Norwegian Escape cruisers are learning the ropes

Norwegian Escape ropes adventure course.

Norwegian Cruise Line has developed its own signature top deck attraction, one that will emerge in a spectacular way in the coming weeks on the Norwegian Escape.

Just as Carnival Cruise Line has made the water slide its own, and Royal Caribbean International adopted the rock climbing wall as its emblem for top deck adventure, Norwegian has become the cruise line with the ropes course that leaves all others behind.

Norwegian started its love affair with the ropes course on the Norwegian Epic, and has continued it with the Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway. The 4,200-passenger Norwegian Escape, due in Miami next month, will take everything one shaky, scary, thrill-inducing step further.

The ropes course on the Escape is a dizzying construction of beams, platforms, tracks, ladders and lines. It will have three levels, up from two on the Getaway and Breakaway, and 99 individual elements, nearly double its predecessors.

An element unique to Norwegian is the Plank, a 6-inch steel beam extending eight feet out over the side of the ship, daring harnessed plank-walkers to venture out to the end.

There will be two planks on the Escape, one on either side of the ropes course, up from a single one on earlier ships.

Another over the edge element will be a bowed zip-track, one of five “Sky Rails” that are included in the course.

The challenge of the ropes course is tailor-made for teens but also a good family activity. It provides an exhilarating view from the very top of the 20-deck ship.

The only drawback to the ropes course is its vulnerability to bad weather, including high winds on a sunny day.

Other cruise lines have ropes courses, too, including four of Carnival Cruise Lines’ most recent vessels. The MSC Seaside from MSC Cruises is expected to have a unique take on ropes when it is delivered in 2017.

But for now, when the Norwegian Escape arrives in Miami in late October, spectators won’t be able to mistake her profile for any other ship, partly because of the most elaborate ropes course at sea.

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