The Star Trek: The Cruise VII—A Voyage Like None Other

Often dubbed “a Star Trek convention at sea,” Star Trek: The Cruise flips the script on traditional conventions. Since its first sailing in 2017, the official Star Trek cruise has embraced its mantra of being “the un-conventional voyage.” While you will find all the trappings of land-based conventions like celebrity autographs, photo opportunities, and shopping, the real draw to Star Trek: The Cruise is in its week-long immersive schedule giving you seven days of living like you’re in Star Trek. The seventh cruise which returned to port earlier this month may have been the best yet.

Morale officers

The “Morale Officers” are a group of elite hostesses provided by ECP to keep the Trek energy going

An immersion into Trek

The illusion of being part of Star Trek begins the second you step off the gangway and are greeted by the ship’s welcoming staff dressed in Starfleet uniforms. The theme from Discovery floats out of the sound system and onto the deck. A turbolift, complete with LCARS display, drops newly arriving passengers onto The Promenade and Quark’s Casino.

Quark's at STTC7

“Come with latinum, leave with memories.”

Everywhere you look, there is some element of the franchise you came to celebrate.

Lower Decks portrait

Visitor’s to the “Mariner’s Retreat” pub will appreciate the decor

As a seven-day event, Star Trek: The Cruise is twice as long as most other conventions. The extra time affords opportunities to provide extra-rich programming. You’ll find the panel discussions tend to have more thoughtful questions, the entertainment events really indulge the actors theatrically, and the fun and games are thoughtfully designed for dedicated Trekkies—as are the local watering holes.

Subspace Rhapsody Bar

The Subspace Rhapsody Bar is a place to keep us connected

Fans and celebs become as one

Not only does the ship look and feel like a part of the fictional final frontier, but the fans and celebrity guests are agreeing to live and party as one for the week. As Connor Trinneer said during the Enterprise panel:

“I will say that, for me at least, the Cruise experience is far and away the better experience.  Conventions are great, but there’s something about being on the ship that after a day, everybody just relaxes, and the encounters that you have. And people aren’t nearly as nervous when you get into an elevator with them at a convention in Vegas or San Francisco or wherever. I really enjoy these for that very reason. We get to interact with you much, much more than we do at a convention.”

Connor Trinneer Anthony Montgomery John Billingsley STTC7 Enterprise Panel

Enterprise‘s Connor Trinneer (onstage with with Anthony Montgomery and John Billingsley) appreciates the more relaxed atmosphere of Star Trek: The Cruise

Trinneer makes a good point: Only a few hours after he said that, I shuffled into the turbolift on my way to my next scheduled event to find myself sharing a ride with Walter Koenig. He gave me a big grin, looked at my hair (which poufs up in a manner not unlike Captain Pike’s) and asked, “Wow, is your hair really like that?” Pavel Chekov, Mister I-had-to-wear-the-Davy-Jones-wig himself, liked my hair. That’s the elevator for you!

STTC7 Turbolift

You’ll be tempted to ride the elevators just to read the wall decorations

Many of the activities on both ship and shore have fans directly interacting with Star Trek’s most famous names. The conceit of Star Trek: The Cruise is that the guests are the “crew,” and they are there for you, something that you start to experience from day 1.

John de Lancie presents original musical performance for Star Trek

Panels go deep

With the multitude of panel events throughout the trip, STTC provides the opportunity to focus on very specific aspects of the show’s creation and hear directly from the people who were on the production team. When Gates McFadden hosted a screening of Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s “Genesis,” which she directed, it was more than just a behind-the-scenes commentary about amusing accidents that happened on set. McFadden was able to talk about her first experience directing Star Trek, having already worked on Labyrinth and other projects with Jim Henson in which she coordinated choreography and puppet movement. Throughout the session, Gates pointed out how her focus on movement (also an effect of her dance background) influenced her use of camera angles in establishing shots as well as the placement of characters in sickbay scenes. These artistic choices were fresh in 1994, and today continue to add visual flair to modern Trek.

Having access to a full theater and all day at sea, Gates and the audience were able spend time on the commentary in a way that would be difficult at a convention.

Gates McFadden at STTC7

Gates McFadden describing how she wanted each scene of “Genesis”  to convey a sense of movement

In addition to featuring a huge number of Star Trek actors, STTC pulls the curtain back and gives a platform to the writers, science advisors, and others who have helped shape the Star Trek Universe. Michael and Denise Okuda were on board presenting a series of retrospectives on their work making Star Trek visually believable since the 1980s. Through a series of highly detailed photos, Michael described how his graphic designer’s eye compelled him to make alien languages seem visually believable. Denise explained how she used her historical knowledge of the space program and Trek lore to assist in the remastering of The Next Generation and to achieve the distinct look of the Enterprise bridge.

LCARS Binder

Denise Okuda describes the panel graphics Michael keeps stored in a binder

Evening stage shows keep you interested… and laughing

After spending time taking a good look at the business and craft of producing Star Trek, it’s good to just have some fun with the Trek legacy. Fortunately, being on a boat with numerous performing stages gives the Trek actors a chance to do what they do best: put on a show. Panels and workshops take a backseat to stage shows, which are frequently the highlight of an evening on Star Trek: The Cruise.

