In case you don’t know or forgot, I went with family on a 3 day voyage onboard the Disney Dream cruise ship out of Port Canaveral, Florida, down to Nassau, Bahamas, and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. You can click here for a review of the ship and for Castaway Cay Island. In this post, I will be talking about the Atlantis Paradise Islands Resort and the Aquaventure water park.
On the third day of the cruise, I had woken early enough to see the ship slowly backing into it’s place at the docks facing the colorfully vibrant city of Nassau, Bahamas. Joining us later on was the Carnival Sensation cruise ship that docked on our side of the ship, and afterwards spotted the huge Norwegian Gem pulling into the opposite side of the ship.
The Atlantis resort is very closed-in (but free to walk through), and offers higher quality amenities like the many high quality shops offering name brand clothing and accessories, as well as a casino that is required to walk through if you’re heading towards the water park. The main floor within the hotel is very spacious and gives a sense of how wonderfully themed the entire resort is due to the heavy amount of artwork and sculptures located everywhere.
I should probably mention that the price for a single day non-guest adult admission to the water park is roughly the same price for a single day’s admission to Disneyland, so I would strongly suggest to anyone to plan ahead if they would ever like to consider making a visit to the water park and are not planning on staying at the resort. But with that said…
Atlantis Resort’s backyard water park, Aquaventure, is one of the highest ranked water parks in the world due to the sheer amount of theming found within every crack and crevice of this brilliant water park. The details come all the way down to the rock walls within the lazy rivers, to the intricate details inside the Mayan temple slide complex, to the dark atmosphere and sounds emitted within the Power Tower slide complex, to the many shark and manta ray tanks beside and around water slides and pools, to the incredible length and features of the action/rapids river, and so on. The level of detail within this water park makes this one of the highest detailed water parks in the world, among the ranks of parks like Aquaventure or Wild Wadi in Dubai, or Disney’s Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando, Florida.
Starting with the park’s first and better-known slide complex, the Mayan Temple houses five water slides that ranges from beginner to extreme. Starting with the easiest slide: Jungle Slide is a lengthy slow body slide that starts about 1/3 of the way up the stairs leading to the top of the Mayan Temple and consists of a few easy left and right turns before dumping riders into a pool. Further up the stairs and completely hidden within the temple itself is the Serpent Slide, which is a dark enclosed inner-tube water slide that completes a few turns and helixes before emptying into a lazy-river like section within a long translucent box submerged within a shark tank so that riders can float forwards while seeing all types of sharks and mantas fly above and below them.
The second and more outstanding complex goes to the Power Tower, which is a 121 foot tall tower that opened in 2008 themed to the Atlanteans’ need to generate electricity to power their city, and is complete with dark ambient noises of gears creaking and voltage hums being emitting from within. The slide complex houses four of the water park’s biggest slides, starting at the top with The Surge and The Abyss. The Surge is an inner tube master blaster water slide that consists of a high speed double-down before rocketing riders back uphill with the assistance of water jets propelling riders all the way, then they enter a tunnel to complete multiple helixes and turns before ending in its own river section. The river brings riders past water falls and rapid sections before spilling them out into the larger main rapids river.
The next slide located beside it at the top is a body slide longer, faster, and darker than Leap of Faith. The Abyss is a high speed enclosed body slide that begins with an initial 50 foot drop into darkness before re-emerging into light for a fraction of time, only to go back into darkness and drop further into the ground. A water curtain rains over the end of the slide, where riders are dumped into a pool inside a hidden underground cave next to tanks with alligator gars and other fishes that swim above.
Both The Abyss and The Surge water slides tend to take the lead with guests and visitors in being the favorites at Aquaventure.
