When you think about cruise ship activities you probably think about people eating, sunbathing, or maybe taking part in a quiz or a dance class.
I doubt you think about an activity where you have to sign a waiver that says that you understand the activity is inherently dangerous and that you accept all risk of injury, disability or death.
That’s exactly what I did on my last cruise.
What is iFly by Ripcord on Royal Caribbean Cruises?
iFly by Ripcord is a skydiving simulator found on multiple Royal Caribbean ships as well as on land in skydiving venues. The simulators are roughly 10 ft wide and 23ft tall. The fans push the air at roughly 160km per hour.
When I booked a cruise onboard Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas I knew that there would be the chance to do things onboard like surfing, rock climbing and bumper cars.
I didn’t know how skydiving on a cruise ship could possibly work, and even if it did would I want to do it?
I knew that you, reading this, would want me to give it a go but I also had visions of me massively embarrassing myself and not being able to show my face on a cruise ship ever again.
The iFly is Back of The Ship and Visible From Land
When I got on board it didn’t take long for me to find this. This is RipCord by iFly and apparently, this is what real skydivers use to practice.
For the first couple of days of my cruise, I saw other people giving it a go but I was way too nervous to book it myself.
My friend Morgan who’s done it in the past sent me a message that said:
He did have a good point I suppose, videos of people falling off flow riders always get lots of views so I figured the same would be true of skydiving.
I of course didn’t want that to happen though. I still needed an extra push to get me to book it.
Is There a Charge to Use iFly on Royal Caribbean Cruises?
There usually is a charge to use iFly on Royal Caribbean cruises. This ranges from $29.99 – $49.99 depending on demand. There are also opportunities to try the iFly for free on many cruises.
For most of our cruise, the ifly was $29.99 but when I went on the Royal Caribbean app one evening I saw complimentary spaces.
If you know me at all, you’ll know that complimentary is my kind of price so I decided to bite the buffet so to speak and I booked it.
It felt like a sign, I had to do it now.
How Can You Use The iFly For Free?
Complimentary tickets for the iFly are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. They didn’t become available until day 3 of our 7-night cruise and there is no guarantee that they ever will become available.
Speaking to the crew they told us that the complimentary spaces were released onto the Royal Caribbean app at 8 pm each evening and that this is when we should check.
You do have to book fast to get a complimentary space.
I Was So Nervous at Arrival
When I arrived to check-in for my time slot I was really nervous, my heart was beating so fast and I could tell that some of the other passengers in my group were nervous too.
We did have quite a few people who had skydived out of actual planes in our group and they said that this would be easy, that didn’t really make me feel any better though.
I’ve never been skydiving before or had an interest in it.
All Guests Are Weighed Before Using The iFly
The first thing we had to do was to be weighed and to sign the waiver.
If you’re under 6 feet tall the maximum weight limit is 230 pounds, and if you’re over 6 foot the weight limit is 250 pounds.
|6ft or Over||250lbs|
We did have people turned away at this stage.
I passed the weight test and the flexibility test where you had to show that you could bend backwards and we were put into a little room to learn the position that we needed and the hand signals that we would use.
We Were Placed Into Groups of 10
It was at this point that I realised that everybody else in the group would be watching me as I did the skydive, which just made me more nervous.
I didn’t realise then though just how many people would be out on the top deck watching.
Until this point I had on purpose avoided watching too many other people doing it, I thought I’d never do it if I did that.
We Put on The Flysuits
After we had learnt the hand signals we moved on to the next area where we were kitted up with this fly suit that went over our clothes.
We also had earplugs in, glasses on and this big helmet.
I did see some people head butting the edge of the tube so I hoped that wouldn’t be me.
I did my best to go toward the start of the line because I thought waiting longer would just make me more nervous. We all filed into this seating area and sat looking at everybody who was watching us.
The first couple of people ahead of me did well but I was so nervous. I’d also drank a LOT of diet coke during this cruise because I had a soda package and I thought to myself, this would be a terrible time to need to the toilet.
You Have to Fall Forward to Start
When my go came I walked to the door and saw our instructor there. You have to stand with your legs apart and your arms up, then fall forward into the air.
That really isn’t a natural feeling usually your body wants to stop you from just face planting the ground but the air did do its thing and I tried to remember everything they had taught me about the position that we needed.
How Long Does Each Guest Get in The iFly?
Each person gets 60 seconds in the tube which might not sound like a lot but when you’re focusing so hard on the position of your feet, your chin and your hands it is plenty.
I was trying to smile too but the air on my face it was so weird.
The instructor did the best he could to try and move me into the right position. You do have to be happy with somebody touching your thighs and things if you do a skydive like this.
It’s for your own safety really or you’ll fall down onto the fan or maybe smash into the sides.
I Managed to Hold The Position
I did manage to stay still by myself and went what felt to me, like very high.
I realised afterwards when the instructor had a go that I wasn’t really very high at all, but looking down at a giant dark fan that stretched as far as I could see, it felt like I was miles high.
The instructor was doing a hand signal where he was spreading out his fingers and we hadn’t learnt that one in the lesson before so I was confused.
I think he literally just meant to spread my hands out though because when I did that he gave me a thumbs up.
As soon as I managed to stay still the instructor clapped and everybody else did too.
I really couldn’t see much of anybody else though the only person I could see was a photographer taking very unflattering photos from below.
Most of The Flight Was Spent Trying to Get Into The Right Position
It was probably around 55 seconds into my 60 second flight time that I thought ‘I’ve got this, this is fun’.
The instructor spans me around and put my hands at the door so that I could pull myself through.
I didn’t really realise how loud the skydiving part was until I left that door and it felt like the world went completely silent.
When I sat down I was so full of adrenaline and I felt so relieved. My body was aching, it was like I’d done a full-body workout in 60 seconds but I would do it again.
The same cannot be said for the FlowRider, I tried to surf the simulator on Independence of the Seas way back in 2017 and I had no intention of ever doing it again which I think says a lot.
Watch this video next to see how I go on the FlowRider. I think you’ll understand why once was enough.