Good things come to those who wait, so cruisers who put their plans on hold for one Earth year found themselves rewarded on Star Trek: The Cruise V.
After an unpreventable delay, the interplanetary vibe of exploration, camaraderie, and festivity was palpable the moment we stepped aboard the Mariner of the Seas in Port Canaveral, Florida. As one who has been lucky enough to act as moderator and go-between for the fans and celebrities since our first journey, as soon as I heard the orchestral sweep of the Voyager theme boldly blaring from speakers on the Promenade, I knew I was back where I belonged.
Not only does each sailing have its own list of “greatest hits,” it’s also different for everyone on the ship. (That’s one of the benefits of having so many spectacular things to do each day and into each night.) For me, some of the year’s highlights are likely ones shared by all, plus a few I was only able to witness myself.
The Incredible Moments
The best moment, no question, was Kenneth Mitchell’s House of Kor rave party on Mirror Universe night. Ken’s brave spirit and the warmth of his crew created a glow of good cheer that powered me for days, even after the cruise had ended. To see him introduced by his friend and Discovery co-star Sonequa Martin-Green was one thing, but to see the deluge of Trek alum, from Denise Crosby and Anthony Montgomery to Robert Picardo and Chase Masterson beam onto the stage to dance all night was something I’ll never forget.
I was lucky enough to host two panels with Kenneth, which took a little bit of preparation prior to our departure. In full disclosure, yes, he and I worked out the questions in advance, but, no, I did not know precisely what he would say back. His extraordinary mix of honesty and humor is nothing short of miraculous. As his good friend Mary Chieffo said after one of his unexpected punchlines, “whenever you think he’s gonna’ leave you crying, in comes the salty joke!”
Another highlight this year was a personal one; a few shared moments getting to introduce Walter Koenig to the stage two different times. I meant what I said: it was Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home that cemented me on my journey to becoming a fan. It came out in theaters at the perfect time, and the scenes that knocked me out the most were all the Chekov ones. If you asked me who my favorite crew member was when I was 13-year-old, I’d have made a case for him. To make jokes with Koenig at 10:55 p.m. backstage, both of us a little loopy and exhausted, is a memory I’ll always treasure.
Other, near-dreamlike moments from this cruise include watching Anthony Rapp perform the music of Jonathan Larson, R.E.M., and Radiohead in the main theater, seeing Garrett Wang bring the house down with his outstanding comedy act, and then there was that encounter between George Takei and our cruise director J.T. Watters at the launch party that, quite frankly, can not be put into words.
Also, every single moment in which we are graced by Nana Visitor’s smile is a gift. We’ve known this for decades, we’ll know it forever.
Beyond the Stars
Beyond the stars, though, the thing I love most about Star Trek: The Cruise is interacting with other fans. I love the nights when I do a double-header of trivia in the lounge, especially the in-between period when I grab a cup of tea (because a week of hollering does a number on the throat!) and yap with fellow cruisers. We’re all on this boat together because we love Star Trek and are brimming with opinions. Should Picard have destroyed the Borg when he had the chance? Did Janeway make the right call with Tuvix? Was Jellico wrong to force Counselor Troi to wear a dress uniform? (I have very strong, conflicting feelings on that one!)
These interactions, off-stage and between individuals, is, for me, the essence of Star Trek: The Cruise. Some of us are of an age that precedes social media or even (gasp!) the internet itself. For we Methuselaens, it’s still a bit of a shock to meet strangers with an immediate point of shared reference, especially if it’s some bit of deep cut lore from a television show that we were told, for decades, was only for dorks. And that’s why people find themselves coming back on this cruise year after year.
Star Trek The Cruise VI is shaping up to be incredible. Kate Mulgrew is back with us at the helm and Jonathan Frakes and Brent Spiner will be at her side. New to the adventure will be Robert Duncan MacNeil and Nicole De Boer, plus a number of returning vets like John DeLancie, Marina Sirtis, Gates McFadden, Armin Shimerman, and Ethan Phillips. I hope to see you there.
Bookings are open for Star Trek: The Cruise VI! You can make your reservation here.