Zip lines – gravity-propelled, off-the-ground pulley and cable systems – are booming in popularity and are in high demand as cruise shore excursions. The cruise lines meet their guests’ desire to zip through the air, offering zip line adventures in many ports around the globe. It’s a great way to see scenery – forest canopies, mountains, remote waterfalls – that would be difficult to see from a lower vantage point.
Zip lines had humble beginnings, serving as practical transportation down mountains or across river valleys. Today, most zip lines are used for entertainment and adventure: riders say the feeling is something like flying. Reputable zip line operators follow careful procedures; steel cables and strong harnesses assure comfort and safety, along with an exhilarating experience.
Since 2007, more than 40,000 cruise ship guests have ridden the zip line at Icy Strait Point in Hoonah, Alaska, where the adventure begins with a scenic ride up the mountain (keep an eye out for bears!). At 1,300 feet above sea level, guests are secured into special harness seats. Six zip lines run side-by-side, so you can glide along with family members and friends, although it may not be possible to ensure you all go the same pace.
Icy Strait Point’s zip lines are more than a mile long, and the 1,300-foot vertical drop means you can reach speeds of 60 mph or more. You’ll be above the treetops most of the way, with stunning views of Icy Strait and Port Frederick: you may even spot majestic bald eagles or whales.
Two of the most important things you can do prepare for your ride are: wear closed shoes that will stay securely on your feet; and, listen carefully to all instructions, including how to stop!
Some zip line adventures are combine with rope courses to provide a fitness challenge, and some include a hike up to the starting point. Be sure that you’re in proper shape for the zip line excursion you choose: an experienced travel agent should be able to provide more information. Zip lining is not recommended for people who are uncomfortable with heights, who are pregnant, or who have back injuries. Many zip lines have height, age, and/or weight requirements as well.
To find out where you can go zip lining on your next cruise, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
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