These days a number of family-friendly cruise ships essentially have their own mini waterpark on-board the sun deck. I don’t call it a “mini” park in any negative sense, as these amazing decks often feature multiple water slides, various pools, water cannons and more.
But the truth is they are only mini waterparks. The real epics are all based on land, in some of the most popular destinations around the world. And they are absolutely perfect for either an excursion whilst on a cruise holiday, or as something to enjoy as part of a cruise and stay package, either before you sail or once your cruise holiday is completed.
With that in mind, I scoured the earth (via my online resources – sadly I couldn’t stretch to the time or budget to visit them all myself) and I’ve come up with my favourite waterparks that you could, or indeed should, visit as part of a cruise holiday.
Siam Park in Tenerife
This theme park in Tenerife has a Thai theme throughout, with decoration on every ride and building alongside a floating Thai market and restaurants serving a mix of authentic cuisine as well as more European dishes. Expect massive waves of up to nine feet in the wave pool, with surfing encouraged, alongside many other great rides. And not only that, Siam Park is also marketed as the world’s first green waterpark, with various eco-friendly features and policies ensuring a sustainable yet still exciting experience.
Aquaventure Waterpark in Dubai
Aquaventure is a huge waterpark in Dubai that has a great number of rides, including exhilarating thrill slides that are extremely fun to ride. I’ve included it on this list as it’s the pioneer of the aquarium slide – basically you can enjoy an amazing experience on a glass-tube ride that takes you through a tank filled with sharks. So you’ll be zooming past shark species with just a layer of glass between you. It’s been replicated in a couple of different ways in some other parks around the world now, but it’s still a standout attraction that makes a visit worthwhile.
Watercube Waterpark in Beijing
It’s not often you get to go swimming in a former Olympic venue. But that’s what you get with the Watercube in Beijing…sort of. This has been converted from the Beijing National Aquatic Centre used in the 2008 Olympics, but you wouldn’t know it to look at it from the inside as the transformation is incredible. What was once and Olympic pool is now a huge and beautiful fantasy world with many slides and a lazy river. It even has a loop-de-loop slide.
Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi
The Yas Waterworld is in Abu Dhabi at Yas Island, essentially next door to the Ferrari World Theme Park that I’ve mentioned previously in my list of the top roller coasters to enjoy whilst on a cruise. It’s one of the biggest waterparks in the world. Alongside multiple high-octane rides there is also a story that guests can follow throughout the Emirati-themed park, and all of this combined with the excellent location amongst other top amusements mean it’s one you should definitely ensure you see.
Beach Park in Fortaleza, Brazil
Beach Park is in Fortaleza in Brazil, a port that isn’t always on a typical South American itinerary. But some ships do visit, and those that do give you the perfect opportunity to enjoy this great park. The main attraction? Only the tallest, fastest waterslide in the whole world, ‘Insano’. At 41 metres tall it’s simply incredible, and you’ll fly down at speeds approaching 65mph. One for only the bravest of you.
Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando, Florida
The absolute classic, Typhoon Lagoon is the most popular waterpark in the whole world. Anyone enjoying cruises to Florida will definitely want to pay a visit to enjoy the great rides and attractions including the famous geyser that erupts from ‘Miss Tilly’, an impaled shrimp boat. Over 2 million people visit every year, so you know it’s one that you don’t want to miss.
Have I missed off any of your favourites? Let me know in the comments below!
By Ian Lewis