While introducing Maya to sailing in Second Life recently, I took us out on Exotix 2, heading south across Blake Sea with no particular destination in mind. As we headed down the coastal regions towards Honah Lee (see my write-up here), I found myself asking, “ever seen the SS Galaxy?”
“No,” Maya replied. “What is that?” And with that, our course was set.
I mention this by way of introduction, because I frequently meet people unaware of the Queen of the Sagittarian Sea, more properly known as the SS Galaxy, which tend to surprise me, as she is quite unique and one of the sights of the platform. At almost three full regions in length and about 1/4 of of a region wide, she is quite probably probably the largest vessel afloat in any gird-based virtual world. “Launched” in mid-2007, she is a hugely impressive sight (and build), with an unladen primmage in excess of 32,000.
Obviously, at that size, the Galaxy isn’t a mobile vessel, but that doesn’t matter, because what it has always offered Second Life residents is a destination with broad range of activities and a calendar of events in a very unique setting. It also offers over 100 suites, cabins and mall spots to rent by those looking for a place to live or in which to establish a shop front.
I first visited the Galaxy in 2008, and became a semi-regular visitor over the years, first blogging about it in 2011. I’ve continued to pay the occasional visit since then in as much as since taking up flying, I’ve often used the Galaxy as a way point for my solo flights when I’ve no particular destination in mind, and have very occasionally sailed around her. However, it’s actually been a few years since I last explored her decks and facilities, so the sailing trip with Maya turned into an unexpected opportunity to re-familiarise myself with this massive ship.
If you are going to explore the liner, the best place to start is the aft embarkation landing. From here you can peruse the ship’s deck plan and determine points of interest you might like to visit. The list of these includes the Zodiac Ballroom, Constellation Lounge, shopping mall, art galleries, swimming pools (indoor and out), ice skating rink, health spa, restaurants, nightclub, conference facilities, and more. Decks can largely be wandered at will, with both staircases and elevators linking them, making getting around easy.
The upper deck offers the greatest concentration of attractions. It is here you’ll find the Zodiac Ballroom, sitting under a huge glass dome, the main dining room and bar, the ice skating rink, coral lagoon pool and the wedding chapel and reception area. A couple of public helipads offer those flying in a place to land, but be aware that auto-return in set to 15 minutes, and rezzing is disabled.
The upper deck also offers a couple of attractions I used to enjoy years ago with friends, but again haven’t played in a long time: the miniature putting green and the skeet / clay pigeon shoot. These are located at the aft end of the deck, close to the dome of the Zodiac Ballroom, along with the skydiving launcher and landing point, where I was able to introduce Strawberry Singh to the joys of skydiving in 2014.
As one would expect aboard a cruise ship, live events and music are a regular part of the Galaxy’s calendar, and details of music / dancing events can be found on the ship’s events calendar, also reproduced on the on the Galaxy’s blog which also includes general news and information about the ship.
The Galaxy may be an all prim build and perhaps lack more recent innovations introduced to SL such as the use of materials as a part of interior texturing, but it would be a mistake to dismiss her as “old school” because of this. What she may lack in terms of modern day build options she more than makes up for in terms of facilities and things to do; as such she still stands as a worthwhile destination for those who like exploring Second Life. What’s more, as she approaches her eighth anniversary, the SS Galaxy stands as a part of the history of Second Life, and her presence in-world is testament of how the platform has always been a springboard to our imaginations and creativity.