John de Lancie’s musical history of the Curtis Institute, marked by a newly composed piece based on “Darmok,” was the highlight of the week. The concert gave passengers the chance to appreciate Star Trek’s influence on the world at large while at the same time gaining an appreciation for the legacy and impact of a great musical school. Knowing that the music was composed by a fellow fan, Nick DiBerardino, made the audience feel connected, and knowing that several of the musicians performing were also fans increased the sense of camaraderie. De Lancie’s words during the Picard panel illustrate how he knew the audience on The Cruise would be receptive:

“I think it’s an opportunity for many of us to show different sides of ourselves than what you generally know us as at a convention. I mean, a convention is a very narrow working area, you know: how do you do, what’s your name, a couple of questions and off we go. This is an opportunity to sit down and have lunch with people, and have a drink with somebody. It’s much more of, quite frankly, what I think Trek created fifty-seven years ago. An umbrella, in this case the ship, with like-minded people.”

Curtis Institute Graduates

Curtis Graduates perform “Darmok” as composed by Nick DiBerardino, on stage with John de Lancie

One evening, the audience gathered in Studio B for Wil Wheaton’s reading of his memoir Still Just a Geek, and to hear Wheaton confront difficult memories of his past and family life. The writing was excellent and Wheaton is a gifted storyteller, but there was something else going on that night: The tone of the crowd was less about watching an entertainer and more about showing support for a fellow human being working through difficult memories no person deserves to have. At the start of the event, Wil acknowledged that he didn’t have specific stories in mind and was simply going to choose to read the chapters he felt most in need of reading that day. Intended or not, the event became a strong example of the Star Trek fan community’s focus on mental health.

Wil Wheaton Still Just A Geek

Wil Wheaton struggles through a particularly difficult passage from his book Still Just a Geek

It was the reading of “Spock’s Brain” which really captured the energy that makes Star Trek: The Cruise such a special experience. Rather than simply play back a well-known (and not particularly beloved) TOS episode, the Trek actors jump in with both feet to re-interpret the story comedically. Will Robert Picardo play Brainless Spock in an even more droll manner than he portrayed The Doctor? Can Wil Wheaton contain his joy at getting to play Bones? Is that prop actually made out of picnic supplies? When the audience knows the story so well, telling it a different way is a great way to get a laugh.

Spock's Brain at STTC7

Robert Picardo in the role he was born to play, with Wil Wheaton, Todd Stashwick, Gabrielle Ruiz,  Denise Crosby, and Nana Visitor

From shuffleboard to shuttlecraft… and trivia with the stars

Some passengers opt out of shows and events and spend their nights roaming the ship itself. If you’d like an adventure where you truly blend into the world of Star Trek, sit down for a professional makeup session with an artist like Thomas Surprenant. If you can sit still in a makeup chair for several hours (please expect no sympathy from Armin Shimmerman or John Billingsley), you can emerge wearing full Klingon, Borg, or Cardassian makeup. Not only will it look as good as anything on the show, but it’ll be durable enough to wear for several days. Those shore excursions will be extra exotic now! Makeup sessions need to be scheduled well in advance.

Makeup artist at STTC7

Thomas Surprenant gives passengers the alien makeover of their choice

Even if your idea of a great evening is sitting down at the bar and passing the night away, Star Trek: The Cruise finds ways of making sure you’re never far from a new friend or a good time. As passengers gathered at the Trek-themed pubs throughout the ship, activities popped up to keep conversation lively, build friendly competition, or just encourage some singing and dancing.

STTC7 Cosplay

On Star Trek: The Cruise, every pub crawl is an adventure

You might be the resident Star Trek expert in your immediate circle of friends, but that changes entirely when you’re on a ship with 2,800 other fans who love the show as much as you do. If challenging your Trek knowledge sounds fun, a trivia contest is held nightly, where a Trek actor walks the audience through a list of 20 multiple choice questions.

Picard Trivia Michelle Hurd

Michelle Hurd and one of the ship’s Morale Officers lead the Picard trivia session in 5 Forward

Be warned, the questions start off easy but quickly advance to a point where even the most dedicated fans might be second-guessing themselves. Prizes are awarded to participants who get the highest scores.

If being on the high seas makes you feel musical, you’ll be in sync with Trek stars like Chase Masterson and Mary Chieffo, who enjoy hosting karaoke nights. With the packed audiences always supportive and friendly, karaoke often becomes more than just a single fan performing; it quickly rolls into sing-alongs, dancing, or even a conga line. In the case of Chase Masterson’s party, a conga line is as pretty much guaranteed as a dabo table gag. And in the event you haven’t had enough singing, don’t be discouraged from starting your own impromptu Subspace Rhapsody.

Chase Masterson Karaoke

Chase Masterson has a microphone for anyone who’s ready to sing

And of course, it still is a cruise. With all the Star Trek going on there are all the amenities of the ship, the beauty of being at sea, and the exploration of the ports of call.

Take in a sunset on the deck

Cruise VIII cabins can be booked starting March 12

With Star Trek: The Cruise VIII scheduled for 2025, featuring a fresh itinerary including Costa Maya, Belize City, and Cozumel, the un-conventional voyage shows no signs of slowing down. Most promising, however, is the continued commitment of both the fans (who rush to book cabins for the next voyage as early as possible) and the Star Trek celebrity guests, many of whom return year after year.

Cabins for Star Trek: The Cruise VIII will be available to the public on March 12 at

Gorn Star

What happens on Cestus III, stays on Cestus III

More cruisin’ with TrekMovie

Check out cruise logs for Day 1 Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5, Day 6, and Day 7.


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

These are all great reports — thanks!!!

Agreed. I just wish I could afford to go, but am glad that the Star Trek Cruise exists for those that can.

Great article!!

The picture you have of the makeup artist isn’t labeled with the right name. Thomas is an older man than the assistant guy there (forget his name, tho) here’s Thomas:

The artist pictured: Matt Turull