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Calling All Cosplayers: 7 Cruises for Nerds and Geeks

Cosplayers on the Star Trek Cruise (Photo: startrekthecruise.com)
Cosplayers on the Star Trek Cruise (Photo: startrekthecruise.com)

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If spandex and space tickle your fancy, but you don't mind some occasional sun on your face, a vacation like the Comic-Con cruise might be the perfect getaway. Imagine all the nerdy perks of cosplay and meet-n-greets aboard a ship that sails to new destinations while you geek out with your pals.

In fact, it pays to be on a cruise full of fellow nerds. Instead of fighting for facetime with thousands of other fans at a convention center, your access to celebrities and special guests is contained to the confines of your ship and chance encounters are way more likely that way.

There are a number of theme cruises that cater to die-hard comic book fans, or Trekkies, with more on the docket every year. So pack your wigs, your hero's uniform, your zombie makeup and those autographing Sharpies, and get ready to beam… er, board… your ship for the geek cruise of a lifetime.

Updated October 31, 2018

1. Official Star Trek Cruise

A Star Trek sailing is jam-packed with cast members and theme nights that will have you boldly going where no cruiser has gone before (we couldn't resist). Catchphrases aside, Star Trek sailings deliver -- George Takei (Sulu) acts as cruise host with a panel of more than 20 iconic Star Trek actors and personalities, and every passenger is given a photo opportunity with Takei included in their cruise fare. Apart from the meet-n-greets and panels of a typical convention, your favorite cast members let loose during the day (you're on a ship, after all!), taking part in their own favorite activities, whether it's mini-golf or yoga.

Professional makeup artists are on hand for demos or full transformations so you can get into character, and props and costumes will sail with you in the CBS-sponsored Star Trek: The Cruise Museum. In port, select shore excursions are led by some of the onboard celebrities. At night, expect themed game shows, scavenger hunts, contests (best Commander Riker chair mount), Mystery Trek Theater, star-led performances and a Klingon pub crawl, of course. The second and third Star Trek cruises set sail in January 2018, for six nights each.

2. Walker Stalker Cruise

Norwegian Pearl's captain and the ship's officers on the Walker Stalker Cruise

Heading into its third year in January 2018, the Walker Stalker Cruise features cast members like Norman Reedus (Daryl) and plenty of chances for the undead to unwind. Opt for the belly flop contest into a "bloody" swimming pool, a silent disco where walkers become dancers or a permanent homage to your fandom at the onboard tattoo parlor. Homemade necklaces that look like body parts, gory T-shirts and self-inflicted zombie bites are commonplace, and a professional makeup artist is onboard to complete the transformation, if desired. This could be useful when entering the costume contest, judged by panelists including the show's legendary special makeup effects artist and mastermind Greg Nicotero. Live music, zombie movie marathons and zombie bar crawls keep a ship of the dead alive late into the night. Cruisers' four days will be filled with Q&As and panels, as well as a chance to snap selfies with favorite cast members during meet-n-greets.

Just don't hesitate to choose a cabin; this cruise books up quickly every year.

3. Star Wars Day at Sea

You'll know you're cruising on a ship far, far away when you hear the horn blasting "The Imperial March." Disney Cruise Line's Star Wars Days at Sea offer passengers the chance to sail with storm troopers and face off with Darth Vader -- just be sure to brush up on your lightsaber skills by joining the Jedi training. Costumes are encouraged as participants from all over the galaxy are treated to exclusive movie offerings, special treats (frozen Hans Solo ice cream bars) and an epic deck party in which the forces of good and evil face off -- but all in good fun. Star Wars Day at Sea is held on select Disney sailings.

4. Marvel Day at Sea

Marvel's Avengers Academy

Meet Black Panther and Iron Man, come face to face with Loki and learn superhero moves from Captain America, Thor and more onboard one of Disney Cruise Line's Marvel Days at Sea. Themed trivia, youth center activities and at-sea screenings will fill your day, but be sure to check out the Dr. Strange show in the Walt Disney Theatre -- it's marvel-ous. A heroic deck party is a cruise highlight. Sailings begin in the fall of 2017 and have already been announced for select dates throughout 2018.

5. Comic-Con Cruise

The first Fan2Sea Comic-Con cruise set sail in 2017, and it did so in geek chic style. Industry heavyweights like Frank Miller (creator of "Watchmen" and "Dark Knight") and Mark Waid (comic book writer for DC Comics) sailed alongside the cast of Netflix original "Stranger Things," cast members from "Walking Dead" (double dipping on theme cruises!) and, of course, the fans. Panels, autograph opportunities, theme nights, Marvel movie marathons and a cosplay party covered four nights, as well as exclusive cocktail parties offered for an additional fee (everything from "Stranger Things" to "Guardians of the Galaxy.") If that sounds like your ultimate idea of a good time, keep an eye out for the 2018 ComiXcruise; details have not yet been announced at the time of publication.

6. Doctor Who-themed Sci-Fi Cruise

Details of the next Sci-Fi Cruise, a sailing for fans of the long-running show "Doctor Who," are already being leaked. In September 2018, Sylvester McCoy, the seventh Doctor Who, will join the cruise from Seattle, and more past and present cast members are waiting to be announced. The organization that runs a partial charter of the ship for the sailing has already done 20 Sci-Fi cruises, with intimate groups of around 50 people or less. You'll lose track of time and relative dimensions while vacationing on a cruise ship with a close group of "Doctor Who" fans and celebrities.

7. Cosplay Cruise

Perhaps the best place to cosplay is onboard the Cosplay Cruise. Departing Long Beach, California, in November 2017, the cruise will feature workshops, panels, costume events with and without prizes, dance parties and more. Special guests include Ciara Hanna, the Yellow Ranger in the "Power Rangers Megaforce" reboot in 2013 and 2014 and the movie in 2015; Bboy Spiderman, a well-known cosplayer within the community who has been known to bust a move while dressed as the web-slinging superhero; and Maid of Might, a California-based cosplay model.

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