Splashing around in a water park is one of the best ways to keep kids of all ages entertained during your cruise holiday, particularly on sea days. Cruise ship water parks are incredibly popular, so much so that almost every new family-focused cruise ship has one. With features such as swimming pools, splash areas, water slides, fountains and spray jets, there’s so much to keep kids of all ages busy.

Some family cruise lines are better for water parks than others, while some might not even have one at all. So, if a great water park is a must, you’ll need to consider exactly what’s on board each ship.

Some waterparks focus on fast thrill slides – perfect for teens. Whilst others have amazing splash areas – ideal for toddlers. Splash zones are great because children in swimming nappies aren’t allowed in any pool or hot tub on any cruise ship for hygiene reasons. So, a toddler splash zone is an ideal way for little ones to cool off on a hot day. Read on to find out more about the best cruise ship water parks and slides.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Aqua Park & Kids Aqua Park

Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway

On Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway Class ships, you’ll find no fewer than five multi-storey waterslides. The Free Fall slide is the fastest and one of the most exhilarating slides at sea. Stand inside the capsule and wait until the floor drops away leaving you hurtling downwards at the speed of four Gs.

Norwegian Escape - Free Fall slide

Then there’s The Whip, two side-by-side twisting racing slides. For younger guests or those who prefer a more relaxing ride, the family fun slide is ideal.

Norwegian Breakaway - The Whip slide

Minimum height and weight requirements:

  • Free Fall: 122cm and 45 kgs
  • Whip: 122cm
  • Family slide: 106cm

Norwegian Epic

Norwegian Epic has a water park featuring a slide you’ll never forget! The Epic Plunge begins four stories above the pool deck and features a 200-feet long flume which you can choose to ride with or without a tube. At the end of the slide is a huge bowl which you’ll swirl round and round before exiting at the bottom.

Norwegian Epic - Epic Plunge

Minimum height and weight requirements:

  • All slides: 106cm

Norwegian Escape

Norwegian Escape features what is claimed to be the largest water park at sea, hosting four slides in total including the aforementioned Free Fall, along with the Aqua Racer in which competitors race side-by-side in tubes.

Norwegian Escape - Waterslide

Minimum height and weight requirements:

  • Free Fall: 122cm and 45kgs
  • Aqua Racer: 106cm
  • Family slide: 106cm

Norwegian Bliss

Norwegian Bliss also features the Aqua Racer, as well as Ocean Loops – a freefall water slide with see-through sections which loop over the side of the ship!

Each of the Norwegian Cruise Line ships mentioned also boasts a children’s water park featuring such delights as tipping buckets, water cannons and life-sized pirate sculptures.

Norwegian Bliss - Ocean Loops

Minimum height and weight requirements:

  • Aqua Racer: 122cm
  • Ocean Loops: 122cm

MSC Cruises’ Aqua Park

Which ships to choose: MSC Preziosa, MSC Grandiosa, MSC Bellissima, MSC Seaview, MSC Seaside and MSC Meraviglia

Take a cruise on any of MSC Cruises’ newest ships and you’ll be amazed by the water parks. Offering fun at sea for kids and adults alike, the water parks on ships from MSC Preziosa and newer feature amazing slides as well as exciting kids areas.

MSC Aquapark

MSC Meraviglia and MSC Bellissima

MSC Cruises’ Meraviglia class ships feature three water slides – two with tubes which twist and turn through mostly darkness, and one which looks like a wide-brimmed champagne glass where riders swirl round and round.

MSC Meraviglia - Waterslides

There’s also a polar-themed water park for youngsters, with large sculptures of polar bears and whales as well as spray guns, water dunkers and a small slide.

MSC Meraviglia - Polar Aquapark

MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview

Almost-identical twin ships MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview take cruise ship slides to the next level with the Slideboard. The Slideboard is more than just a water slide, it’s also an interactive game, dropping two decks, this duo of slides twists and turns with flashing lights and music.

Riders sit on ‘slideboards’, which have buttons on them to press in time to the flashing lights to score points. A leader board at the exit keeps track of each rider’s score. As if that wasn’t enough, there are a further two fast racing slides with clear sections over the side of the ship and an open spiral slide.

MSC Seaside

Younger cruisers will love the Forest Aquaventure Park. Located inside the ship’s funnel surround it has a good amount of shade from the sun and features a shallow pool, fountains, spray nozzles, mini slides and a giant water bucket.

MSC Preziosa

MSC Preziosa boasts the Vertigo slide, a 120-metre-long tube slide which includes a transparent section which goes over the side of the ship. This is a fast one, with guests travelling at over 6 metres per second. You’ll also find a great kids waterpark on the deck below, with tipping buckets, climbing areas and small slides for little ones.

