Here Are 5 New Features Aboard Australia's Voyager Of The Seas That Will Change The Way You Think About Cruising

Flow Rider wave machine. Photo: Royal Caribbean

Attitudes toward cruising are often anchored at the extreme ends of the spectrum: you either profoundly love it or you harbour an intense resistance. However, a new wave of innovative concepts and technologies is bridging the gap for objectors.

The move to a more tech-driven environment is part of a trend to attract new markets, such as families and younger travellers, and capitalising on the increasing popularity of cruising in Australia.

In 2013 the Australian cruise industry generated $1.72 billion in direct economic expenditure, according to a report commissioned by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia. The 2013 Cruise Industry Source Market Report, released in June, revealed Australia was the worldwide leader for industry market growth and penetration, surpassing North America for the first time ever.

Royal Caribbean’s mega cruise ship, Voyager of the Seas, has been dry docked in Singapore for the past month, receiving a multi-million dollar makeover.

The refurbishment is not just a refresh of the ship’s existing offerings, there’s a heap of innovative new features and amenities that will alter some of the preconceived notions you may have about cruising.

Here are some of the new additions to Voyager of the Seas.

Virtual reality balconies

Value seeking guests often opt for the interior staterooms, planning to spend most of their time outside their room. However, even if you manage to avoid spending most of your time inside your quarters, chances are you'll still have mild feelings of claustrophobia when sleeping in the windowless chambers. Now there's a technological solution that aims to give your interior room a whole new atmosphere - virtual reality balconies.

These floor to ceiling screens display what you would see in real-time if you were lucky enough to be staying in a ocean-view room with a balcony. Cameras positioned on the side of the ship continually record and beam back the video to the in-room displays. While you can't replace a fresh sea breeze, the virtual balconies do provide an added sense of space and reprieve.

And if you'd rather not see the sea, you can always turn it off.

Flow Rider wave machine

Since you're surrounded by sea for the entirety of your journey, it seems only fitting that there be an option to surf. You can try busting some technical moves like the lazy boy, drop knee, boogie shuvit, baseball catcher or a heel side stall.

The 12 metre-long surf simulator, which will be located on the top deck of the ship, also has stadium seating with awesome wipeout views. Use of the machine is included in the cost of your cruise and there's no reservation required. You can also try a private lesson for a nominal charge. Just be prepared to line up.

Outdoor cinema and indoor 3D movie theatre

Imagine grabbing a free-poured cocktail or ice cold beer, jumping in a heated spa and kicking back while you watch the latest sports. Voyager of the Seas will install a 20.5 sqm poolside cinema screen on the upper deck of the vessel so you can do just that.

Another addition to the ship's entertainment inventory is a giant 3D cinema, showing a bunch of the latest films on a daily basis. This popular technology will appeal to children, with DreamWorks providing new animated titles for the experience, adding another dimension of sensory recreation at sea.

Branded Restaurants

Ocean liners have found it tough to shirk the stigma of the all-you-can-eat buffet but a new fine dining trend is rapidly developing within the cruise industry. While you'll still be able to stuff your face at the smorgasbord, Voyager of the Seas will offer a few new branded restaurant options onboard, including Giovanni's Table Italian trattoria, Chop's Grille steakhouse and Izumi Japanese Cuisine.

For a one-off fee you can dine at one of these specialty restaurants and really add some value to your holiday. There's also a ton of new bar and lounge options which are more trendy than the previous cliche offerings.

Digital way-finders

New digital signage provides a much-needed modern feel to the ship and is genuinely helpful in giving you a real-time breakdown about what’s happening on-board and where to find things.

Voyager of the Seas is a monstrous ship and can be incredibly daunting to navigate, so these uncomplicated touchscreen way-finders will go over well with guests of all ages.

Voyager of the Seas returns to Sydney on 8 December 2014 for the 2014/2015 wave season.

NOW READ: A Sneak Peek At The Futuristic Cruise Ships That Will Hit The Seas This Year

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.