5 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do On A Cruise: Skydiving Simulator, Indoor Planetarium, And More

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Images: Royal Caribbean Cruises

Forget the sofas, double beds, and walk-in showers of first class seats on planes. The most luxurious and comfortable way to travel isn’t by air, but by sea; it isn’t about getting a seat, but a full suite.

That’s right—we’re talking about luxury cruises. Where else can you get a two-storey family suite with an in-room slide and private cinema? Or twist and turn down 3-storey waterslides, ride out 12-metre long surf simulators, and sail the high seas 90m above them?

If you have the luxury of both money and time, you might want to consider cruising to your next travel destination. Here are 5 activities and in-suite luxuries you probably didn’t know you could enjoy on a cruise, and how much these experiences will cost you.

Contents:

  1. Book a 2-storey family suite with in-suite private slide, cinema, game room, and jacuzzi
  2. See the high seas 90m high above them
  3. Space out in an indoor planetarium
  4. Go skydiving…at sea?
  5. Surf and slide—12m surf simulators and 3-storey slides
  6. How do I save money when buying a cruise?
  7. Which cruise insurance should you buy?

 

1. Book a 2-storey family suite with in-suite private slide, cinema, game room, and jacuzzi 

The Royal Caribbean’s Ultimate Family Suite is the closest you can get to renting a house for the whole family on a cruise ship. And we mean house, not flat or apartment—the Ultimate Family Suite is a massive two-storey space with an in-suite slide for the kids, private in-suite cinema, and private game room with a life-size Connect-Four. There’s even a jacuzzi and table tennis set-up on the balcony!

Wondering if you’ll have to sell your house and car to be able to afford the Royal Caribbean’s Ultimate Family Suite? Well, the biggest family space on the seas does come with a hefty price tag. A 3-4 night stay in the suite is reported to cost S$22,000 – S$30,000 for a family of four. For a 4-night getaway, that’s S$5,500 – $7,500 per pax, or S$1,375 – S$1,875 per pax per night. Here’s a look at how these prices compare to a regular interior room:

Room/Suite Cruise ship Price per pax
Ultimate Family Suite, 4-night Symphony of the Seas, Spectrum of the Seas and Wonder of the Seas S$5,500 – $7,500
Interior room, 4-night Penang and Phuket cruise Spectrum of the Seas From $524
Interior room, 4-night Port Klang and Penang cruise Spectrum of the Seas From $604

As you can see, a spot in the Ultimate Family Suite can cost 14 times that of a regular interior room! It’s definitely one of those “go big or go home” decisions to book this suite. But if you have kids and want to create the ultimate family trip, it doesn’t get better than this on a cruise ship.

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2. See the high seas 90m high above them

Nothing beats sailing the high seas on a literal high. At 88.6 m above sea level, the North Star viewing deck on the Royal Caribbean holds the Guinness World Record for being the tallest viewing deck on a cruise ship. Soak in 360-degree views of the ocean in the glass-panelled observation capsule, which sits at the end of a giant mechanical arm that can lift up to 14 people at a time. It functions like a sort of one-carriage ferris wheel, and the whole experience should last about 15-20 minutes.

Pro tip: Book your North Star experience under the Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner to reserve a spot and skip the queue. This is pretty much essential if you’re gunning for a peak time slot, such as sunrise or sunset.

The North Star can be found on the cruise ships Anthem of the Seas, Odyssey of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, and Spectrum of the Seas. Depending on where your cruise departs from, the experience may be complimentary or chargeable. If you’re heading out to sea from the UK, China, Singapore, or the Caribbean, you may have to pay US$20 – US$25 for a ride on the observation pod. And if you’re departing from Alaska, the experience becomes a premium one that’ll cost you US$49+.

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3. Space out in an indoor planetarium

Image: Giphy

For an experience that’s out of this world, Princess Cruises offers a Voyage to the Stars Planetarium experience as part of their Discovery at SEA line-up. Enter the 6.5m GeoDome that serves as an indoor planetarium to be immersed in real-time images of constellations, planets and galaxies. This planetarium dome serves to complement live stargazing on the ship’s deck, during which a stargazing specialist will point out major constellations and teach you how to map out the night sky above you.

