15 Wildest Cruise Ship Activities (Would You Try a Sky Ride?)

Cruise lines want you to be entertained and will stop at nothing to make it happen.

Carnival cruise line celebration ship
Updated May 28, 2024
Fact checked

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

If you’re not hip to cruising or thought it was all about the buffet, let us steer you straight. For one, you can ride a rollercoaster on a cruise ship — yes, really! Thank you, Carnival.

What other wild things can you do on these oceanlining juggernauts to step up your travel game with more amenities and activities every year? Let’s take a look.

If you’re over 50, take advantage of massive travel discounts and trip-planning resources

Over 50 and love traveling? Join AARP today — because if you’re not a member, you could be missing out on huge travel perks. When you start your membership today, you can get discounts on hotels and resorts, airfare, cruises, car rentals, and more.

How to become a member today:

  • Go here, select your free gift, and click “Join Today”
  • Create your account (important!) by answering a few simple questions
  • Start enjoying your discounts and perks!

An AARP membership not only unlocks discounts that could save you hundreds on your next trip, but you’ll also have access to deals on vacation packages, guided tours, and exclusive content to help plan your next getaway.

Important: Start your membership by creating an account here and filling in all of the information (do not skip this step!). Doing so will allow you to take up to 25% off your AARP membership, making it just $12 per year with auto-renewal.

Become an AARP member now

Attempt a surf simulator

Matthew Latham/Wirestock/Adobe man-riding-the-wave-machine

Curious about surfing but don’t want to try it in the open ocean? Hop on the FlowRider, Royal Caribbean’s surf simulator.

At 40 feet in length and gushing with 30,000 gallons of water, you can surf in front of an audience — who (hopefully) won’t tease you too much if you wipe out!

Do a ropes course

Jon/Adobe rope course on cruise ship

Norwegian Cruise Lines has the biggest onboard ropes course out there; with multiple levels and 40 different elements, you’re bound to have a blast with your pals.

You’ll also find ropes courses high up on some Carnival cruises, so if you love heights, go for it.

Drive a go-kart

sherryvsmith/Adobe the speedway on board

Who doesn’t love go-kart racing, especially when you have sprawling ocean views from your vehicle? Norwegian has the first and largest race track at sea, available on two of its ships.

You can go up to 30 mph on these tracks, so your adrenaline will really get pumping.

Earn a $250 travel bonus with this incredible card

There's a credit card that's making waves with its amazing bonus and benefits. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card has no annual fee and you can earn 25,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

You can earn additional points just by using this card for your everyday purchases — unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases. The 25,000 bonus points can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel or dining purchases.

If you want to travel and dine out more, the Travel Rewards card can help you get where you want to go.

The best part? There's no annual fee.

Click here to apply now.

Enjoy Central Park

Phuong/Adobe spectrum of the sea cruise

On Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships, there’s a miniature Central Park filled with restaurants and shops serving the same energy you’ll find in the Big Apple. Don’t miss the levitating bar!

There’s abundant greenery in the park, too — to the tune of 10,000 kinds of flowers and plants.

Go ice skating

NAN/Adobe luxury cruise ship sailing

Only on a cruise ship can you enjoy a port in the Caribbean by day, then return to your ship to go ice skating. Royal Caribbean makes it possible for adults and kids alike.

If you’d prefer to watch, you can also take in one of the ice shows with professional skaters.

Go ziplining

PixieMe/Adobe vacation on cruise ship

Adrenaline junkies, this one’s for you: Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas and Allure of the Seas both have a zipline for a prime flying adventure.

The 82-foot zipline zooms over nine decks below the sports deck where it’s located — not for the faint of heart! FYI, they give you a helmet.

Race a car

Mariusz Blach/Adobe luxury cruise ship leaving port

OK, it’s a simulator, but it sure feels like the real thing! On nine MSC Cruises ships, there’s an F1 simulator with all of the bells and whistles.

The racetrack is projected onto your windshield once you’re seated behind the wheel. Actual driver’s licenses are not required.