MSC Preziosa - Waterpark

Minimum height and weight requirements for MSC Cruises:

  • All slides: 102 cm and seven years old

Royal Caribbean’s slides, H2O Zone and Splashaway Bay

Which ships to choose: Liberty of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas.

Whilst Royal Caribbean isn’t known for its water slides, they still feature on several ships, and the splash areas are well-designed and loved by younger cruisers.

RCI Liberty

Perfect Storm

The Perfect Storm is a group of three water slides which are found on-board Liberty of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas, although it’s not the same three slides on each ship.

RCI Perfect Storm

Two of the three slides are the Cyclone and Typhoon – twisting racer slides. The third slide varies by ship (except Adventure of the Seas which doesn’t have the third slide). On Harmony of the Seas it’s the Supercell which has a circular bowl at the bottom which riders swirl around in before sliding down one final length into the plunge pool. On Liberty of the Seas, the third slide is the Tidal Wave – a boomerang-style slide which uses inflatable rafts.

H2O Zone

On Allure of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas you’ll find the H20 Zone which is perfect for babies and toddlers. Here you’ll find various pools, water cannons and fountains for splashing around.

H20 WaterPark

Splashaway Bay

Adventure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas have Splashaway Bay, which has all the features of the H2O zone, plus a few kids’ water slides and a giant tipping bucket.

RCI Harmony Splash-away Bay

Other activities

Although it’s not a water slide, the Ultimate Abyss on-board Harmony of the Seas deserves a mention. This is a huge slide which zooms riders down ten decks from the back of the ship. Many Royal Caribbean ships also feature the FlowRider surfing simulator which is very popular with teenagers.

RCI Abyss

Minimum height and weight requirements for Royal Caribbean slides:

  • Tidal Wave: 132cm and 45kg
  • Perfect Storm: 122cm
  • Splashaway Bay: 106cm

Carnival WaterWorks

Which ships to choose: Carnival Breeze, Carnival Dream, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Elation, Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Fascination, Carnival Glory, Carnival Horizon, Carnival Imagination, Carnival Inspiration, Carnival Legend, Carnival Magic, Carnival Panorama, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Radiance, Carnival Sensation, Carnival Spirit, Carnival Sunrise, Carnival Sunshine, Carnival Vista, Carnival Mardi Gras.

Carnival Cruises are synonymous with fun, and almost every ship in the Carnival fleet features the WaterWorks water park. Although the exact configuration varies by ship, you generally expect at least one big slide and a splash area.

Carnival Waterworks

The Twister Waterslide is one of the fastest you’ll find at sea, or indeed on land. Speedway Splash, meanwhile, is a racing slide featuring awesome lighting effects. Then there’s the DrainPipe, which swirls riders round in circles at the end. There’s no better way to cool off on a hot day than with the PowerDrencher – a huge bucket of water which tips down from above.

Carnival Horizon - Waterpark and slides

Minimum height and weight requirements for Carnival:

All ships:

  • Twister Waterslide: 106cm

Carnival Mardi Gras:

  • Blue Lightning (with mats): 122cm
  • Orange Thunder: 122cm

Carnival Panorama / Carnival Vista:

  • Kaleid-O-Slide (with rafts): 122cm

Carnival Horizon:

  • The Cat’s Hat Slide (with rafts): 122cm
  • Fun Things Slide: 106cm

Carnival Sunshine:

  • Speedway Splash Racing Slides: 106cm

Carnival Breeze / Carnival Dream / Carnival Magic:

  • Drainpipe: 106cm

Carnival Glory / Carnival Radiance / Carnival Sunrise:

  • Aqua Tunnel: 106cm

Carnival Legend / Carnival Pride / Carnival Spirit:

  • Green Thunder Thrill Slide: 122cm

Which is your favourite?

FlowRider - Independence of the Seas

So there you have our guide to the best cruise ship slides and water parks!

If your family would love to spend time in a water park on-board a cruise ship, the cruise lines to look out for will be Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line.

Aside from choosing a great ship, it’s also important to think carefully about your itinerary and the time of year that you’re cruising. Whilst it is possible to ride the slides in the Mediterranean in January, it’s going to be pretty cold so your kids aren’t likely to have more than a couple of goes. The slides are also likely to be closed for much of the day if the weather is anything less than warm. So plan carefully and you’re sure to have a holiday to remember.

If you have any questions about cruise ship water parks and slides or want to share your experience, please let us know in the comments below or give us a call on 0808 1234 118, where our expert Cruise Concierge team will be able to help with any questions you may have.

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Jenni Fielding
Jenni has been working in the travel industry for over 10 years. She fell in love with cruising on her first-ever cruise, a Caribbean cruise on Allure of the Seas, during her honeymoon in 2013. Nowadays, Jenni enjoys cruising with her husband and two young children and loves to write about family cruising. Her favourite ships are family-friendly megaships which are packed with exciting facilities. She loves sea days and had been known to skip port visits to spend more time on the ship!

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