One level below the top sits two more slides that were only accessible via a conveyor belt that brought riders from the lazy river and into the tower (the stairwell that originally led to these slides was blocked off during my visit, possibly to control the flow of crowds). Once inside, you float in your tube down a slim lazy river to either one of two master blaster slides. The Drop starts riders with a 50 foot drop in total darkness before eventually re-emerging and shooting them up-hill via water jets to complete a few more turns and dumping riders into the river. The Falls begins riders with a similar drop, but not enclosed, before blasting them up two back-to-back uphill sections, completing a few turns, and dumping riders into the river as well.
Ratings for slides ridden (N/A= Unavailable):
Challenger Slide: 8/10
Jungle Slide: 6/10
Leap of Faith: 9/10
Serpent Slide: 8/10
The Abyss 9/10
The Drop: 8/10
The Falls: 8/10
The Surge: 10/10!
Overall Water Park Rating: 10/10!
There was one part of the island that blew me away and required a separate trolly of its own. It took you down a lush trail before speeding down a long airstrip, coming to a stop at the opposite end to drop folks 18 years of age and older to a secluded corner of the island. This area included its own beach, plenty of cabanas and loungers, some hammocks, and a few stands to buy drinks at. What amazed me the most about this area was how the water was far more calm and somehow looked bluer than it did on the other location. For cruisers looking to get away from the crowds, this spot is definitely for them!
Aquaduck (Disney Dream Ship): 8/10
Pelican’s Plunge (Castaway Cay Island)(2): 7/10
Two days after my visit to Rapids Water Park in Riviera Beach, Florida, my family and I made the two hour trek north out of Miami, Florida, to Port Canaveral to board the Disney Dream cruise ship for a 3 day voyage to Nassau, Bahamas, and Disney’s Castaway Cay private island.
We got to exploring much of the ship and enjoying the food offered for the first day of the cruise. Between the mandatory fire safety demonstration, there were already plenty of activities for people available to do; including the Aquaduck slide (with a 1 hour line on this day!) which I’ll explain more about in the second part of this review. At the time our ship was ready to sail out of Port Canaveral, The Carnival Sensation and Carnival Splendor ships joined us on the journey going to the same second destination.
By morning of the next day, our ship had pulled into port at Nassau, Bahamas, parallel and in-between the other two Carnival ships, all before a very large Norwegian Getaway ship showed up last and docked alongside as well! My family and I disembarked and took a look at a few parts of Nassau, Bahamas, before finally making the trek over to Paradise Islands to experience the Atlantis Resort’s Aquaventure water park for a couple of hours. (A separate review of this incredible water park will come soon).
(The following photos were taken from outside of park properties.)
So, on Saturday October 26, I made an hour and fifteen-minute drive from Louisville, Kentucky, north to Big Splash Adventure resort and indoor water park located in French Lick, Indiana. Once at the top of the hill where the resort is located, you are greeted with the backside exterior of the indoor water park with all of the main water slides poking out. Further down, you see the hotel-portion of the resort, and the entrance to the main lobby to check into the rooms or buy day passes for the water park.
The indoor water park itself has a great amount of space around and above, with the majority of the water park’s walls and roof being made of glass so sunlight can enter through practically any angle, and so park goers can get a good view of the Indiana hills surrounding the resort. The park’s attractions include the Lost River that flows around paths and under slides, the Buccaneer Bay water playground with tipping bucket and small slides, two whirlpool spas, and the park’s four main water slides.
The first of the four major water slides is Pirate’s Plunder. The initial start of this blue body slide is a near-flat straight section and may need a bit of effort for riders to get going, but the slide picks up a bit once inside the dark area of the flume. There’s nothing very intense about this slide outside of not being able to see ahead of you along the way due to the darkness, making some turns sudden. It’s also one of the only two slides that end in the pool that connects to the lazy river.
