When, nearly a year ago, the Done the Impossible crew announced that they were going to throw a Convention on a Cruise ship, I was as skeptical as the next person how this could possibly work.
Having just come back from that event, I can say without a doubt that my skepticism was completely unneeded.
I’ll get to a play by play of the event itself in a moment, but first, I want to start with the below.
This was a fan event. Run by and for fans. Companies out to make money from conventions need to stand up and take notice. Not only was this event a spectacular success, but the organizers managed, in the end, to tip their small coffers out of the debt this event had put them into.
The Con was not without its hiccups, but most of those were due to venue restrictions. A few of the rooms couldn’t hold everyone. And I didn’t go to most of those events so I don’t know how cramped those rooms ended up being.
I can only imagine how much work went into the planning and execution of this event. I helped out at the event itself as a volunteer, but that was so very minimal compared to the work that the staff did. I would do the same, and more, in a heartbeat, should they decide they want to do this again.
The staff. I can’t say enough good things about them. They were friendly, personable, approachable, and always had a smile on their faces. They were busy, but they kept cool heads and showed a level of professionalism that some events couldn’t ever hope to achieve.
The guests were lovely, energetic, excited and just very happy to be there. They mingled with the fans outside of the Browncoat events for which they were scheduled to appear. If they had escorts, those people weren’t easily discernable from the fans.
The atmosphere was charged from the moment I walked into the Shindig hotel. Everyone was happy, despite the downpour that soaked them on the few feet one had to run to get into the hotel from the street.
We milled about the bar for a few hours, chatted, introduced ourselves to people we only knew by board names. Aussie Jen dragged the shy Aussies around the room so they could get to know as many people as possible. There weren’t as many people at the Shindig as I thought there would be, but most of the locals weren’t going to be arriving until the next day.
By morning, the rain had dissipated and we made our way on busses (something the Cruise staff had organized as a convenience for the attendees) to the pier. It was a fairly easy and painless check in, and I went in as soon as we were permitted to board (I got on about ). I wanted to explore the ship, get my bearings, before lots of people arrived. (it didn’t help a whole lot as I got lost going to certain places for the first 3 days!) We weren’t scheduled to depart until , and we couldn’t get into our cabins until . But – they were providing lunch!
I met this really sweet lady, Joan, while taking a taxi to the pier (yes, we were impatient and didn’t want to take the busses!) and I completely lost track of her after that first day and never saw her again. This actually happened quite a few times with different people.
If I had one complaint about the event, it would be that there was no central location one could go to chat with other Browncoats, (the boat was just too big and we were all so spread out!) but, we rectified that to an extent when we figured out that if we sat in the outside food area on the lido deck long enough, everyone came by there eventually! Well, most everyone. I never saw Joan again!
She had reserved a penthouse suite and when we walked in I think our jaws hit the floor. Ok, well, mine did. If you compare the cabin to a normal size hotel room, you wouldn’t be in any way impressed, as they were pretty much the same size. But when you compare that cabin to every other on the ship, it was enormous. And we even had a balcony!
As we stood outside smiling down at people boarding (we were on the port side of the ship), to the right of us leaned over Norm and his wife (Browncoats from the
We had plenty of time to look around before the first event was to begin, which included the fun safety lesson all Cruise guests are required to attend. Those orange vests just do not go with my hair. Thankfully, we didn’t have to don them again for the rest of the voyage. But they WERE used – to keep the doors from slamming open and shut in the tumultuous seas.
Part of the Atrium.
Top of the Atrium.
I’d never been on a cruise before, and had come prepared with medication so that I wouldn’t spend the entire voyage sick. But much to my surprise, I was fine, even with the rough seas that pretty much assured none of us would walk a straight line while sober for the rest of the evening.
The Browncoat opening ceremony took place after our scheduled sit down dinner (more amazingly tasteful food that we could order as much of as we wanted). The guests were introduced and everyone was so excited and the atmosphere was charged with enough energy that the room could barely contain. I think this is where Ron Glass shared a bit of information with the group – that there would be a comic called ‘The Shepherd’s Tale’ which would reveal a bit about Book’s past. If it didn’t happen here, it happened at the guest talks. I can’t exactly remember!
When the excitement of the evening ended, and I went to bed, I was suddenly so sick to my stomach that I couldn’t have walked a straight line sober and standing on unmoving land. Of course, I didn’t even think about the medication I’d brought for this very thing.
I have no idea when my cabin mates came back. But it was late and they were drunk. They’d regret it in the morning. And people wonder why I don’t overindulge – most of the time!
Yeah, I want to remember things in the morning. Well, and I didn’t want to lose ANY time lying exhaustedly sick in bed – which was so comfortable I did briefly contemplate how I could drop it out the balcony window and into the trunk of my car.
I’m sure my telling of the events will be in no way in order. Our 5 days at sea seemed to fly by so quickly that I’m sill grasping at the threads of my memory to put it all back together.
I think the photo ops were the next day and I arrived late for my one with Ron. But that was ok, he finished signing some Cruise related stuff, came over and grabbed me into a hug and we took our pic. But – it was one of the ones that hadn’t been printed by the end of the voyage so hopefully, the photographer will get in touch with me. I left my contact info with Christy.
Not too far into the Cruise,
By the time Monday morning came around, my cabin mates didn’t book an excursion and decided to spend the day on the beach drinking. Lynn, James, Aussie Jen and I wandered around Cabo, found a fire station where many things were purchased – including a calendar of a very pretty fireman. All purchases benefited the local fire department.
