Cruises aren’t for everybody, unless you happen to love gaining 20 pounds, getting drunk every minute of the day, and possibly becoming violently ill. Some basement-dwellers would rather stay home where they can play Dungeons & Dragons without showing their face out in public and being ridiculed. Being on a ship where you can’t go anywhere if you’re not quite into the whole “being in public” thing doesn’t really sound like fun for them. If you’re anything like this, however, then we may have found the perfect cruise for you.
The JoCo Cruise runs annually and aims to cater to the, well, nerds. The cruise was started in 2011 by singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton (hence the name JoCo) along with geek-music-comedy duo Paul & Storm. The first cruise contained only 375 people, mostly subscribers of Coulton’s own newsletter, but now cruises usually contain around 1,800. This year’s cruise has an especially nerdy lineup of stars, including singer Aimee Mann (her third cruise), Netflix comic Maria Bamford, and several other masters of mirth.
“At first, a cruise didn’t sound like something I would enjoy,” said Mann, but she’s back for her third outing enjoying all the “[fans] and entertainer friends in one place,” according to Coulton. “The community is among the most polite, enthusiastic, fun-loving, creative bunch I know,” Coulton goes on.
The cruise has garnered such a following that an entire ship is chartered for seven nights, the likes of which has acquired talent spanning music, comedy, comics, and even podcasts. This year’s cruise will sail out of Los Angeles, destined for the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. Prior to departure, however, guests have the opportunity to view the San Diego comic-art gallery.
Mann went on to illustrate just how much she wasn’t looking forward to her first cruise: “I don’t like groups. I’m antisocial. I don’t like hanging out with people. I’m not a nerd, so I didn’t know what to expect. And I get seasick.” Now, however, she acknowledges that she has such a blast on these yearly ventures that they end up being her annual highlight.
Not only do the cruise members bond over a week of movie watching, karaoke nights, and sweaty gaming, but they even manage to stay in touch during the rest of the year — always online and in their basements, of course. All kidding aside, many of these group chats sustain them positively during the 358 days of the year when they aren’t cruising and clubbing.
But the group events just get nerdier….
Cruise members are even given ample space to establish their own social activities, which can include anything from knitting circles to ukulele jamming sessions. They’ve ended up creating more events for themselves than the cruise planners have made for them! There was even a panel created called “Teach Aimee Mann How to be Nerd.”
The entire thing is an exhaustive experience for all involved between the various shows, niche groups, late-night panels, and special interactions with guest VIPs, but it’s one that the nerds at sea relish with heightened anticipation. If it sounds like something you’re interested in, there’s always room for more at the D&D table!