Wet and Wonderful Water Parks
To find the best water slides, look to the bigger and newer ships, which have the space and are more likely to have been designed with families in mind. Want to splish—and splash—the day away? Head on over to the Carnival WaterWorks onboard water park. Many of Carnival®’s ships have the enhanced water parks, each of which features, in addition to 300-foot slides, side-to-side racing slides, which competitive kids adore. Carnival®’s Dream℠, Magic℠, and Breeze℠ ships have 312-foot Twister Waterslides and a feature called the Drainpipe that—you guessed it—scoops kids into a funnel-like chute. On Carnival®’s newest ship, WaterWorks is larger than ever—take a cruise on Carnival Vista® and check out the new Kaleid-O-Slide. Then, of course, there are the Disney Cruise Line ships Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, which feature the AquaDuck water coaster raft ride. Disney Magic’s AquaDunk goes a step further, adding a three-story sliding tube that extends off the ship’s side and over the ocean. Royal Caribbean® added its first water slides—the Perfect Storm trio of the Typhoon, Cyclone and Supercell multilevel slides—on Harmony of the Seas® and Liberty of the Seas®. Harmony of the Seas®, the largest cruise ship in the world, will sail the Caribbean beginning in late 2016; Liberty of the Seas® sails from Galveston.
From the Star Chefs Cooking Competition on Celebrity Cruises® sailings to Princess Cruises®, interactive chef’s dinners, cooking classes and culinary demonstrations are now a popular part of cruising. A prime example is Holland America Line’s Culinary Arts Center; created in partnership with Food & Wine magazine, it features guest appearances by some of the country’s top celebrity chefs. If you’re cruising with kids fear not, there is plenty of opportunity for them to get in on the action here; younger kids learn to make delicious dessert treats while tweens and teens can try their hands at a range of gourmet cuisines. At Princess Cruises®’ Discovery at Sea Culinary Academy (featuring DC Cupcakes), adults can pick up the latest techniques to create unique and tasty cupcake designs and kids will have a blast learning cake decorating in the ship’s galley.
There is litany of family-oriented shore excursions now widely available. When cruising with kids your hardest task is sifting through the options to find those most appealing to your kids. In warm-water ports, snorkeling, shark and stingray encounters, and surf lessons are sure to please everyone; ziplines and ATV adventures are popular, too. European destinations feature castle tours and bike rides. And who wouldn’t want to go dogsledding in Alaska? Many cruise lines also offer kid- and teen-only excursions, allowing parents to take advantage of cultural tours and outings that might bore the younger set.