Sitting to the left of Pirate’s Plunder is Silver Beard’s Revenge, the park’s wide inner-tube bowl slide. It begins with a gradual, yet easy drop into the bowl section where sliders complete an impressive amount of revolutions before coming into the exit in the middle. Exiting the slide involves a steep drop into a dark section and completing a U-turn before splashing into the shutdown lane at the end. The slide itself is quick on the drop, yet very gentle for the entire slide (minus the small drop upon exiting the bowl). It’s the most popular ride in the entire water park, with the longest wait of all slides.
To the left side of Silver Beard’s Revenge is the park’s normal enclosed inner tube slide, Jolly Roger Jetty. The first half of this slide consists of a left turn followed by a right helix in complete darkness. The slide’s tunnel then protrudes out of the water park, shining more light inside, and does two helixes to the left before coming back inside to land in the pool connected to the lazy river.
The last of the water slides is the park’s most intense, Scallywag Scuttle. This body slide was designed to fit the tight space near the roof, which made for a tight and quick initial turning drop out of the platform before continuing the rest of the slide and splashing into the shutdown lane at the end. Thanks to the drop from the station, Scallywag Scuttle has a quicker speed throughout the entire slide compared to the other slides.
Overall, the water park had a very decent collection of water park attractions and slides for a park of its size. I found myself especially enjoying a few laps around the gentle lazy river that winds under the slide structure, around paths, and under different themed fountains and dump buckets and shower curtains along the way. It is far from a water park that would provide thrill seekers a place to get their fix at, but it does have one element that many of the closest water park to it doesn’t have: A roof
It’s a heavy-hitter for families with young children, and made up the majority of goups at the park during my visit.
Jolly Roger Jetty: 7/10
Pirate’s Plunder: 7/10
Scallywag Scuttle: 8/10
Silver Beard’s Revenge: 8/10
Overall water park rating: 7/10
Eventually you make it to a more quiet corner of the amusement park where the new ProSlide complex was placed, along with a small splash and fountain area for smaller children, a new large restroom stall, an extra Dippin’ Dots stand and a roofed area containing free Pepsi drink stalls and a pretzel stand. The area was fairly quiet upon arrival considering it was far from most of the other water slides in the park, but as the day went on, people began to migrate more towards it and that’s when the lines really filled up.
Hyena Falls is yet another water slide complex built by ProSlide company for Holiday World Splashin’ Safari. On the lower deck are three enclosed inner tube slides named Chuckles, Giggles, and Tee-Hee. The slides vary in having helixes or regular turns, but each one has a section that has riders coming out of an enclosed section and down a dip to gain a bit more speed before coming back into a tunnel. They’re fairly short, but can pick up some fair speed when riding with a partner.
On the upper deck sits a specialty slide, the new ProSlide Wave named Laughs. This particular slide is longer than the three previous ones, and has a larger tunnel to accomodate ProSlide’s special two-seater whirly wheel inner tubes and larger single-person inner tubes. It begins with an s-bend curve before coming down a fast drop into the slide’s main centerpiece, which is a halfpipe element that is completely rounded to give a smooth, zero-gravity experience when riding up and down the wall. The exit from the element did have minor jarring due to the inner tube riding over rough waters at the bottom and coming quickly towards the edge of the flume before slowing down, but nothing to cause any discomfort from the floating sensation one receives on this slide in particular.
dry-side of the park. Coming from the Thanksgiving area later in the day, I noticed that the park had silently removed two inner-tube slides that used to sit near the entrance of the water park, their names AmaZOOM and Bamboo Chute.
(*Edit [May 7, 2014]: It has been confirmed that both AmaZOOM and Bamboo Chute were relocated to the Lake Rudolph campgrounds next door where it now operates as Santa’s Splash Down.)
Jungle Racer: 7/10
Part of Norwegian Cruise’s newest fleets, the Norwegian Breakaway is one of the latest and most unique cruise ships ever built. Having first set sail in May of 2013, the Norwegian Breakaway has been making many voyages in and out of New York City to destinations such as Bermuda, Orlando, Nassau, and multiple private islands. The ship itself is decked out to give the appeal and atmosphere of New York City itself, with many shows, restaurants, bars, clubs, and other areas of the ship themed to the big apple.
