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Starships Book IIOO: Cruise Ship

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2022 issue.

Starships Book IIOO: Cruise Ship. Christian Hollnbuchner.
Self-published, no website found
12pp, PDF
US$0.67/UKú0.50

I like a small-ship universe, so I was a bit disappointed to find that this ship, at 20kdt, is a large-ship-universe ship. It’s billed as the ‘latest and best luxury cruise ship’, and I suppose that the skeletal descriptive material could support that, but it definitely will take the good imagination of a reader to make it ‘real’.

The basic design is a long, thin hull with a ring around it to aft. The (low-detail) deck plans place the crew quarters in the ring, which also appears to support the drive pods, at the end of the pylons that connect it to the main hull. To all appearances, you have to walk through the periphery of the drive pod to get to crew quarters. The bridge is right above the engineering section, and both are located aft in the main hull – and it appears that a cargo lift goes right through the middle of both.

The stat sheet for the ship states that there are 56 passenger staterooms plus 92 ‘suites’, each of which is twice the size of a stateroom – but the deckplans only provide for 92 ‘cabins’. There’s no grid or any indication of scale, so it’s not clear whether the ‘cabins’ are the ‘suites’ or the staterooms – but either way, at least one more deck is needed. The ‘restaurants’ don’t really appear to be large enough to support even the number of ‘cabins’ shown, much less the (presumed) maximal passenger load of 240 (assuming one passenger per stateroom and two per ‘suite’), even if you assume that they actually have two or three seating levels (as the text states that that deck rises through three decks worth of height).

The text states that the ships of this class are all listed as naval reserve, and serve as troop ships when activated. Presumably, the park and mall get converted to barracks, mess facilities, PT facilities, etc., but it’s hard to come up with a use for the cubage devoted to the aquaria running the full height of the main hull at the base of the support pylons. As troop ships, they’re unarmed, protected only by the armed ships they’re travelling in convoy with, or by the limited number of fighters that they normally provide hangarage for. There are also only 36 escape pods; about the only way this can be considered adequate if the ship needs to be abandoned is if each pod can hold ten sophonts – although there are 18 shuttles (9 ‘orbital’ and 9 ‘stellar’), normally used for sightseeing and transporting passengers between the ship and various attractions. No details on the shuttles are given.

As part of the single page of text, you get NPC profiles for the captain, the typical security squad member, and the typical other crew member. None of them stand out in any way, however.

I can’t give this a good recommendation; about its only favorable point is that its 67-cent price isn’t quite overpricing it. But there are older ship designs that are really better, both as ships and as source material for gaming. Unless you have a really good imagination for fleshing things out – in which case, you probably don’t need something like this – give it a pass.