Royal Caribbean upped the fun and thrills when it introduced its Quantum-class ships. One of those new attractions, the North Star, offers a fun ride to anyone who doesn't mind heights.
The North Star on Royal Caribbean cruises is a glass-enclosed pod, akin to a London Eye capsule but smaller. It's attached to a giant mechanical arm that lifts the pod up and down and out over the side of the ship. The experience is a cross between a modern Ferris wheel and a ski resort gondola ride. The North Star moves slowly, but if you're at all squeamish about heights, you will break a sweat as the arm rises 300 feet above sea level.
The ride lasts 15 to 20 minutes and can accommodate up to 14 passengers (and one operator), including one person in a wheelchair per ride. Photographers will love the vistas, though you will be shooting through the glass walls of the North Star capsule. Fun fact: Royal Caribbean's Voom Wi-Fi works inside North Star.
For the shortest lines, try the North Star when other cruisers are exploring in port or arrive early for the first ride of the day. Note that in port, there might be restrictions on how far the pod can extend over the side of the ship; if you want to experience the full range of the North Star, take a ride on a sea day. Also, crew members will shut down the North Star or limit its range of movement during rough seas and bad weather. You can make reservations in advance.
Rides on Royal Caribbean's North Star are free, except on Quantum of the Seas sailings out of China. You will need to pay select primetime sailings (such as sunrise and sunset) and reserving the pod for "private flights." Special events like proposals -- and even wedding ceremonies -- can take place during private rides on the North Star.
The North Star is found on the following Royal Caribbean ships:
Anthem of the Seas
Quantum of the Seas
Ovation of the Seas