Royal Caribbean has a strong reputation as one of the most innovative cruise lines in the world.
And perhaps their most famous innovation is the FlowRider surf simulator found on several vessels in their fleet.
On my first cruise as a 13-year-old, I spent nearly every moment boogie boarding on the top deck of the cruise ship.
If you’re looking forward to trying your hand at surfing or are a little nervous about the sport, here’s what you need to know about the Royal Caribbean FlowRider.
What is the FlowRider?
The FlowRider is a wave-shaped device that sends a thin layer of water over the surface. The 12-meter FlowRider simulates a continuous wave, allowing passengers to boogie board or “flowboard” (similar to surfing but on a smaller board) for extended periods.
The FlowRider on Royal Caribbean uses high-speed jets to propel 30,000 gallons of water at speeds of 20 miles per hour.
While surfing takes some athletic ability and practice, boogie boarding was so easy that after a couple of runs, we felt like professionals.
The FlowRider was first created as a land-based attraction. But a partnership with Royal Caribbean means you can find the activity on several Royal Caribbean ships.
Which Royal Caribbean ships have a FlowRider?
It’s safe to say that the FlowRider is a top-rated attraction. The cruise line has included the ride on every new ship since it debuted on Freedom of the Seas in 2006.
Royal Caribbean’s fleet has even added FlowRiders to several older vessels as part of its Royal Amplified program.
Here’s a list of Royal Caribbean ships that offer a FlowRider:
- Freedom of the Seas
- Liberty of the Seas
- Independence of the Seas
- Oasis of the Seas (two FlowRiders)
- Allure of the Seas (two FlowRiders)
- Harmony of the Seas (two FlowRiders)
- Symphony of the Seas (two FlowRiders)
- Quantum of the Seas
- Anthem of the Seas
- Ovation of the Seas
- Navigator of the Seas
- Voyager of the Seas
- Explorer of the Seas
- Adventure of the Seas
- Mariner of the Seas
- Odyssey of the Seas
- Wonder of the Seas
How Much Does the Royal Caribbean FlowRider Cost?
There’s no cost to use the FlowRider on Royal Caribbean.
You can ride the FlowRider on the Royal Caribbean cruise line as often as you like without paying a fee. You just have to wait your turn in line.
Before waiting your turn in line, you’ll have to visit the nearby office for an essential safety briefing. The staff member will provide an overview of the ride along with basic safety information.
Once you’ve completed the safety overview and signed the release waiver, you’ll receive a wristband that lets ride staff know you’ve completed the safety briefing.
Although riding is free if you want to avoid the crowds and improve your skills you can book private lessons. The lessons cost $60 per person. Each class puts you in a group of four to eight guests and lasts about an hour.
You can book the lessons at the office where you receive your wristband and sometimes from the Royal Caribbean Cruise Planner.
You can also book the FlowRider for private groups. Skilled guests who can load themselves onto the simulator can book the ride for $345. And groups requiring assistance or instruction can book at the cost of $552.
Though you might want to splurge for private lessons, we don’t think renting the entire ride is worth the price. That is unless you have a large group who loves to surf or boogie board.
What are the Restrictions for Using the FlowRider?
Guests who wish to ride the FlowRider on Royal Caribbean must be at least 52″ (132 cm) tall to use the bodyboard and 58″ (147 cm) tall to flowboard (stand-up surfing).
In our experience, we’ve never seen a weight restriction specifically mentioned.
On the ride, no footwear, eyewear, or cameras are allowed. And yes, that includes go-pros.
FlowRider Tips & Tricks
If you’ve never been on the FlowRider, here are our tips to make the most of the ride:
- Make sure you wear clothing that won’t easily come off. The high-speed water often causes “wardrobe malfunctions.” Men should wear bathing suits with a string, and women should consider wearing a one-piece suit over a bikini.
- You’ll often find long lineups at the FlowRider. Embarkation days, mornings, and port days tend to be less crowded.
- While there aren’t any time limits to using the ride, we recommend being courteous to other passengers. When riders spend too long on the ride, the sports staff will challenge the rider to try more advanced tricks until they fall.
- Hours of operation are different each day. Check your cruise compass to find out when the ride will be open.
- During the cruise, you might find teen-only or adult-only times. With restricted guests participating, the lines are usually shorter.
- If you need help or advice, don’t be afraid to ask the ride staff. They are always friendly and ready to provide guidance if needed.
- If you are trying to surf, shift your weight to your rear leg for balance, and use your front foot to steer.
- Never try to stand up on a boogie board. It’s unsafe and against the rules.
Does the FlowRider Have Age and Height Restrictions?
Riders must be 52″ tall to boogie board and 58″ tall for stand-up surfing. Fortunately for riders, there aren’t any age or weight restrictions.
What is the Weight Restriction to Ride the FlowRider?
Although there might be a weight restriction to ride the FlowRider, we’ve never seen it displayed on the ship or on Royal Caribbean’s website.
What Are the Hours of Operation for the FlowRider?
The FlowRider hours of operation vary throughout the cruise. Fortunately, it is open for several hours each day. You can check the Cruise Compass for the next day’s time slots.
How do You Sign up to Ride the FlowRider?
Before lining up for the Flowrider, you must visit the nearby office to sign a waiver and receive some basic safety information. After all that, you will receive a wristband allowing entry to the ride.
How Long Does the FlowRider Ride Last?
There’s no time limit to rides on the FlowRider. You can ride as long as you last on your board. If you fall off right away, you can get back in line to try again.
If you are a pro and don’t fall, the ride staff will challenge you until you fall off. On average, a ride lasts between two to four minutes.
Does it Hurt if you Fall on the FlowRider?
Eventually, you will wipe out on the FlowRider. Luckily, the padded floor and flowing water help to break your fall. That said, it is an extreme sport, and there is always a risk of injury.
When you fall, it’s best to tuck in your head and arms to avoid injury.
What Should I Wear For The FlowRider?
The FlowRider is known to cause occasional “wardrobe malfunctions.” The fast-moving water can catch clothing and pull-down shorts and tops.
To avoid an embarrassing mishap, we recommend guys wear a bathing suit with a tightly pulled string, and girls wear a one-piece suit or a top and swim trunks.
Is the FlowRider Safe?
Though fun for all ages, the FlowRider is an inherently dangerous extreme sport. When you ride the attraction, you must be aware that there is a risk of injury, mostly from falling.