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I guess I just like liking things

Last week, while you were all enjoying a series of guest posts, I was aboard a cruise ship from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Whittier, Alaska. It was my first foray on a cruise ship and I had a good time. Somewhere along the line it hit me: this is the closest I’ll ever be to being on board the Enterprise.


Self-contained floating cities

There’s a little bit of everything on a cruise ship: restaurants, theaters, lounges, bars, casinos, exercise rooms, pools – all manner of stuff within walking distance. No matter how far the actual boat goes around the world, the distance to your next cookie remains the same. The Next Generation enterprise saves a lot of space by combining many of these places in the holodeck, but the cruise ships aren’t there yet.  We even visited the medical bay because my wife wasn’t feeling well. Sadly, there were no tricorders or hyposprays. If you exited the ship improperly, you would most likely die (space: asphyxiation; cruise: drowning…which is also a form of asphyxiation).

Unlimited food

Speaking of restaurants, there were seriously like ten on board, and it was all-you-can-eat-whenever-you-want-to. Granted, it wasn’t replicators providing the food (as far as I know), and I’m aware that it wasn’t actually unlimited, but for the purposes of a one-week cruise it basically was. Replicators need atoms and whatnot to make food, and cruise ship restaurants need occasional stops in ports to replenish supplies. Po-TAY-to, po-TAH-to.

Lots of staff members

Our particular cruise ship had a little over 900 staff members that live on the ship. In the original series of Star Trek, the Enterprise had 428 staff members. Granted, the functions of the ship are different, but the episode “Journey to Babel” is a pretty good parallel, with the Enterprise taking a bunch of ambassadors on board who needed constant pampering. Those of us cruising weren’t trying to solve interplanetary problems, but I heard more accents and languages gathered on the ship than I’ve ever heard before.

No kids (or anyone unimportant) on the bridge

Really, it saves the captain from having to say “Shut up, Wesley!’ so I think we can all agree this is a good policy.

There are away missions

And they could kill you. We stopped in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Whittier, and Anchorage (all in Alaska), and there were sometimes bears and moose.  Bears and moose can easily kill a person, I don’t care if they were mostly behind flimsy fences. I mistakenly wore a red shirt one day, but somehow escaped with my life.

Games you could borrow

No three-dimensional chess, but they had the normal 2D version.

Being thrown back and forth at times

We weren’t under attack, we just had some higher waves to navigate some days.

Being on the cruise ship also reminded me of the line in Jurassic Park about it having “all the major problems of both a zoo and a theme park.” There wasn’t a velociraptor infestation (that I noticed, anyway), but they have all the major concerns of a hotel, a large boat, and all the little shops and places all gathered in one place.  It’s kind of remarkable just how well everything worked. I was a little sad to have to come back to Earth.


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