these features add more activities to the already-filled itineraries on Lido deck, they also draw families back to the cruise ship, say industry experts.
?The cruise industry needed families because they were starting to be seen as old people?s trips,? said Judith Leblein Josephs, operations manager at Water Technology, Inc. based in Beaver Dam, Wis. ?Now they?re appealing to fitness, exercise, adventure and nature [lovers].?
Jeff Coy agreed. ?It?s the next logical progression from operating your pool to look more like a waterpark,? explained the president of JLC Hospitality Consulting Inc. in Cave Creek, Ariz. ?Whether it?s a pool in a hotel or on a cruise ship, everybody?s ? trying to enhance. It?s just the next logical step that a cruise ship with a pool would start to do this sort of thing.?