So, a couple weeks ago (March 4-11), I had the distinct pleasure of being aboard the 7th annual JoCo Cruise. We’ve written about the cruise before, and I’ve even featured cruise godfathers Jonathan Coulton and Paul & Storm on my podcast – where we discussed the philosophy and specifics behind the cruise (among other stuff).
But I’m here now to give you the inside scoop. What’s it like to actually be on board?
As it turns out, this is kind of a complex question, and I’ve not had an easy time of how to present it all to you. With that in mind, I will be putting out several posts this week about the JoCo Cruise. In part, that’s because the experience was worthy of multiple posts, but there’s also the fact that I took hundreds of pictures and videos. And I want to share a lot of it with you to give you a sense of what the cruise is like. There’s just too much to share in a single post.
Today and tomorrow, I’m going to present photo and video highlights. If you just want to get a feel for what it looked like, these are for you. On Wednesday, I’m going to go more in depth with the guests who were sailing with us and much of the programming in which they were involved. On Thursday, we’ll take a look at what else is available on a JoCo Cruise – aside from the big-name guests and main stage performances. Finally, on Friday, I’ll focus on the many great podcasts that were aboard. (I can’t help it; it’s the podcaster in me.)
So buckle up.
This year’s sailing was aboard Holland America’s ms Westerdam out of San Diego. We sailed down the length of Baja California to Cabo San Lucas, then up into the Gulf of California to the relatively tiny town of Loreto before turning around and heading back to San Diego. All told, it was seven days of blissful nerd paradise.
If you’ve been considering the trip (bookings for 2018 available now!), I hope my posts and pictures will help you make up your mind. It truly is an incredible experience that’s not particularly easy to put into words. But I’ll try.
The easiest way to describe the JoCo Cruise to someone who’s unfamiliar is “Comic-Con on a boat.” In many respects, that’s fairly accurate. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a community of like-minded geeks who welcome everyone with open arms, regardless of their passions, and remind you that there’s still good in the world…a lot of it.
Everyone aboard had certain passions in common, but the diversity (in all respects) was still startling. Granted, this was my first cruise of any type, but I think it’s safe to say that those of us who were on board did not comprise the “typical” cruise crowd. There was hair every color of the rainbow, a unicyclist riding up and down the hallways, an enormous variety of fezzes, and people all over the boat playing incredibly complex tabletop games with dozens of fiddly bits.
Formal night involved everything from tuxedos to Renaissance Faire costumes to kilts to Hogwarts robes. It was an entire boat of nerds who knew how to follow the rules and wait patiently in a queue.
In short, the JoCo Cruise was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had the privilege of attending. Yes, the cruise ship was luxurious, and sure, it was cool to get up close and personal with some amazing guests. But the positivity and unabashed nerd love on the boat were just beyond infectious. It made me happy every day, and it made me hopeful – which is no small feat nowadays.
Highlights of Days 1-3
- Being blown away by Molly Lewis and The Doubleclicks playing “Satisfied” from Hamilton.
- Listening to John Scalzi, Maureen Johnson, Patrick Rothfuss, and Chelsea Cain talk about “writing implosions” and the difficulties associated with writing as a career.
- Seeing about 200 dolphin leap out of the water from the comfort of my cabin.
- Escaping the tourist throngs and getting an aerial view of Cabo from the top of Mt. Solmar.
- Feeling my jaw hit the floor while Gail Simone read original slash fic about Gandalf and Dumbledore.