The big day arrived and we race to the top deck to see what is in store for us.
In terms of decorating the ship – it was zero. Not like Xmas or Halloween, but what could they do? Spread sand everywhere? Evacuate the air? I don’t know what I was expecting but I was a little let down in that regard. I think that if Star Wars morphs into a religion or some sort of national holiday* some time in the far future, we’ll have Sith Trees and Bantha holly and Jakku carols. But for now, all we got was a stage in front of the kids pool made up to look like a Tantive IV doorway.
Costumes. So many kids costumes. Purchased at the parks before boarding the ship, untested and ill fitting (sorry, 501st coming out in me). So many Kylo Rens. So many Reys. A couple Fynns. One on fleek Death Star (see pics below, it’s awesome). One older gentleman in a good rendition of a rebel pilot in boxers (see below. Fleek). And the guys from the Ottawa Garrison. Damn them for brining their full armour. Damn them! So jealous. Wherever they went they were stopping crowds.
When you boarded you were given a card of three photo op (sorry – Character Experiences) choices: Dark Side, Bespin or Tatooine. You were left to guess who you might see at each, but you were only going to get 2 out of the 3 AND they were totally random – Dark Side could be Darth Vader, or Darth Maul. Tatooine could be C3P0 and R2D2… Bespin could be Willrod Hood… I had submitted my choice within minutes of getting the form and wound up with tickets to “Dark Side” and “Tatooine”. Our first experience was at 9:30am. I was dressed in my Imperial Deck Officer and ready. God bless SharkBoy for walking around with a 50 year old nerd dressed up as a symbolic neo-Nazi made up in Space Gear all day long…
We get to the meet and greet and while we were waiting, the tiny pocket bear of an Assistant Cruise Director (I swear to god I wanted to hug the New Zealand stuffing out of him) asked if we wanted to know who we were meeting, I couldn’t wait and said yes.
“The greatest captain the First Order has ever known…”
I nearly fell to the ground in tears. I knew she was an option and knew that the chances were 1 in 3 and boom – lottery! I have a slight obsession with Captain Phasma – Yes I was let down that she only had maybe 6 minutes screen time but the hype around her before the movie had me in it’s charms. Plus she’s damn shiny.
We get our turn with her and all I can do is stammer and nod – I don’t remember at all what I said to her other than “Ahuyuck!” laughter. “She” had several digitized sound file conversation clips the actor could choose from and I got “I have heard of you rising through the ranks. Here’s hoping you’re not a disappointment” Or something. I was too busy Ahuyuck-ing and gawking at “her”** to remember entirely what was said.
We wander the decks looking at people’s creative costumes and seeing roaming characters. After a while I was hot so we grabbed our shorts and hit the main pool to watch a couple episodes of Star Wars Rebels on the Funnel Vision TV, floating while the cartoon played. Shortly a small child of maybe 12 years old started to swim in front of us – back and forth. He had no Stranger Danger filter and thought it was ok to talk to two older, bald headed bearded guys in the kiddie pool. Back and forth, all the while asking us questions.
Who is your favourite Star Wars character?
What is your favourite Star Wars movie?
What’s your favourite line?
What ship would you have if you could have one?
Is Yoda really dead?
Rebels is really Star Wars – that guy there is really Luke Skywalker.
The last was not a question, obviously. When he exhausted his list of questions he moved into firm statements about Star Wars.
He. Did. Not. Stop. I looked around for his parents. I was going to steal this child because his spirit was Star Wars through and through.
But at the same time, I was conscious that two adults chatting with a kid in the pool for more than a few minutes could be regarded as pedo. This kid went on for a solid 44 minutes (two Rebels episodes) and though I welcomed the rapid fire questions, it did get tiresome. He was an awesome kid though. I’d call him a friend in another life.
Out of the pool, back into uniform and we had our second Character Experience with Darth Maul. He didn’t say a word. I didn’t say a word except Hello, and The Empire thanks you for your service! All I got was a stern stare.
Other things happened: roaming characters like Jawas (I missed), Sandpeople and bounty hunters (Zam Wesell!) were all over the place. I only saw a few, sadly!
There were periodic Empire Announcements on the Funnel Vision TV.
After dinner there was a brief show of all the characters on stage (in case you missed them during the day) and a fireworks show.
At the dance party after the fireworks we saw the Pool Kid mentioned previously. Dancing alone to the remixed Star Wars themes, set to a disco beat. He had some serious moves, which made me want to steal him even more. However, I did not see any parent or guardian around him at all and I surmised that this child was actually my spirit, manifest in human form, going free.
There was a midnight buffet not 2 hours after we just finished our big dinner. I have never…EVER… felt so full. I had a taco and somewhere in my body I could hear a gland weep with exhaustion. Some of us were drunk and tired. Some of us were food smacked and tired. We were all tired.
I went to sleep happy.
I do have to call out Dave who I think had the best fan costume I saw all day: he was wearing a very accurate Han Solo outfit with the hilt of Kylo Ren’s sabre stuck into his chest. It was suggested that Thom should walk in front of him with a Spoiler Alert sign. Good job!
*May the 4th is a strong contender. Though people will put up their lightsaber tree on May 25th – they will be know as Old Republic Traditionalist.
**I say “her” because I didn’t see any woman over 6’5″ on the cruise. Trust me, I was looking.