Forget lounging by the pool with a sleepy novel as you drift from port to port. Cruise ships today are working hard to outdo each other when it comes to thrills. Here are the latest on-board attractions that pack a serious adrenaline rush.Elevated Views
Quantum of the Seas boasts another first -- skydiving at sea, also complimentary. Don’t worry, you won’t actually have to jump from a plane. Just head to the ship’s two-story, vertical wind tunnel to experience what skydivers feel as they soar with the birds. Since the wind tunnel is made of glass, you might actually get to see the birds as they fly by.
Ropes Courses & Ziplines
Several cruise ships have at-sea rope courses -- like Carnival Magic's Skycourse -- but only one encourages you to “walk the plank.” In addition to a zipline, Norwegian Breakaway’s 40-element rope course includes an eight-foot platform that allows you to step out, tethered, over the water.
Surf & Waves
Want to catch a wave? Hop onto FlowRider, a 40-foot-long surf simulator on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom- and Oasis-class ships as well as Quantum of the Seas. Newbies can take group ($60) or private ($300) lessons while experienced surfers and body boarders can show off their skills with approved tricks such as the layback, boogie shuvit, and show pony.
Carnival Magic lays claim to the largest water park at sea, WaterWorks, but it doesn't stop there. The Norwegian Breakaway has five multi-story water slides -- including side-by-side free fall slides that drop the floor out from underneath you.
Bonus: If it's getting submerged that gives you a thrill, you don't even need to disembark for that experience on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. Both ships offer instructor-accompanied dives at the pool ($29.95) and even PADI scuba certification ($249) in their 18-foot-deep AquaTheaters.