First, the family slide is the smallest water slide on the ship, and consists of an open flume figure 8-like layout before coming to the shutdown lane on deck 16. The slide is nothing special, though if one slides down it correctly, they can reach some impressive speeds and come flying high on the curves! This slide has the lowest height requirement, so little kids can enjoy it the most, while many of those who are tall enough can brave the more thrilling slides.
The next couple of slides start many stories above deck 17 and has a very quick spiral all the way down. The Whip slides are two dual yellow and purple tunneled body slides that consist of a few left helixes downward, starting from opposite ends and meeting in the same area side-by-side with their own shutdown lanes. The turn on both slides become tighter the further down the slider goes, giving the illusion that one is significantly increasing speeds, but the feeling of pulling more g’s. This is especially noticeable in the purple flume due to it having a slightly longer course and the tightest radius near the bottom, allowing very impressive g’s to be reached for those that go down fast enough!
The last of the slides is one of the tallest, fastest, most intense, and most spectacular on a ship. Free Fall are two dual aqualoop water slides, the first of its kind ever built on any cruise ship. The slide consists of a trap door beginning, where a countdown is given by a speaker in the capsule before the floor gives way and allows the sliders to come to a freefall start in the tunnel and reach very fast speeds, before rocketing up an upward incline (an angled loop) and coming to an end in the splashdown lane. These very fast water slides are definitely the most spectacular to ride, but also to watch due to the translucent tunnels that allow people on and off the ship to see riders go up the “loop” portion.
Oftentimes, people would valley on the slide (not make it all the way through the inclined loop) due to reasons that range from being too light, to wearing certain clothes, like shirts, that slow down the rider. (I, myself, have valleyed once on one of them) Luckily, the escape hatch at the bottom of the drop is left open so the slider can climb out and wait for an operator to come and get them from a platform before resetting the slide.
Along with the slides, there are two bars, multiple jacuzzis, and two pools for people to enjoy, plus an area for the very small children to play in with a small slide and large Spongebob Squarepants figures placed around.
The Aqua Park on the Norwegian Breakaway definitely has one of the most unique water park complexes ever built, especially considering the fact that it was placed on the top of a cruise ship. The best part is that plenty of fun can be had on it by not only kids, but teens and adults seeking something to satisfy their taste for extreme and thrilling. The Norwegian Breakaway is one of the only few ships that can offer this kind of experience in addition to sailing to the multiple ports offered.
A very sunny morning about an hour after the park had opened had some light, but very good crowds. The majority of visitors were large groups of very excited children on field trips, but the rest were mostly teens and adults looking for a very nice day out in the sun.
I spent about a few hours in the water park and had myself a pretty good time. I spent most of my time sliding down the slides since I didn’t really feel like bothering with the wave pool. With this visit, I was able to compare what the park would be like with a crowd. The splitting of the staircase for body sliders on the left, inner tubers on the right was a very nice idea and allowed for body sliders to bypass those with inner tubes and head straight to the slide of their choice. The top of the complex was much less organized though, with people standing in random locations unsure what line they might be in for the slide they want. It takes a bit of squeezing-by other people sometimes to be able to reach the slide of your choice.
The slides themselves were just about the same as the last visit, except that the slide surfaces were cleaner and smoother, and the water felt slightly warmer than my first visit in the cold. One very noticeable change was in the enclosed body slide where I had mentioned that the second helix on the slide previously had back-scratching, which wasn’t felt on this visit!
So, I’m happy to say that this visit turned out to be a better visit compared to the last, and the water park was doing much better than it was earlier this summer! I can definitely recommend this water park if you’re ever in the Louisville of Clarksville areas and want to get your feet wet, just be sure to avoid weekends since those are the busiest times for the park. Also, if you want to avoid additional charges for locker use, bring your own locks!