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11 Cruises with Crazy Cool Amenities You Need to See to Believe

Start packing your finest cruise outfits and gear, because these souped-up spring break cruises are about to redefine relaxing vacation.

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IMAX theater

If you’re looking for great date night ideas, there’s no reason to stand in line on the ground back home to see a new release in IMAX format. The Carnival Vista has a three-deck-high IMAX screen that shows first-run movies, documentaries, and other fun flicks in case you find yourself looking for a break from all the sun and fun. Use these cruise expert travel tips to book the right cruise for you.

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Salt rooms

Scenic is the only river cruise line to offer therapeutic salt lounges on its ships traveling French routes, and they’re far more luxurious than you’d think. Each salt lounge is essentially a therapeutic salt cave on board, complete with lounge chairs, low lights, privacy curtains, relaxing music, and a hand-made salt brick environment that’s humidity and temperature-controlled. Negatively charged salt ions are said to bear a high kinetic energy that improves healing, respiration, and immune system function. Here are more ways to be healthy while taking a cruise.

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SubmarinesBenny Marty/Shutterstock

Personal submarines

Yes, personal submarines are even available on some spring break cruises, like the Crystal Esprit voyage in the West Indies through April, and then the Mediterranean starting in May. A pilot and two guests sit upright on regular seating in a pressure-controlled cabin that dives down to depths of up to 300 meters (over 950 feet). Temperature and humidity are maintained at comfortable levels for the duration of each 30-minute dive. And just in case you tend toward motion sickness, here’s how to manage it.

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An entire Dr. Seuss-themed water park at sea

Water parks are fun on land, but the idea of an entire, full-size water park on board a ship that’s dedicated to the wonderful world of Dr. Seuss characters is almost too magical to be real, except it is real. Dr. Seuss WaterWorks is every kid’s dream water park floating in the sea, and it’s only on the Carnival Horizon ship. There’s no added fee for access, and the centerpiece attraction is The Cat’s Hat slide, which takes you twisting down red and white striped water slides. Did you know that there’s a Dr. Seuss museum?

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Race cars on the ocean? You bet!

Norwegian Bliss is the first North American-based ship inviting guests to take a thrilling, competitive ride in electric race cars—all while they’re cruising the oceans to wonderful and exotic destinations. Up to 10 drivers at a time can race to the finish line, where photos capture the action for social media bragging and permanent memories. Don’t miss the advice cruise lines won’t tell you—but you’ll want to know.

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There’s even laser tag at sea

If you’re not the race car type, that’s OK, because the Norwegian Bliss also has an abandoned space station-themed laser tag that’s accessible both day and night, and is fun for the whole family. The on-board laser tag game is an open-air concept, and will probably burn enough calories without even noticing to remove any buffet-related guilt too.

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Puppy snuggles are part of the experience

Princess Cruises actually brings real local Alaska sled dog puppies onboard for guests to cuddle while the ship is in the port. You can get some much-needed cuddles from the Puppies in the Piazza program in if you’re missing your favorite furball from back home. You’ll meet dog handlers, get an idea of authentic local culture, and guarantee your trip sets off with a smile.

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For specialty brew fanatics

If there’s nothing more relaxing and vacation-worthy than sitting back with a cold, specialty beer, you’ll be excited to know that Carnival Vista actually has Colin Presby on board, who just so happens to be the only at-sea brew master in North America. Bet you didn’t even know sea-brewing was a thing, did you? Colin presents passengers with four different kinds of mouth-watering beers that are great alone, or with just about any of the food the ship serves. When you’re back on land you can make it your mission to try each of these craft beers from all 50 states too.

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, nope—it’s a bike in the air!

If you’re the active type, love the health benefits of biking, and are also into trying new, adventurous things, Carnival Vista’s SkyRide will be the ship amenity you will go home talking about for months. It’s an open-air bike ride that feels more like a helicopter you pedal, and your journey will be high above the deck and around the ship. It’s an included feature in your Vista cruise, so don’t worry about paying extra, and it’s great for a variety of ages and fitness levels—just don’t look down, and remember that biking is one of the best ways to stay fit.

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Not just your typical games

MSC Cruises has all the bells and whistles you’d hope for on spring break cruises like kids and teen clubs, water activities, and loads of dining options, but they also have something called slide-boarding on their Seaside ship, which combines interactive gaming, lights, music, and a 367-foot water slide to give vacation revelers the best vacation selfies of all time.

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DroneBudimir Jevtic/Shutterstock

Underwater drones

If all the on-board activities, health and fitness perks, and entertainment options aren’t exciting enough for you yet, brace yourself for Hurtigruten’s newest launch for passengers—underwater drones. We’re not surprised though, because drones are one of the hottest technology trends right now. Hurtigruten partnered with Blueye Robotics to introduce underwater drones to all their explorer ships to change the way vacationers experience and interact with the sea. Each drone weighs about 15 pounds, has four powerful thrusters, and lets passengers visually explore the deep sea below them as they cruise to locations like Arctic Canada, Greenland, and the Norwegian coast.

Don’t miss the best cruises that aren’t in the Bahamas.

Bryce Gruber
As Home Editor, Bryce Gruber is an expert in gift ideas, shopping, and e-commerce at Reader's Digest. You've likely seen her work across a variety of women's lifestyle and parenting outlets and on TV shows. She lives and works in New York's Hudson Valley with her five small children.