I craned my neck to look up at the green capsule, and the human silhouette within it. The shadow hovered for a moment before the floor beneath gave way and it disappeared down a long and decidedly vertical tube. On the upper deck of Norwegian Getaway, conversation revolved around this particular waterslide, known as Freefall: One day, I passed a teenager and his aunt pledging to tackle Freefall together. I saw them again later.
Norwegian Getaway sports five water slides of differing speed, incline and garish colour Credit: The piece de resistance, however, is the ropes course, where braver souls than I wobbled their way across beams, ladders and tightropes suspended ft above the Caribbean Sea. And when I say braver souls, I mean almost everyone: Halfway through our seven-day sailing from Miami — stopping at resort-style islands off the coast of Honduras, Belize and Mexico — I realised that the thermal hooded capes hanging on a rail near the grand staircase were not emergency wear for the crew.
Why anyone who had chosen a Caribbean cruise should opt for voluntary hypothermia was baffling, but I saw one couple stick it out for more than half an hour.
The ship's vibrantly colourful atrium Credit: Kathy and Jenny, a mother and daughter from North Dakota, told me they always travel with Norwegian now. West End-grade shows such as Burn the Floor and Million Dollar Quartet, and a steampunk dinner theatre called the Illusionarium that could win an Olivier Award for set design. You can order king crab but the coffee was, in my opinion, uniformly terrible unless you paid for a Lavazza cappuccino served complementary at mealtimes — and then it was only mildly disappointing.
NCL was the first cruise ship to shake off formal dining Credit: Comprehensively one-upping it was Harvest Caye, which we reached 24 hours later. The entire island was purpose-built for cruise ships. A couple of years ago there was nothing here but mud: The 60 best cruise journeys for After a tranquil afternoon on shore, it took a little time to reattune to the barrage of sounds around the central decks, particularly the atrium, where there always seemed to be some sort of audience gameshow going on.
Even the incredibly well appointed spa — whose salt room, steam room and multiple saunas positively gleamed with health — had a way of amplifying noise so that the hydrotherapy pool sounded like Niagara Falls. The staterooms themselves are a comparative oasis: There are more free movies cunningly hidden among the pay-per-view list if you go digging.
Other free dining options are a noodle bar, an ersatz Irish pub, and three a la carte-style evening restaurants. There are close to 30 restaurants on board, including a steakhouse, a sushi bar, and a fine dining seafood restaurant, that require you to pay considerable supplements to eat there.
Many of the passengers I met avoided them because of the cost. Roatan Bay, a Honduran island only four miles wide Credit: Amazing how the spirit of the Getaway can infect you.
On our final shore day, at Cozumel, I had joined an excursion offering the mid-octane thrills of quadbiking through the Mexican jungle: It was a 30ft drop, but the water was deep, he assured us and perfectly safe.
With the encouragement of a dozen Getaway-ers, I tombstoned into that ancient spot of carnage — and I loved it. Follow the Telegraph Travel news.