The Coolest Cruise Ship Amenities on the High Seas

All hands on deck (and below) for race cars, bionic bartenders, crazy-fun slides and more of the best cruise ship amenities on the seas.

Photo By: Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Lines

Photo By: Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Lines

Photo By: Roger Paperno/Paul Gauguin Cruises

Photo By: Royal Caribbean International

Photo By: Cunard Line

Photo By: Lynn Coulter

Photo By: Royal Caribbean International

Photo By: Eric Laignel/Viking CC

Photo By: Norwegian Cruise Line

Photo By: Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise LIne

Dr. Seuss Slides

Go on, take the plunge. The new Carnival Horizon offers the first-ever Dr. Seuss WaterWorks at sea. The Fun Things slide, named for Seuss' blue-haired mischief-makers, Thing 1 and Thing 2, is an enclosed body slide that carries riders 213 feet before dropping them into a splash zone.

Dr. Seuss Waterworks

The Horizon's Dr. Seuss WaterWorks also features The Cat in the Hat water slide, a twisting, 450-foot-long tunnel designed with red-and-white stripes, just like the fictional feline's hat. There's more to explore, including water spray toys and a huge bucket that periodically tips over, spilling 150 gallons of water into the pool below. Be sure to snap some pics beside The Cat in the Hat and Grinch figures on the deck. The life ring in the Cat's hand makes a fun frame for kids' faces.

Watersports Marina

Looking for an intimate cruise? The Paul Gauguin holds no more than 332 passengers as it sails through French Polynesia and the South Pacific. Built to navigate shallow waters, the ship can enter ports that bigger ships can’t access, and a specially designed marina serves as a watersports platform to let passengers exit from the sea-level deck directly onto paddleboards and kayaks. Equipment is free to borrow.

Bionic Bar

Robots literally mix things up onboard several Royal Caribbean cruise ships. On Anthem of the Seas, a pair named "Shaken" and "Stirred" engineer the cocktails while "Mix" and "Mingle" prepare libations on Harmony of the Seas. These bionic bartenders muddle, strain and pour up to two drinks per minute from hundreds of bottles suspended upside down. Passengers use tablets to order and watch digital boards to know when their drinks are ready. And yes, your bionic bar bill will include a tip.

The Planetarium

After you've star-gazed from the deck of Cunard's Queen Mary 2, head below decks to the planetarium in the ship’s Illuminations Theater. It’s the only planetarium at sea, projecting the images of heavenly bodies onto a large, curved dome to give viewers a three-dimensional view. The dome descends over about 150 seats in the 500-seat theater, so space for the planetarium shows is limited.

Guy Fieri's Pig and Anchor

Fun in the sun works up an appetite. Chow down on smoked brisket, dry-rub chicken, cedar-smoked salmon and more at Guy Fieri’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse | Brewhouse on the Carnival Horizon. Ask for a brewery tour, where four new Parched Pig beers are crafted. The eatery is the first at sea for Chef Fieri, the host of Food Networks’ popular show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

The Ultimate Abyss

What lies beyond the jaws of the monster fish aboard Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas? After you enter, grab a mat and sit down, you'll spiral through one of his two 216-foot-long "throats" (they're actually dry slides) as lights flash and strange sounds echo. Starting at 150 feet above sea level, this attraction, the Ultimate Abyss, is currently the tallest ride at sea—and maybe the scariest, as you plummet down 10 stories.

Snow Grotto

Make like a Viking in the LivNordic Spa aboard the cruise ship Viking Sea. The spa features a thermal room where passengers can alternate between Scandinavian-inspired hot and cold therapies. After popping into a sauna, hot tub or heated saltwater pool, you can chill out in the Snow Grotto, where temperatures are kept below freezing and real snowflakes drift down from the ceiling. If you’d rather, opt for the heated loungers, a therapeutic shower or a bracing "bucket dump" of cold water over your brave self.

Racetrack

Indulge your need for speed and race up to 30 mph on the top deck of Norwegian’s billion-dollar cruise ship Bliss. Passengers steer electric cars around hairpin turns on this two-level, 1,000-foot-long track, the longest one at sea. Beginners to advanced drivers can choose from four-speed settings or use a special "turbo boost" on each lap. Although the electric cars are quiet, you won’t miss that satisfying vroom when you rev up; you’ll hear a sound effect piped through the speakers in the car’s headrest.

SkyRide and SportSquare

Race to the finish line on Carnival Horizon’s new SkyRide, a two-lane bike track suspended high above the top deck; while you pedal, you'll also get spectacular views of the ship and surrounding sea. The ride is part of the ship’s SportSquare exercise and recreation area, which includes a ropes course that takes you 150 feet into the air; a 9-hole miniature golf course; a lighted half-course for playing volleyball or basketball and more. Rather stay out of the sun? Try mini-bowling or chalk up a cue stick for a game of pool.

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