We finally ended up on the beach, drinking and playing in the surprisingly warm water. People kept walking up to us and asking if we wanted to purchase anything. Well, geez, had we known that was going to happen, we wouldn’t have even walked around Cabo as much as we did to shop. One man offered us a t-shirt and when we said no, he opened his hand and offered us drugs instead. James completely missed it and Lynn and I laughed at his innocent cluelessness.
We did a lot of walking, which was fun as we went out of the touristy area for a while. Then we walked back to the dock where we were to take the boats back to the ship.
It was a long day filled with a lot of walking. We all immediately passed out in our cabins and slept until dinner.
Dinner was good. We stuffed ourselves since we hadn’t eaten lunch in Cabo – we did stop at a bar and drink, though!) and then passed out until the party. A bit of drama later, involving a drunk roommate that needed to be escorted out of the room before I tossed him over the balcony, and a cake that arrived more than 40 minutes late, people began arriving for the party.
Now, the room was big, but it wasn’t THAT big. And, unfortunately, the winds were too strong and it was too cold for anyone to spend any significant amount of time on the balcony. I have no idea how many people fit in the room, but it was soon packed with fans and guests alike! Michael Fairman and Ron Glass came and chatted with everyone for a while.
Ron and Michale stepped outside, in awe of the size of the room and the balcony we had, and I had to jokingly tell them to please hold onto the railing because I didn’t want the gusting wind to blow them overboard. Though – at least our life vests could have been used for something other than keeping the closet door from slamming open and shut. (that’s humor folks . . . )
Then James arrived. The party had been a secret, you see. He thought he was coming for a Chuck viewing. He was suitably surprised. I hope someone has a pic!
A few hours later, one of my roomies wanted to go to bed, so those who were left went to the penthouse next door where Jonathan and Nectar joined us.
The next day was a ‘sea’ day. Autograph sessions were planned for that day, and those were expected to last all morning. It went smoothly, with any problems that cropped up being resolved quickly. It always amazes me how long it takes to get through one of these sessions but the actors were so enthusiastic and excited, it made for a very fun three hours.
I was assigned to assist Nectar though she arrived a bit later than everyone else and so was entertained by Jonathan drawing all over his PA’s (Tiffany!) skin. It was amusing fun!
I'm not looking at a schedule but I think the White Elephant Gift exchange was this day. If not, oh well, I've got my days mixed up. Anyway, Jonathan led this one and it was pretty fun, though the constant swapping of gifts got tedious after a while.
Boy was that an understatement.
We had a cocktail party planned for that night (free drinks!) and it was amusing to watch glasses full of booze sliding across the tables as the ship swayed.
No. I’m not kidding.
Yet again, we couldn’t walk a straight line. But this time it could have been because of the alcohol intake (it was free damnit!) – well, and the ship swaying to the tune of 17 foot (I think that’s what the Captain said we were sailing through) waves.
By , there were about 20 Browncoats left and we closed down the Karaoke bar. Looking for something else to do, we climbed to the front of the ship over the bridge and stood cheering and yelling into the darkness. I think there was some singing. It was cold. Freezing cold. So was the wind. But we didn’t care. We were together and we were having fun. Yeah, we were drunk, too. Kinda.
I crawled into bed around . And as I lay there in the darkness trying to sleep with the swaying of the ship, I played a fun little game of guessing what items were sailing off the tables and onto the floor.
Sleep? Not so much.
But it didn’t matter. We awoke to the captain announcing that the
Disappointed? Yeah. We still had pesos to use (those later went to tipping our rockin’ Steward) and Christmas gifts to buy!
But, as in true Browncoat fashion (we’re used to things being canceled on us, you see), the Browncoat Cruise staff came up with some additional activities for us – including a big damn viewing of Serenity, and some very creative card games.
Lynn, James, Ray, Aussie Jen and I went to breakfast not soon after the announcement and much to our surprise, Ron Glass joined us. He is such a pleasant and personable man and it was lovely to just sit down and have a conversation with him – one that didn’t include asking him one single question about Firefly or Serenity.
The Closing Ceremonies were very exciting, minus one little bit that I won't spend much time on. Some Buffy singalong thing was added and, while I realize that there is a good crossover of fans that like both shows, those songs just didn't really have a place at a Firefly event. I had to ask what people were doing as I'm not a huge fan of Buffy and had no idea what this singing was all about.
But the rest of the Closing Ceremonies were so enjoyable that I can almost forget the Buffy thing. Ron provided the last bit of information on Book’s past that Joss had given him permission to reveal; Derrial was the name of a man that he’d killed, and not his real name.
Jonathan told the assembled crowd that this had been the best event he’d ever attended and that he was impressed that NONE of the staff had consumed a drink while they were on duty – and then proceeded to tell everyone to buy them drinks after the ceremony!
I’ve saved the best for last, but the most memorable of the closing ceremony was the preview we got of the Cruise video.
I’ve seen a lot of Con videos, and been impressed with none of them. They’re always badly lit, the sound poor, the picture grainy, but this preview was none of that. It was creatively edited and clearly put together by someone with talent. And this was just the first disk. There are two more to come!
All good things must come to an end, and so did the Cruise. We had breakfast the next morning (because, really, we needed one more free meal!) and then went our separate ways.