Comic con on a cruise ship. For some it’s a dream, and in 2017 its becoming a reality.
From January 19 to 23, comic creators, tv/movie actors, and fans will be taking part in a North American first – a comic convention cruise with Fan2Sea Cruise 2017. After several in Europe and an aborted attempt by Wizard World, the California-based Rethink Leisure & Entertainment are orchestrating North America’s first con-cruise. With a guest list ranging from Frank Miller and Amanda Conner to Guardians of the Galaxy’s Michael Rooker and Sean Gunn, Fan2Sea is a unique event that will be exclusive to approximately 2,000 guests.
The five-day cruise out of Tampa, Florida will include stops in Key West and Cozumel, making it a unique experience for fans and professionals attending the event. It’s a comic convention on a cruise ship, but according to Fan2Sea it’s also different than your typical comic convention.
“The biggest difference is that it takes almost all the friction out of the usual convention experience,” said Stefan Lawrence, Rethink Leisure & Entertainment’s Creative Director. “No waiting in line all day, no walking three miles back to your hotel, no crowds, no iffy convention food. Instead, it’s more like a boutique comic con experience held in a luxury hotel. It’s a genuine vacation where you can really relax and have fun.”
Comic convention staples such as panels, classes, and performances are on the Fan2Sea schedule, as well as nightly parties, movie screenings, pub quizzes, and cosplay karaoke.
“We’re looking to program activities for about 16-18 hours per day. We want you to be able to stay up late and grab some breakfast before the big stuff, so we’re not programming anything before 10am most days,” said Lawrence. ”We’re trying to provide enough entertainment for those who want it. with enough variety that everybody should find something great to do with their friends and fellow fans.”
With it being a convention on a cruise ship, there are numerous outside activities attendees will be able to partake in – swimming pools, mini-golf courses, rock-climbing walls, massage rooms, card tables, and movie theaters.
“And, of course, you can always leave the boat in Key West or Cozumel and take one of the many excursions offered. Each will offer their own adventures, including kayaking, snorkeling, dolphin encounters, Jeep safaris, beautiful beaches and cultural excursions.” said Lawrence. “How hard you want to go is completely up to you. “
Ticket prices start at $399, which includes your convention pass, room, and meals, and on Monday Fan2Sea will be having a Stranger Things-themed Flash sale with 15% off, VIP Access to the Stranger Things panel, a cabin upgrade, and much more.
As creative director of Fan2Sea, Lawrence oversees the entertainment and logistics of the unique convention experience – and has a surprising but apt background for it.
“Most of my work has been in the pop culture realm, adapting Hollywood and comic book properties for theme park attractions and designing toys & collectibles,” he said. “One of our clients approached us with the idea for Fan2Sea and brought us on board to produce the event. It’s been a lot of work getting it up and running, but it’s something we’re truly passionate about.”
Although Rethink is a new name to the convention experience, they’ve hired numerous people with convention experience and contracted with veteran themed-cruise travel agency Flying Dutchmen Travel to make the experience as seamless as possible.
“Flying Dutchmen Travel brings a wealth of logistical and production knowledge to the table after doing it for 13 years,” said Lawrence. “It’s definitely complicated, but we have the best partners in the world helping us make this experience the best it can be.”