Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Top 10 incredible nautical innovations

Top 10 incredible nautical innovations

Cruise lines battle to rule the waves with the most awe-inspiring sights at sea


From top-deck picnic lawns and sky-skimming viewing pods to planetariums and vertical-drop water slides, cruise ship design has reached a whole new level as shipping companies go to extremes to attract passengers.  Cruising is becoming increasingly popular with Irish holidaymakers with over 40,000 people expected to hit the high seas by the end of 2015.  According to top Irish cruise agency e-travel, it is the fastest-growing sector of the holiday trade. Discounted fares, drinks packages, specialty dining and free onshore excursions are just a few of the incentives being offered to get people on board.  This is in addition to increasingly extravagant ship attractions, such as aerial viewing pods, sky-diving simulators, rock climbing, ice skating and water slides to hot-air ballooning over Antarctica.

Irish cruise agency e-travel announce the introduction of Cunard, Princess & P&O Cruises to their cruiseline family which also includes Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, MSC Cruises, Silversea Cruiseline, NCL, Carnival, Holland America, Hurtigruten and Seaborne. As cruise lines battle to rule the waves, e-travel bring us the top 10 most incredible recent nautical innovations.

1.      The world’s first aerial attraction at sea, North Star, is on Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas. A single viewing pod attached to a mechanical arm takes cruise-ship passengers for a 15-minute ride 300ft up that affords 360-degree views, both at sea and in port. If that doesn’t float your boat, try “flying”.  RipCord by iFly simulates the experience of skydiving by suspending passengers above a wind tunnel inside a 23ft-tall glass chamber.  And finally, a “bionic bar” with two robotic arms that can craft, mix and pour a variety of cocktails and drinks onboard.


  1. The Royal Princess ship by Princess Cruises has built a gangplank-like SeaWalk, made of glass, allowing passengers to look straight down to the ocean while they walk. In addition, the SeaView Bar on Deck 16 “extends over the waves” and offers breath-taking views.


  1. Celebrity Cruises’ ‘Smart Glass’ in the exclusive suites of the Celebrity Reflection’ is considered a top innovation, allowing guests to take a shower while enjoying the sea view. The electrochromatic technology adopted in these selected rooms turn the walls of the shower into semi-transparent glass simply by walking into the bathroom, as the sensors installed activate the ‘Smart Glass’ automatically, while retaining guests’ privacy.


  1. Carnival Cruises’ 5D Theater allows 3D viewers the chance to feel the wind or see the water dripping from above while watching a movie as well as having seats that move, shake, and vibrate.

  1. NCL’s Norwegian Getaway offers a pair of free-fall racing slides and a ropes course. It also has the first ice bar at sea and more dining options than you can shake a fork at.

6.      Other adrenalin-pumping diversions on Royal Caribbean Ships include the FlowRider surf simulator and a climbing wall, while the indoor SeaPlex centre boasts a flying trapeze and the first bumper cars at sea.


7.      Crystal Cruises unveiled the first living wall at sea in 2012, but the real game-changer was a thumping great park on board Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas. Dense with tropical foliage, trees and seasonal blooms, Central Park is an incongruous but pleasing addition to life on the ocean waves, made possible by turning a typical cruise-ship superstructure on its head by splitting the aft to create airy, open spaces. 


8.      Celebrity Cruises employs full-time lawn keepers (on its Solstice Class ships) to groom and water half an acre of real grass, on which guests can play boules, picnic or lounge about.


  1. Celebrity Cruises collaborates with mixologists to create cocktail menus and drinks that are offered at selected bars throughout its fleet, advertising this effort by noting, “The new craft cocktails blend vintage-style liqueurs with fresh ingredients, organic juices and the finest artisanal spirits, resulting in a combination of new-school libations and updated old-school favorites.”

10.  But the prize for the most off-the-wall exhibitionism surely goes to the Rising Tide on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas: the bar is actually a lift that slowly ascends through several
decks as you sip your Caipirinha.

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