Royal Caribbean International is permanently closing the Sky Pad feature on all ships that have the unique activity, with plans to replace it with new, complimentary activities that will take place in the distinctive yellow sphere. The announcement was made in an email to travel advisors, and will be effective from March 31, 2023.
Sky Pad to Close
The Sky Pad is a Virtual Reality bungee trampoline experience, where guests don VR masks and jump with the aid of bungee cords and harnesses. As they jump, they “see” their progress and remarkable leaps inside their choice of VR world.
Guests also have the option to enjoy the experience without wearing the VR masks, and instead see the great ocean views around them as they jump.
These experiences are now being retired, and travel advisors have been informed of the closure via an email about Sky Pad programming changes.
“Starting in April, the Sky Pad will retire the bungee Virtual Reality experience and become a versatile new venue for exciting onboard activities,” the email read.
Travel advisors are being urged to review all their in-house marketing materials to ensure advertising and other promotional materials are updated to reflect the closure.
The email does not indicate that the yellow sphere with its cutout views will be removed, but only that new activities will be offered in the space. “All of the activities hosted in the Sky Pad venue will continue to be complimentary and included in your client’s cruise fare,” the email clarified.
This also confirms that new options will soon be made available, and will not be accompanied by a la carte charges or extra fees. No timeline or exact date has been announced for when new options will debut.
Ships With Sky Pad Venues
The first Sky Pad debuted aboard Independence of the Seas in spring 2018, during the ship’s “Royal Amplification” renovation.
Subsequently, the attraction was added to Mariner of the Seas in June 2018, and was incorporated into Spectrum of the Seas and Odyssey of the Seas as well. Now, all four ships will close the venue and discontinue the activity.
While undoubtedly popular when open, Sky Pad has had its share of difficulties. The activity cannot be operated during poor weather or windy conditions, and many cruisers have reported it is closed more often than open on many sailings. When it is open, lines can be lengthy due to the need for harness adjustments for each guest.
In 2019, the attraction was temporarily suspended on all ships after safety concerns and a guest injury on Mariner of the Seas‘ Sky Pad, when a harness failed.
What May Replace Sky Pad?
Royal Caribbean has given no hints about what may replace the Sky Pad venues, or what activities could take place in the unique space. Because the email specifically states that “the bungee Virtual Reality experience” is to be retired, there is a slight possibility that the trampolines will remain, but without the VR component.
More likely is that the sphere could become another sun deck of sorts, or may be converted into another adrenaline-inducing option. In time, the sphere structure may be removed completely.
The venue might also be used for on-deck exercise classes, dance parties, deck games, or other activities, changing options throughout each cruise itinerary.
Read Also: 7 Unusual Things You Can Do on a Cruise Ship
Royal Caribbean ships are well-known for many amazing thrills, including the FlowRider surf simulators, iFly skydiving simulators, waterslides, climbing walls, ice rinks, escape rooms, zip lines, laser tag, bumper cars, and much more. The exact features and activities vary on different ships.