It used to be, you sailed the high seas. But with cruise
ships offering more leisure-pool amenities, you can also
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