Ride a magic carpet

Silverpics/Adobe celebrity edge cruise ship anchored

The Magic Carpet is a floating platform on Celebrity Edge that sits away from the ship and over the sea. It has a full bar, restaurant, and space for performers on the top deck.

As it moves down, it adapts to become part of the experience on each deck, such as a pool area.

Play laser tag

Debbie Ann Powell/Adobe laser tag interactive game onboard

There’s a full-on laser tag arena on some ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet; Battle for Planet Z allows participants to join forces with robots or an alien scouting party. It’s all glow-in-the-dark, too.

Norwegian Cruise Lines also has augmented reality laser tag as an activity.

Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account

Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!1

With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.

Apply for a Discover Cashback Checking account today

See a movie in 4D

radko68/Adobe gigantic cruise ship leaving venice

We’ve heard of 3D and IMAX, but several cruise lines have 4D movie theater experiences. Strap yourself in and put on your 3D glasses because it’s an adventure.

Your seat moves, visuals come right at you, and yes, even smells are wafted into the space.

Stargaze in a planetarium

Yellow Boat/Adobe aerial view above luxury cruise

That’s right — there’s a luxury 3D planetarium on a cruise ship — Cunard’s Queen Mary II. Up to four showings daily of science and astronomy programming are available at sea.

When the dome is down, the planetarium doubles as a classical music space where live musicians perform.

Take a sky ride

Masyanya/Adobe cruise liner

Fancy peddling a suspended bicycle 150 feet over the ocean below? You can do just that on the Sky Ride on some Carnival cruise ships.

You’ll peddle around the top of the ship while taking in gorgeous views of the ship, sea, and port of call below.

Try skydiving simulators

Delphotostock/Adobe free fall simulator

Feel like you've leaped out of a plane on Royal Caribbean's Quantum-class ships in its skydiving simulator. An instructor will guide you as you fly high in a glass-encased tunnel.

Once you're in place, the air will whoosh up around you, sending you into a float. And yes, kids can try it, too!

Visit an ice bar

Kirk Fisher/Adobe colorful drink with pineapple

Leave it to Norwegian Cruise Lines to have an actual ice bar on its ship, the Breakaway. In true Scandinavian fashion, the seats, bar, and even the glasses are all made of ice.

Temps are a chilly 17 degrees Fahrenheit, so you may want to bundle up before stopping in for a cocktail.

Zoom down a 10-deck slide

Debbie Ann Powell/Adobe joy cruise ship

Most people know cruise ships have crazy waterslides, but Royal Caribbean has a dry slide that drops a whopping 10 decks and 100 feet: the Ultimate Abyss.

The tallest slide on any cruise ship takes you down into the darkness at up to 9 mph. What a ride!

Bottom line

Solarisys/Adobe the carnival cruise ship

There’s nothing wrong with taking a cruise and spending your time relaxing, dining, drinking, and exploring ports of call. However, some folks want onboard adventures, and these activities deliver.

When you’re ready to plan your next vacation at sea, grab your top travel rewards credit card and snag that spot on your vessel of choice. Bon voyage!

Easy-to-Earn Unlimited Rewards


Card Details

  • Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
  • Longer intro APR on qualifying purchases and balance transfers
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Apply Now
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire as long as your account remains open.
  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 19.24% - 29.24% will apply. A 3% Intro balance transfer fee will apply for the first 60 days your account is open. After the Intro balance transfer fee offer ends, the fee for future balance transfers is 4%.
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards® member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.
Bank of <span class='whitespace-nowrap'>America<sup>®</sup></span> Travel Rewards credit card
Apply Now

on Bank of America’s secure website

Read Card Review

Intro Offer

Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases

Annual Fee



Why we like it

Author Details

Cat Lafuente

Cat Lafuente is a Florida-based writer and editor with extensive experience in digital and print content spaces. Her own personal finance journey — particularly consolidating debt and paying it off, in turn boosting her credit score and becoming a homeowner — inspired her to join the FinanceBuzz team; she hopes she can help others do the same.