11 Top Deck Cruise Ship Attractions

As the major cruise lines race each other to debut the next big thing, guests get to enjoy a variety of fun attractions that make the cruising experience that much more thrilling and unique. Since there are so many cool top deck cruise ship attractions now, we thought we’d put together this list off 11 of them across five different cruise lines, including what the experience is like, whether they cost extra, and more.

1. Go Karts

Ships: Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Encore, and Norwegian Prima

With the debut of Norwegian Joy in 2017 came the launch of a brand-new cruise ship attraction for Norwegian Cruise Line, and cruise ships as a whole: a go-kart racetrack. These multi-story speedways have been included on every new Norwegian Cruise Line ship since.

It costs $15 for an approximately 10-minute ride, where you’ll be able to reach speeds near 30 miles per hour as you race around the track competing with other riders. An unlimited all-you-can-ride pass for the entire length of the cruise costs $199 per person. Make reservations for the speedway as soon as you can, because spots often fill up quickly.

norwegian cruise line go kart track speedway

2. BOLT Roller Coaster

Ships: Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration

It wasn’t that long ago that most of us couldn’t even fathom the thought of an actual roller coaster on a cruise ship, but not only does it now exist, but it exists on two (soon to be three!) Carnival cruise ships. BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster takes you high above the top decks of Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration, where you’ll be able to control your speed — up to 37 miles per hour. The ride vehicles feature motorcycle-style seating, and can accommodate two guests who ride single-file.

BOLT costs $15 for a two-lap ride around the track. Make reservations for earlier in the cruise if possible, so that if high winds shut it down you’ll have another chance to ride later on.

BOLT roller coaster carnival cruise line

REVIEW: Riding BOLT, The First Roller Coaster on a Cruise Ship

3. AquaDuck/AquaMouse

Ships: Disney Fantasy, Disney Dream, and Disney Wish

Going along with the previous theme is a slightly more splashy, toned-down coaster — Disney Cruise Line’s AquaDuck and AquaMouse “water coasters.”

Unlike most traditional water slides, water coasters feature both ascents and descents, propelled mostly by strong streams of water. Riders sit on big one or two-person inflatable rafts, whooshing through an acrylic slide that features open-air sections and partially opaque or fully transparent tube sections — the ride even goes over the side of the ship!

Disney Dream and Fantasy feature the AquaDuck, which is more of a traditional water ride. On Disney Wish, the line renamed the coaster AquaMouse and upped the ante by adding some dark parts with screens and sound effects that contribute to an original Mickey Mouse shorts storyline for the ride.

aquamouse disney wish water coaster
(Photo courtesy of Disney Cruise Line)

4. RipCord by iFly Skydiving

Ships: Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Spectrum of the Seas, and Odyssey of the Seas

Ever had the urge to go skydiving but know you’d never actually be able to make yourself leap out of the airplane? If so, iFly “indoor skydiving” is for you. iFly actually has land-based locations around the world, but Royal Caribbean is the only cruise line to also feature these fun skydiving simulators on their ships.

To simulate the skydiving experience, you’re put into a transparent wind tunnel where the wind can reach speeds of up to 100 miles per hour for guests (and 150 for the instructors when they show off!) and you are pushed off the ground, thus simulating a free-falling experience. As you “free fall” in a stomach-down position, an instructor will be standing in the tunnel with you to help with your form.

To do the RipCord by iFly experience, you must be at least three years old and weigh less than 230 pounds if less than 6 feet tall, or weigh less than 250 pounds if 6 feet tall or taller. Royal Caribbean staff walk you through watching a safety video, learning hand signals, and suiting up with a flight suit, helmet, and goggles before you head out for the action. Fees of up to $50 may apply on certain voyages or on certain days of your sailing, such as sea days.

ripcord by ifly skydiving simulator anthem of the seas
(Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

5. Laser Tag

Ships: Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Joy, and Norwegian Encore, plus Royal Caribbean’s Independence, Mariner, Navigator, Oasis, Symphony, Voyager, Wonder, Quantum, and Spectrum of the Seas

When Norwegian Cruise Line decided to include laser tag on three of its ships, it went big. Norwegian Bliss, Joy, and Encore each feature their own themed, permanent laser tag arena at the top of the ship. Guests split up into teams and take their respective sides, shooting at opponents while hiding and darting between different debris, columns, and “rooms” in the arena. At the end, you’ll be able to see which team won and also how many people you personally hit. The game lasts 10 minutes and costs $10 per person. You can get an unlimited pass for the entire cruise for $199.

The Royal Caribbean ships listed above also offer laser tag, but it isn’t in a permanent arena and it isn’t outdoors on the top deck. On Independence, Mariner, Navigator, Oasis, Symphony, Voyager, and Wonder of the Seas, laser tag is played in Studio B, which is the ice skating rink. (Don’t worry, they cover the ice!) On Quantum and Spectrum of the Seas, you’ll find laser tag in the multi-use indoor recreation area called SeaPlex.

The “storyline” for the laser tag experience on Oasis, Wonder, and Quantum of the Seas is called Clash for the Crystal City. Royal Caribbean’s website description says “The sun burned out eons ago, and Earth has become an unlivable frozen wasteland for all but two clans — Yetis and Snowshifters. But after millennia without light, even they find themselves on the brink of extinction. Unless one clan can take control in the latest glow-in-the-dark laser tag faceoff.”

