The Best Cruise Ships for Thrill Seekers

Cruise vacations are known as a wonderful value and experience in part because of all the places you can visit while traveling in the majestic oceans and waterways throughout the world. And some of the most exciting cruise ships are awesome destinations themselves, providing a great variety of activities to enjoy alongside the exploration of food, history and cultures that fills up your cruise itinerary.

Calling All Thrill Seekers

In fact, some cruisers often consider their time on the ship as the best part of their vacation, especially those who seek out fun rides and adventures that can be found on some of today’s modern megaships.

If you like to add a little extra excitement to your cruise, in the form of heart-pumping action, check out our picks for the best cruise ships for thrills.

Perfect Storm water slides on Symphony of the <a href=

Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas

Like its fellow Oasis-class ships, Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas is packed with adventure. The ship debuted in 2017 as the latest “largest cruise ship in the world,” and it added even more thrills.

Symphony of the Seas features Royal Caribbean standards such as the FlowRider surfing simulator, rock-climbing wall and ice-skating rink. The ship also has a laser-tag arena, zip-line course, Perfect Storm (a twisty water slide attraction), an escape room adventure and the Ultimate Abyss super-fast dry slide that plunges passengers down to Deck 6 from Deck 16.

It’s obvious that cruisers can find plenty of exciting stuff to fill their days onboard Symphony of the Seas.

Go-kart track on Norwegian Bliss
Unleash your inner racer on the go-kart track on Norwegian Bliss.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Bliss

Cruise CompeteThis is the ship that brought go-kart racing to the high seas. Norwegian Bliss has two-deck-high go-cart track, and drivers can zip around the course at speeds of up to 30 mph while competing with fellow passengers amid stunning scenery at the top of the ship. (Keep your eyes on the road, though!)

Norwegian Bliss, a 4,000-passenger ship, also offers thrilling activities such as a laser-tag course on the top deck. The large facility resembles an abandoned alien space station and immerses participants into a fun game of “tag or be tagged.”

The ship also has two water slides, the fun tandem tube slide called Aqua Racer and the heart-pounding Ocean Loops drop slide. Ocean Loops is a thrill unlike anything you have tried at sea. You stand on a trap door and await your launch. Suddenly, you are dropped vertically into a clear tunnel, and off you go on speedy and twisting watery ride that also sends you over the edge of the ship (you can see all the views, and your fellow cruisers can see you, too, as you rocket through your hamster tube).

SkyRide on Carnival Horizon
SkyRide is a cool activity with amazing views right in the heart of the action on Carnival Horizon.

Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Horizon

Carnival has always put an emphasis on fun, and Carnival Horizon pushes that concept to the next level with a well-designed top-of-ship space that gives cruisers endless options for thrilling entertainment and activity.

The Doctor Seuss WaterWorks aqua park is a blast for kids of all ages and offers a perfect for families to splash around together warm days in the Caribbean. It has a water slide, tube slide, splash and drench zones and spray toys.

Thrill-seekers will love the SkyRide and SkyCourse. These attractions are integrated into the same space and offer the most stunning views when you have pleasant blue-sky days. The SkyRide’s side-by-side pedal-powered capsules hang from rails that trace the outside lines of the ship. So, riders can race each other or simply enjoy a leisurely ride around the top of the ship while surrounded by the spectacular views of the sea, cruise ship and port areas.

The SkyCourse is a challenging ropes course. You walk across narrow beams, rope lines and other creative spans while harnessed to a support rail. Tentative about heights? This will definitely get the heart racing.

Additionally, the nearby SportSquare is a colorful play space for adults and kids, with about a dozen games/sports available. Try Ping-Pong, Twister, mini-golf, PolyPong, foosball, giant billiards and shuffleboard.

Rip Cord by iFly on Anthem of the Seas
You can ride the wind on Anthem of the Seas in the ship’s skydiving simulator.

Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas

While most Royal Caribbean ships offer several adventurous onboard activities (see Symphony of the Seas, above), Anthem of the Seas also can send you skyward with its RipCord by iFly skydiving simulator.

The skydiving experience places you inside a 10-feet diameter and 23-feet tall wind tunnel and lets you ride the blasts of wind thrusting up from the floor.

Anthem of the Seas also features the SeaPlex facility, where you can participate in trapeze school, zoom around in bumper cars or spend the day roller skating. But there is much more: the ship has a climbing wall, FlowRider surfing simulator and H2O Zone kids water park.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway

The ships feature numerous outdoor activities that will have you screaming, splashing and even shaking. Try the largest ropes course complex at sea, which has more than three dozen challenging elements – including a zip line — to conquer as you make your way around the multi-level structure. The most-exciting piece of this course is the “walk the plank” feature that takes you a few feet over the edge of the ship on a skinny beam. (Photo op: Smile, you’re on camera.)

The ships also have the fastest water slides at sea as part of their invigorating Aqua Park facilities. These parks have five water slides to try, including a Free Fall slide.

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John Roberts
John Roberts
John Roberts is a freelance travel writer and operator of His writing aims to help travelers find the best ways to explore destinations in a fun, fit and adventurous way.

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