Last month, the fifth official Star Trek Cruise return to port after a seven-day voyage. On board to document the experience was a TrekMovie contributor and the host of the Hungry Trilobyte PodcastAaron Bossig who is a cruise regular.
More than a floating Trek convention
Star Trek: The Cruise V departed Port Canaveral, FL on February 26, 2022. The event took place on Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas, a Voyager-class cruise ship in service since 2003. The itinerary included three ports of call: Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten. Unlike other times the Mariner left Florida, that day all of its 1,600 cabins were filled with Star Trek fans. The personnel wore Starfleet uniforms. The wall art had been altered to depict Starfleet captains. The elevators had been redesigned to look like turbolifts. Sailing towards the horizon, the ship‘s audio system played Star Trek themes by Jay Chattaway and Jerry Goldsmith.
As much as the cruise ship had been turned into a space fantasy, taking a Star Trek convention to the seas also transforms the convention. Now, not only do fans travel to the convention, but the convention also travels with them around the world. Star Trek: The Cruise is a very special convention experience, due to its unique ability to create atmosphere, present unique events, and allow fans to experience a new Trek despite the remoteness of Earth’s shores.
From the moment someone is allowed to board, they can live as if they were part of the world of Star Trek. STTC aims to make its convention its own ship and crew, and the level of camaraderie between shipmates is amazing. Uniforms and cosplay are everywhere. A ship at sea is its own world. Traveling between ports, there’s no outside world to interrupt the fun for Trek fans sharing good times and stories. Star Trek: The Cruise travels with a full cast of Trek guest celebrities, including actors from all series as well as writers and artists. At the top of the list is always the “captain” of STTC, and on Star Trek: The Cruise V, fans had not one but two Star Trek captains: George Takei and Sonequa Martin-Green.
Further enhancing the Trek packaging put on this cruise ship, the normal cruise themed parties had been replaced with Star Trek equivalents. The first party, usually a very casual time, was dubbed “Gorn’s Toga Party” and passengers traveled to early parties and pub crawls wearing Trek-themed togas and pajamas. The following night, often the semi-formal evening of a cruise, was called “The Roaring Holodeck”. Guests wore 1920s-inspired costumes, and since anything is possible on the Holodeck, most added a Star Trek touch to their outfits. The formal night, often the third night, became “Mirror Universe Night”. Savage makeup, armor and sashes filled the ship as fans rocked out in fancy dress for the glory of the Terran Empire.
For passengers looking for autographs and photos, Star Trek: The Cruise V had an impressive scheduling system. Because a cruise passenger list is considerably smaller than attending most land-based conventions, getting something signed up was a much faster process with wait times typically under 15 minutes. Guests could bring their own items to sign, buy something from the Federation Trading Post gift shop, or have the celebrity sign the same photo taken on the ship, thanks to instant-print digital photos and strategic planning of autograph sessions. after the photo shoots. Autograph and photo ops are charged separately from cruise accommodation.
Star Trek: The Cruise offers something no regular convention can in the form of shore excursions. At each of the three ports of call, more than a dozen different shore activities are offered (at an additional cost). Snorkeling, jeep tours, and ATV exploration are just three examples, and sometimes these events are hosted by Star Trek celebrities themselves.
Be unconventional with Star Trek celebrities
STTC elevates the level of engagement with fans, providing more intimate events and showcasing the talents of invited celebrities beyond their appearances on the television series. It’s ideal for fans who continue to follow the Trek actors’ careers and are familiar with their social media contributions. It’s also one of the best convention experiences to hear from talent behind the camera, such as writers, science advisers, and artists.
A good example was Denise Crosby reading her pandemic writing project, “The Muses.” A series of short stories, Denise’s work revolved around classic archetypes (child, mother, old, etc.) but featured modern stories that instantly captured audiences. With only a few minutes for each, it was remarkable how Denise’s writing was able to draw the audience into each tale. To further enhance the event, artist Megan Levens sat behind Denise, sketching out her take on the “muse” of the story.
live under the public gaze.
On Thursday evening, John de Lancie staged a staging of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Lost World’…suited for a stage with too few props and an audience with too many cocktails. The cast including John Billingsley, Nana Visitor, Conner Trinneer and Robert Picardo performed the comedy in a wardrobe modified from their cruise clothes. The result was a sense of seasoned actors doing what they do best: feeding off their own creative energy and adding new life to any storyline given to them.
Garrett Wang, long known for being a top notch emcee at conventions around the world, has taken his stage presence to new heights. In his stand-up comedy number “You Have Two Working Feet,” he captured the same energy he used to tell jokes to his fans and developed it into a full comedy routine. Most remarkably, much of its material was drawn from events that happened during the trip – so unlike other stand-up comics, its bits aren’t practiced for weeks or months, making Garrett’s style a lively blend of practiced routines and pure improvisation.
As if the Star Trek: The Cruise experience wasn’t unique enough, later that evening fans gathered at the Royal Theater for an early screening of the season premiere of Star Trek: Picard. It’s become more than a surveillance party. With the rest of the world still hours away from having access to the episode, Isa Briones welcomed cruise passengers to the new season and remarked on how wonderful it was to be able to hear audiences react in person, rather than on Zoom. Isa was also joined by Picard actors Evan Evagora and John de Lancie to introduce the new season to the audience packed into the 1,300 seat theater who greeted the premiere with cheers and applause creating a rare fun community event to watch an episode. from Star Trek.
Every cruise gets bigger
Just as traditional Earth conventions grew in popularity and scope, so did Star Trek: The Cruise. Each voyage has seen an increase in fan attendance and celebrity attendance, as well as ship size and destination variety. For many, the STTC has become their annual convention of choice, and it’s impossible to walk around the ship and not see people wearing shirts and hats from previous cruises.
Star Trek: The Cruise VI will depart from Los Angeles, California on February 24, 2023. Kate Mulgrew has agreed to be the Trek captain for the upcoming event. Joining here are a number of Star Trek celebrities from across the franchise, including Jonathan Frakes, Doug Jones, Terry Farrell, Robert Picardo, Connor Trinneer and many more.
Staterooms are still available with prices starting at $1980 per guest (for new guests, with a discount for returning cruisers). For more information visit startrekthecruise.com.