The storyline on the other ships is called Battle For Planet Z. The description says “Two forces clash in a glow-in-the-dark laser tag faceoff for control of the last planet for light years around. Will your team claim it? Take aim and find out in Battle for Planet Z.”

Laser tag on Royal Caribbean is included in the cost of the cruise. Each game is 15 minutes long.

laser tag norwegian cruise line

6. SkyRide

Ships: Carnival Vista, Carnival Horizon, and Carnival Panorama

Combine a bicycle, a ski lift, and a roller coaster and you’ve got a decent idea of what Carnival Cruise Line’s SkyRide cruise ship attraction is. Here’s how it works: you get into a little ride vehicle that’s suspended on a track high above the top deck, which has pedals like a bicycle. You then pedal as though you really are riding a bike to power yourself around the track, which goes around the SportSquare area and the ship’s funnel. Some parts will have more of a downward slope so you get going a bit faster and give your legs a bit of a break! Each vehicle can only hold one person, but there are two tracks next to each other so you can ride alongside a friend or family member. SkyRide is included in the cruise fare.

carnival vista skyride cruise ship

7. North Star

Ships: Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Spectrum of the Seas, and Odyssey of the Seas

Holding the record for “highest viewing deck on a cruise ship” from the Guinness Book of World Records, the North Star is one of the cruise ship attractions you won’t want to miss if you love unique vantage points and panoramic views. The North Star is a glass-enclosed observation capsule that’s attached to a mechanical arm on the upper deck of each of Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class ships. Passengers load in and are lifted high above the ship for 360 degree views of the scenery — plus a unique look at the ship from above! Depending on the itinerary and day, there may be a $30 charge per person to take a ride up in the North Star. Typically, the attraction is free while the ship is docked in port and incurs the fee during sea days.

anthem of the seas north star
(Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

8. ROBOTRON

Ship: MSC Seascape

Continuing the theme of an robotic arm-type of attraction, we have MSC Cruises’ newest top-deck innovation, ROBOTRON. This ride swings three people around and upside down to the beat of various songs, set against the backdrop of an LED screen and complete with ocean and pool deck views below.

Each ride is three minutes long, and you choose between three intensity levels. Try to ride earlier in the cruise, because ROBOTRON will not operate if it’s too windy out and you don’t want to wait until the end of the voyage and then realize it’s shut down because of weather. ROBOTRON costs $11 per person.

robotron msc seascape ride

RELATED: My 7 First Impressions of MSC’s Newest U.S.-Based Ship, MSC Seascape

9. Zip Line

Ships: Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas, Wonder of the Seas, MSC Seaside, and MSC Seaview

Zip lining is fun no matter where you do it, but it’s certainly a unique experience to fly through the air above the decks of a cruise ship. On Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships, the zip line is located on the top deck high above the Boardwalk neighborhood, which is where the carousel, Johnny Rockets, and the AquaTheater are located. It’s also lined with inward-facing balcony staterooms, so some guests may be people-watching from their cabins as you zip across! Zip lining is included in the cruise fare and no reservation is required.

MSC Cruises’ first two Seaside-class ships feature dual racing zip lines that soar over the main pool deck and through a series of metal rings. They currently hold the record as being the longest zip lines at sea at 345 feet (Seaside) and 426 feet (Seaview). No reservations are required. Each ride costs $10 per person.

symphony of the seas zip line
(Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

10. FlowRider

Ships: Adventure, Allure, Anthem, Explorer, Freedom, Harmony, Independence, Liberty, Mariner, Navigator, Oasis, Odyssey, Ovation, Quantum, Voyager, Spectrum, Symphony, and Wonder of the Seas

Arguably one of the most iconic top-deck cruise ship attractions are the FlowRiders on Royal Caribbean. Like iFly indoor skydiving, these surfing simulators can also be found on land — but they’ve also been a popular fixture on RCI ships for over 15 years now.

The simulator has a curved, wedge-shape with a continuous stream of water running over it, which simulates the shape of a wave and the water flowing underneath you. You can choose between boogie boarding or stand-up surfing, depending on your skill level and confidence. Crew members are on hand to help newbies get their footing.

The FlowRider is free and reservations are recommended. If you want to participate in group lessons to sharpen your skills or rent out time on the FlowRider just for you and your traveling companions, you can do so for a fee.

royal caribbean flowrider surfing simulator

11. SkyPad

Ships: Mariner of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, Spectrum of the Seas, and Odyssey of the Seas

Mix a bungee trampoline with virtual reality and what do you get? Royal Caribbean’s SkyPad experience. Strap into your harness in the ship’s big yellow sphere and don the VR headset, because you’re about to be in a different world entirely. There are three virtual landscape options to choose from, all of which put you inside a video game of sorts where you can do things like bounce onto platforms or shoot aliens.

Those who may get easily nauseous or don’t like virtual reality can opt to enjoy the bungee trampoline without the VR aspect. The best part? SkyPad is completely free.

skypad bungee trampoline royal caribbean
(Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

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