You don’t even have time to think – the floor beneath your feet drops away and suddenly you’re plunging down a slippery green tube, hurtling around twists and turns at 65 kilometres an hour.
It takes just 10 seconds until you splash down at the bottom, often to applause, particularly if you were a bit scared of doing it in the first place. It’s the biggest thrill – you might even find it addictive.
If you’ve never been on Carnival’s Green Thunder, take a deep breath, climb the steps to the top (taking in amazing ocean or port views as you go) and prepare yourself for a heart-stopping blast. Step into the capsule, cross your arms over your chest and before you know it, you’re away.
Where can you ride the steepest waterslide at sea? On board Carnival’s fun-packed cruise ships, Carnival Legend and Carnival Spirit. Famously named Green Thunder in a nationwide competition, it was installed for local thrill-seekers on Carnival Spirit in a multimillion-dollar Australian-focussed refit before the ship first came to Australia in 2012. When Legend headed Down Under to join Spirit in Sydney two years later, it too was fitted with the popular waterslide.
Many keen cruisers head straight to Carnival Waterworks™ on the top deck as soon as they board their ship, swimmers already on. Here, you’ll find the SplashZone (for small children), the bright yellow Carnival Twister Waterslide™, and the big one, Green Thunder.
Carnival’s Twister Waterslide is a gentler ride – and if you’re less than 122 centimetres tall or weigh more than 136.4 kilos, Green Thunder is out of bounds. (The Twister has a 1.1metre limit.) The SplashZone, which has two purple mini-waterslides and a giant bucket that tilts to drench everyone underneath it, is the best area for children who aren’t tall enough for the waterslides and keeps little kids amused for hours.
Water babies who are out of nappies have a choice of three pools on each ship, all on the Lido Deck. The main pools have a retractable domed roof so you can take a dip in all weathers. The mid-ship pool on the newly refurbished Carnival Spirit sports red and blue sun-lounges – both in the pool and surrounding it. These colours reflect the red and blue corners of the Lido Deck’s new bars and eateries: RedFrog Rum Bar™, Guy’s Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina™ and BlueIguana Tequila Bar.
The forward pools are the same size as the main pools, and at the ships’ aft, the Serenity™ Retreat areas have their own pool and whirlpool, for grown-ups only, surrounded by sun-lounges and two-person pods.
There are plenty more outdoor activities and attractions: you can play basketball, cricket or dodgeball at the Sports Court on Deck 11, where there’s also a jogging track and nine-hole mini-golf course.
A fully equipped two-deck fitness centre on both ships offers a way to work off some cruise kilojoules while taking in expansive ocean views.
Fitness and healthy living expert Shannan Ponton of The Biggest Loser fame returns to the ships in 2016 to lead the Biggest Bootcamp at Sea and present nutrition and motivation seminars. Keeping fit onboard is fun – really!