Imagine the sensation of riding a bicycle high over the deep blue ocean, seemingly suspended in mid-air, the sea breeze blowing through your hair as you speed through the air. That’s what you’ll experience when you try out the Carnival SkyRide. This exhilarating attraction has been making waves on Carnival’s ships, offering passengers a thrilling adventure with a twist of high-altitude excitement.
What is the SkyRide?
The SkyRide is an attraction offered exclusively on select Carnival Cruise Line ships. It’s essentially a suspended bicycle ride that hangs from a track that circles the top deck of the cruise ship. It offers passengers a unique perspective of the ship and the open ocean. Think of it as a blend of a traditional bike ride and a zip line, with a dash of breathtaking views thrown in for good measure.
The 800-foot track circles 1/3 of the ship and suspends riders 40 feet over the nearest deck and 150 feet over the ocean. Two tracks run side-by-side so you can race your friend around the course. As passengers pedal their way around the SkyRide track, they can achieve speeds of up to 18 miles per hour. The combination of speed and elevation creates an adrenaline rush that is sure to satisfy those seeking an adventurous cruise activity.
History of Carnival SkyRide
The SkyRide debuted when Carnival launched the Carnival Vista in 2016. With the Vista-class of ships, Carnival wanted to improve upon their popular Dream-class ship by pushing the boundaries of family entertainment. The SportSquare concept, an area with mini-golf, pool tables, cornhole, and even a ropes course, was very popular with guests, but they wanted to take it to the next level with this new class of ships.
Carnival turned to Skyride Technology Inc. to help figure out a new innovative attraction. Co-founder Scott Olson, an inventor and engineer who invented RollerBlades, originally came up with the concept for SkyRide. He was looking to combine the thrill of a roller coaster with an exercise or fitness component.
SkyRide proved to be very popular with guests of all ages. It was a way for people to push themselves and try something unlike anything else. The attraction won “Best Onboard Thrill” by Porthole Cruise Magazine and “Best Cruise Ship Feature” by Cruise Hive for four years in a row.
The attraction later appeared on Carnival’s other Vista-class ships, the Horizon and Panorama. For Carnival’s next class of ships, the Excel-class, they opted to forgo the SkyRide in favor of the BOLT Roller Coaster.
How much does SkyRide cost?
Riding the SkyRide is free; it’s included in the cruise fare. There is no limit to how many times a guest can ride during a sailing (as long they’re willing to wait on line).
How do you ride Carnival SkyRide?
You don’t need advance tickets or reservations for the SkyRide. Once onboard the ship, use the Carnival Hub app or look at the Carnival FunTimes to see the operating hours.
When it’s open, you’ll get to SkyRide by going to the SportSquare on Deck 12 and taking the steps up to Deck 14 (there’s no Deck 13 on Carnival ships). Then you’ll wait in the queue for your turn. It can be anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour, depending on how busy it is.
Tip: For the shortest lines, try going late in the day or during port days when people are off the ship. The ride is usually open for at least a few hours while the ship is in port.
What are the restrictions for SkyRide?
There are no age limits for SkyRide. Guests must be at least 54 inches tall and weigh less than 250 pounds to ride. Carnival says that workout attire is required and that swimwear and backless shoes (like sandals or flip-flops) are prohibited.
Guests will have to empty their pockets before riding, but Carnival has cubbies next to the attraction to hold any belongings.
My experience with SkyRide on the Carnival Horizon
I had a chance to try the SkyRide myself on my 7-day cruise on the Carnival Horizon (follow along with our cruise blog here). I’d seen video and pictures of the SkyRide beforehand and was excited to try it out.
I always like to try attractions on a ship as early in a cruise as possible. You never know when you will hit bad weather or when they may have technical issues. In this case, I went to SkyRide on the first day of the cruise, right after we completed our Muster Drill. The SkyRide just opened, and we were the second people in line to try it.
We walked up the steps and stepped into the car. The platform where you board is very solid and doesn’t feel as high as you actually are, so if you’re afraid of heights, getting into the ride isn’t bad. The attendant strapped us into the cars. Because I was sitting at an incline with my feet straight out, it didn’t feel like a bike to me but more like one of those bicycle machines I use at the gym.
My heart started racing as we waited for them to give us the green light. As soon as they released the brakes, I could feel the car wobble in the track. I just assumed the car would stay at a 90-degree perpendicular angle, but it actually has the flexibility to tilt when you go around the corners…I wasn’t ready for that.
I started to pedal and got moving pretty quickly. I held onto the handles for dear life and pedaled away. I turned the first corner and was on the first long stretch of the track. I was suspended 40 feet over the nearest deck at that point, and I definitely felt it when I looked down.
Thankfully, the track I was on had an incline, so I had to focus on pushing harder to get up the hill. I had always assumed the track would be flat, but it has some ups and downs along the way. The inclines are in different spots for the two cars, so if you’re racing, you never know if you’re truly ahead until the very end.
It was a bit of heavy pedaling to get up the hill. I wouldn’t say it was a workout, but it did take some energy and was harder than I thought. Once I was up, I pedaled around the back of the ship and then over to the other side.
This side of the ship was above the open water, and I could see down 150 feet to the ocean. I was so mesmerized by the view that I didn’t realize a downhill section was coming. All of a sudden, I started going faster and faster, and the peddling was getting easier. The high speed made the car tilt as I made the final turn back to the station.
Overall, it was a fun experience and something I had never done before. It got my heart pumping and was a bit of a workout. I would definitely ride again if I’m on another ship with it, but next time, I’d wait for a sea day so I can enjoy the beautiful views of the open ocean while I’m pedaling.
You can find the SkyRide on these Carnival ships:
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