Although Caribbean ports are famous for ziplining, you don't have to wait until you're in the tropics to give the exhilarating activity a try. Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class ships offer ziplining as an onboard experience, including Harmony of the Seas, Wonder of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas -- all at no additional cost. The massive size of the ships allow you to soar above the boardwalk and multiple decks, making for a unique family-friendly cruise vacation. Check out our first-hand account of riding Harmony of the Seas' zipline below.
Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class ships offer ziplining, including Harmony, Symphony, Allure, Oasis and Wonder.
The zipline requires no additional fee.
There is a 75-pound minimum and 275-pound maximum weight required to ride the zipline. You must also be at least 52 inches tall.
Upon arriving, the first order of business was the waiver signing. On Harmony of the Seas, you can sign waivers for all active pursuits at the same time, using your SeaPass card, the crew member's tablet and your finger to do the electronic signing. (You also can do this using your remote control and in-cabin TV.) For some reason, neither my card nor the TV method worked, so we resorted to the old-fashioned pen-and-paper option.
Having signed the waiver, I was let into the waiting pen area to get my gear on as the sky began spitting out a steady mist. A team of people was in place near the zipline starting point to help you through the process. Essentially, you step into a harness that has holes for each leg and each arm. Harmony of the Seas crew help you get the harness on correctly, attaching carabiners and tightening straps. Harness in place, I moved to the next line, where I would await a helmet.
The light rain, showing no signs of letting up, was starting to make surfaces slippery, so the Harmony of the Seas team told those of us on deck waiting that they were closing down the zipline because of safety concerns. We could either wait or come back later. Deciding my time would be better spent somewhere dry and warm, I elected to return when the weather improved. I asked a crew member if, because I had waited in line already and was so close, I could return to the front of the queue later, and he assured me and the others that we could.
Two hours later, the sun was shining and I returned to see a line of at least 30 people, so I made my way to the front and explained that I had been there previously. After confirming my story, the crew members ushered me through, and once again I got geared up and helmeted.
The start of the zipline is on a raised platform located behind a tall glass door that is open only when everything is secure. The woman working at the starting gate was friendly and efficient as I approached, hooking up my carabiners appropriately before instructing me to step onto the platform. She performed double safety checks, making sure everything was properly fastened and tight, then told me that when the gate opened, I simply needed to lift my legs and let gravity take over.
The ride is over in a flash -- 7 seconds to be exact -- so I didn't even have time for screaming. With my ride nearly complete, the crew member waiting for me at the finish instructed me to lower my legs and walk onto the thick blue mat. My momentum stopped quickly, and I came to a sudden but not uncomfortable stop. The crewman hooked a safety cord -- affixed to an anchor point on the landing -- onto my harness, then unhooked me from the zip line. Once safely clear, I was instructed to step down from the mat onto the deck. I made my way back to the starting area one deck up, where I was helped out of my gear and sent on my way.
Royal Caribbean's zipline is free and fun, so it's a pretty solid combination. However, if you're afraid of heights, skip the zipline. On the flip side, if you're a fan of the long ziplines in the Caribbean, Hawaii and Alaska, you might be disappointed by the short ride onboard the ships.. If your itinerary includes Labadee, Haiti, you'll have another chance to ride a much, much longer zipline (though it will cost extra).
Weather is always a factor; too much wind or wetness will shut down the zipline on the ships.
It was comforting to see the safety procedures the team has in place on the ship. All lines, straps and connections were checked thoroughly, and when the footing was questionable on our cruise, a decision to shut down the attraction was made quickly.