It seems Nick is trying to give Disney a run for its money by dabbling into the family travel market with a hotel, resort, theme park, and now cruise. Rather than custom build their own cruise ship, Nickelodeon is dipping a toe into the waters by chartering the biggest boat out there – Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. This ship already boasts an impressive array of “wow” with an onboard rock wall, wave simulator, ice rink, mini-golf and water park. Add Sponge Bob, Blue, Dora and Diego to the mix, and the kids are in cartoon heaven.
The recent week-long cruise around the western Caribbean was a huge hit. There were character breakfasts, sing-a-longs, interactive games, contests, ice shows, magicians, comedians and Nickelodeon celebrities on hand to host special events and premier screening. Of course, silly antics like Slime Time Live were a prominent draw, where the signature florescent green goo was deployed at regular intervals to the hilarity of the younger passengers. Favorite characters accompanied guests on shore excursions as well.
Naturally, on a ship with over 3,500 passengers, you have to prepare yourself for crowds and long line-ups. Waiting around for activities, shows and meals is tough for even the most patient kids (do they even exist?), not to mention parents. But that’s the price you pay for these kinds of themed extravaganzas. They may complain at the time, but most preschoolers to 12-year-olds will only remember the fun stuff at the end of the day.
Next year’s Nickelodeon 7-day family cruises are already booking up. There’s a cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas sailing from Los Angeles on July 26, 2009 to the Mexican Riviera, and an Eastern Caribbean itinerary on the Freedom of the Seas sailing from Port Canaveral on August 9, 2009. Prices start at around $2700 for a family of two, $4000 for a family of four sharing a cabin.