The Voyage to the Stars Planetarium experience is available on Caribbean Princess and Ruby Princess cruises. Last we checked, Princess Cruises doesn’t have cruises departing Singapore on these vessels. Instead, you’re looking at cruises departing North America and Europe. Here are some cruises and their prices to give you an idea:

Cruise Ship Cost per pax (assuming 2 guests share an interior room)
10-Day Inside Passage (Roundtrip from San Francisco) Ruby Princess $1,041 ($104/day)
7-Day Eastern Caribbean with Puerto Rico (Roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida) Caribbean Princess $582 ($83/day)
14-Day Caribbean East/West Adventurer (Roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida) Caribbean Princess $1,124 ($80/day)

Note: Prices above are before taxes, fees and port expenses, which can come up to another $200-$400 additional charge.

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4. Go skydiving…at sea?

You’re floating on a huge ship in the middle of the deep, vast ocean. Whaddya mean, it’s time to go skydiving?

You best believe it. With the RipCord by iFLY skydiving simulator on the Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, you get to experience the rush of freefall out in the ocean. The simulator is basically a powerful wind tunnel that you fall face first into, and the wind that blows from below you mimics the wind you’d feel on your face during skydiving.

The whole experience will last about 60 seconds, and we hear that it can be quite a workout getting your flimsy limbs into the right position for “freefall”. Like the North Star observation capsule, you’ll probably have to pay US$25-$50 for this skydiving simulator if you’re departing from the UK, China, Singapore, or the Caribbean.

Want to try a skydiving simulator, but don’t fancy a cruise? Check out iFly Sentosa Singapore for a freefall experience on land.

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5. Surf and slide—12m surf simulators and 3-storey slides

It’s almost ironic how, surrounded by the sea for miles and miles around, one might find oneself missing water sports. If that sounds like you, Royal Caribbean’s got you covered with The Perfect Storm water slide and their 12m-long FlowRider surf simulator. 

The Perfect Storm is actually a trifecta of three water slides aptly named after storms—Typhoon, Cyclone, and Supercell. You won’t always get all of them on every Royal Caribbean ship, the same way you may not always get the surf simulator. Here’s a summary of which vessels have which features:

The Perfect Storm water slides FlowRider surf simulator
Royal Caribbean ship Typhoon Cyclone Supercell
Adventure of the Seas
Allure of the Seas
Explorer of the Seas
Freedom of the Seas
Harmony of the Seas
Independence of the Seas
Liberty of the Seas
Mariner of the Seas
Ovation of the Seas
Symphony of the Seas
Voyager of the Seas

The best news? The Perfect Storm and FlowRider surf simulator are both included in the room price. So as long as the cruise ship you’re on has these facilities, go ahead and knock yourself out on them (not literally)!

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6. How do I save money on cruises?

You probably already know that, just like anything else you shop for online, you should look out for flash deals when booking a cruise. But other than these limited-time offers, how else can you save money?

We’ve found that you can get the cheapest cruise fares if you:

  • Book well in advance: We’re talking about departure dates a year or more in advance.
  • Be flexible with dates: Not all dates are equal. Even during the holidays, prices can vary tremendously. If you can, avoid the school holidays or you’ll end up paying through the nose.
  • Check out the competition: Royal Caribbean may be one of the most well-known cruise operators, but don’t forget that there are others too. It doesn’t hurt to check the competitor for packages for the dates you want.

Want to save even more money? For one-off expenses like cruises and holidays, we recommend using a no-minimum-spend credit card like these for basic cashback with no hoops to jump through:

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7. Which cruise insurance should you buy?

A trip on a cruise is still travel, and travel insurance is still a good idea. You’ll want to make sure you can get emergency evacuation if you need it and compensation for trip cancellation.

However, make sure to check with the insurer whether the policy specifically covers you for cruises.

Most insurers are tight-lipped on their policies regarding cruises, but we found that Allianz travel insurance explicitly cover cruises.

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Your cruise package may also have insurance bundled in too, but you may want to get it a la carte for more customisability and value-for-money.

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