Cruise Trends Part 2: 4 New Ships Hitting the Seas

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You won’t be bored sailing on the new crop of cruise ships. Mega-slides, ropes courses, and sky cycles (bicycles suspended from a track) join rock climbing, basketball, ice skating, bocce, and mini-golf as options for active cruisers on vessels launched in 2015 and 2016. The new ships also feature fresh entertainment options that include IMAX movies, supper clubs, and abridged versions of Broadway shows. Here’s a guide to the action and entertainment.

Norwegian Escape: Debuted October 2015

Entertainment: Comics take to the stage at the Headliner’s Comedy Club. Wine Lover the Musical, hosted in the Supper Club, mixes lunch with wine tasting and comedy. In the evening, the Supper Club hosts medleys of  “coming of age 1980s teen films” such as Sixteen Candles and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Also, stomp your feet to rock hits “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Great Balls of Fire” by seeing the Million Dollar Quartet. Scenes from the Broadway musical “After Midnight” blossom with big-band and jazz songs.

Adventures: Walk the planks that add thrills to the ship’s three-story ropes course. At the Escape’s water park, one of the sea’s largest, race each other on tandem water slides or glide down the family-friendly body slide. Like other NCL ships, the Escape offers bocce, mini-golf, and basketball.

Harmony of the Seas

Harmony of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International: Harmony of the Seas: Debuts May 29

Entertainment: The ship showcases an abridged version of Grease, the popular musical and film. Feel as if you’re in the action at the 3-D movie theater

Adventures: Swirl down a 10-story multi-deck waterslide; play with your kids in the enlarged Splashaway Bay water park. As on some other RCI ships, Harmony features zip lines, carnival games, ice skating rink, a surfing simulator (FlowRider), rock climbing wall, and a basketball court.

Carnival Vista's IMAX

Carnival Vista’s IMAX

Carnival Vista: Debuts May 1

Entertainment: Watch the first IMAX movies at sea as well as take in the 3-D film action at Thrill Theater.

Adventures: Pedal high above the deck on a SkyRide (a bike on suspended by a track) and enjoy the spectacular ocean views. Adults, tweens, and teens can swirl down a 455-foot water raft ride and little kids can splash in the ship’s expanded WaterWorks.

Holland America Koningsdam: Debuts April 8

Entertainment: Stroll Music Walk, an area showcasing a variety of music. At Lincoln Center Stage listen to chamber music; at Billboard, hear rock hits; and at B.B. King’s Blues Club listen to the sounds of Memphis.

Adventures: Holland America has traditionally courted a somewhat older market than the other lines, although that may be changing. Instead of multi-deck waterslides, there’s a pool. In place of the thrill of pedaling sky cycles, get the satisfaction of blending your own wine at Blend and learning new digital techniques at the digital workshops.