By Jordan Hoffman
At night, aboard Star Trek: The Cruise, one can take a walk outside, look up to the heavens and be forgiven if, for a moment, you question whether there are more stars aboard the ship or in the Caribbean sky.
Nowhere else can you interact so freely with cast members from so many iterations of the greatest franchise in entertainment history. That might be why it’s on the open sea; to have something so awesome on land would surely violate some kind of law. From The Original Series through Discovery, with a special emphasis on Voyager for its 25th anniversary year, this fourth voyage will be the most diverse yet.
But even Starfleet officers need an extraordinary crew of Federation Advisors & Intergalactic Entertainers. On Star Trek: The Cruise IV, a collection of 16 supporting crew members will add a scientific, musical and behind-the-scenes dimension to the onboard experience. We’ve got some returning favorites sailing in 2020 — think astrophysics, literature, art and Star Trek production — plus some new faces next year that are guaranteed to take The Un-Conventional Voyage to even greater heights.
There are few humans of Earth more wonderful than author Robb Pearlman. A charismatic and witty writer, Pearlman has penned some of the finest Star Trek humor books on the market. From “Fun With Kirk and Spock” to “Redshirt’s Little Book of Doom,” Pearlman leads upbeat panels about how to get creative with our beloved characters as well as book club discussions. Additionally, you’ll likely to find him by the pool wearing a different, hilarious T-shirt each day.
Of equally good cheer is Dr. Erin Macdonald, a woman who knows more about actual astrophysics, particularly gravity waves, than anyone else on the ship. Her expertise in things like “so, how would a warp bubble actually work?” blends well with her rich knowledge of deep Star Trek lore, as well as other beloved science fiction franchises. She’s a tough one to stump, and after meeting her, your own knowledge will grow to galactic size!
From science we go to the arts with illustrator J.K. Woodward. J.K.’s paintings and drawings have brought some of the best Star Trek stories to life, including the long-awaited comic book version of Harlan Ellison’s original “The City on the Edge of Forever” script. Grab your colored pencils as he brings experience leading some master classes aboard Star Trek: The Cruise.
Making his maiden voyage this year is James MacKinnon, Dept. Head Prosthetics for Star Trek: Discovery, though he’s no stranger to our cast members. MacKinnon worked under the visionary Michael Westmore during Deep Space Nine and Voyager, transitioned to the Kelvin Timeline films and is now part of the Discovery crew. Maybe Max Grodénchik, Ethan Phillips, Casey Biggs, Ethan Peck or Jeffrey Combs will finally have their revenge on their prosthetic tormentor on board.
Additionally, Lolita Fatjo will be back on board, regaling us with stories from her days as a script coordinator and production associate on The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Star Trek: First Contact.
I, Jordan Hoffman, a film critic and Star Trek enthusiast who overcame his fear of boats, will also be back on the high seas to act as the unofficial liaison between fandom and the celebrity crew, moderating panels and leading (many) rounds of trivia. This will be my fourth trip and each one has been a dream come true.
On Star Trek: The Cruise IV, we’re also destined to witness faster-than-light travel of a different sort with the dazzling fingerpower of dueling pianists Brian Wilk and Brad Heron. The Kirk and Khan of the keyboard will battle it out for piano prowess, and either way the audience wins.
The cruise’s musical dimension also includes DJ Christopher J and Band 47. Their energy and encyclopedic knowledge of music will keep audiences dancing in several venues on the ship.