I went to the first official Star Trek Cruise, part of the Star Trek 50th Anniversary celebrations, and I had the time of my life. This was my first Star Trek convention and my first time cruising. This floating con was advertised as seven days of immersive Star Trek experiences, surrounded by actors, artists, and science fiction enthusiasts, all hosted by William Shatner.
This was a vacation I had planned (and saved for) for almost two years. My partner and I had to fly across the country and book a hotel room a day prior and a day after the cruise in case of winter storms. If you are planning to go to the 2018 cruise I would suggest you factor in those expenses, and allow yourself extra travel time, since some people missed the first day of the cruise due to delayed flights and some others lost their flight back home because disembarking from the cruise was long, slow and painful – some people even fainted.
Since I knew I was going to be out of my comfort zone, I decided to study – I read three books on etiquette to ease my social anxiety, purchased a book about the Mayan Riviera and a book by Lawrence M. Krauss titled The Physics of Star Trek. I saved money, read reviews, watched YouTube videos of the interior of the cabin and read blogs about what to pack.
Before the cruise, I suffered a minor accident, causing mobility issues, and I was pleased to find that the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) staff and its infrastructure were accommodating and properly designed for people with impaired mobility. And, since I didn’t purchase costly data plans, I was totally disconnected from home, work, social media, and even the news – it was relaxing and now I can tell, really necessary.
During the seven-day cruise, I cosplayed, attended panels, ate amazing food, and went to excursions to the Everglades and to the Mayan ruins in Cozumel. But the best part was to getting to meet other Trekkies. It was difficult to leave my comfort zone and dare to talk to strangers, but so worth it, as I met the most interesting and kind people.
My partner and I made an effort to share our dining tables with others, initiate conversations while in the “turbolift,” and start conversations while in line for autographs. We met Trekkies from all over the world, and some non-Trekkies who, by the end of the cruise, had become fans of the fans: us.
It was impossible to attend all of the daily activities; the ship is massive and multiple activities were scheduled at the same time, but in my opinion, the pièce de résistance of all the panels was “The Women’s View” with Denise Crosby, Terry Farrell, Chase Masterson, and Marina Sirtis. This panel encouraged discussion with the audience about current issues affecting women, including the effect of the (then) Presidnt Elect’s sexual assault on women, as well as the consequences on women’s lives, health, women in the workforce, ageism in Hollywood, as well as broader topics of representation, feminism, sisterhood, and leadership.
The women even concluded with a call to action for those in the audience – to be the change, to take risks, and be brave. Because of events like this, the women of Star Trek have been and will continue to be my favorite role models, fictionally and in real life.
In addition to panels with the actors, there was a presentation from Astronaut Rick Searfoss called “Captain’s Log: Space Shuttle Commander’s Perspective,” introduced by Robert Picardo, who told us about his monthly video newsletter about space, Astronaut Rick Searfoss made it a point to mention the accomplishments of other astronauts, especially women.
Another highlight for attendees was the “Star Trek Renewal of Vows” ceremony during the Starfleet’s Intergalactic Gala themed day This event welcomed couples of all backgrounds, as the hosts would make the ceremony inclusive, welcoming, romantic, and funny. As we were all dressed to the nines, we were hosted by Terry Ferrell, the most gracious and beautiful officiant.
The vows were, of course, Star Trek-inspired and some lines included: “You are the logic to my Vulcan. You are the bridge to my Enterprise. You are the purrrr to my Tribble.” At the end, each couple got a picture with Terry Ferrell holding a copy of our certificate. The experience was romantic and magical, and the next day, a personalized certificate appeared in our cabin with the logo of the 50th Anniversary cruise, signed by Terry Ferrell.
Overall, I came back renewed, rested, and tanned, with a couple of extra pounds, and with this feeling of hope for our society. I was happy to be certain that what we, as Trekkies, make a society of infinite diversity with infinite combinations.
The cruise felt like a more intimate Star Trek convention, with a sense of inclusivity, respect and caring. We were all into the fantasy of being on board the Enterprise together, having a good time as members of the Federation from all over the Galaxy. It’s clear that the ideals from the Star Trek universe are not lost on us as “simple entertainment,” but they are basis of how we really behave – respectful, eager to learn, inquisitive, and hopeful for a better future for us all.