In a surprise move over the last couple of day, The SS Galaxy, the iconic 3-region long static cruise ship, quietly weighed anchor and gently made revolutions to slip away from her long-term home adjacent to the United Sailing Sims, south of Blake Sea and then steam across the open seas to arrive off the west coast of Bellisseria, where she has apparently lowered her anchors once more, within (very long, admittedly!) eyesight of the houseboat neighbourhood I treat as my second SL home.
Dubbed The Queen of the Saggitartian Sea, the SS Galaxy was laid down in 2007, and has remained throughout the intervening years a stunning example of what can be achieves with the humble 10x10x10 prim when suitably sized and cut. Billed as “the largest build in Second Life”, the ship is split across three regions – Galaxy FORE, Galaxy MID and Galaxy AFT, and for the first part of her life served as a floating home for those seeking a more unusual place to live, (with furnished rentals running from cabins offered at L$35 with no prim allowance, to single and double suites (L$550/week with 200 LI and L$1,000/week with 300 LI) all the way up to the likes of the VIP suites and Captain’s suites (L$1,500/with with 500 LI and L$5,500/week with 1500 LI), with numerous public facilities and event spaces (swimming pools, club, restaurant, ballroom, chapel for weddings, skydiving, mini golf, etc.), as well as an on-board shopping mall.
In 2015 it appeared as if the Galaxy’s “cruising” days had come to an end. As I reported in SS Galaxy: a last cruise into the sunset (April 2015), it was announced that for various reasons (none connected with issues of tier), the ship would be closing and removed from the gird.
However, the announcement raised a lot of concern over the potential loss of such an iconic vessel and historic build, that the owners and Linden Lab got together to discuss the Lab to take over running the Galaxy as something of a museum piece, with the removal of all commercial operations (rentals and stores). I was able to break the news in SS Galaxy refits for a new role after the ship’s long-term owner, DBDigital Epsilon, sent me a note (also released on the official SS Galaxy website) that the agreement had been reached.
By August 2015, with the ship relocated slighted from her original position, the work in refurbishing the ship had reached a point where public access was once again permitted, and I was given something of a heads-up on the news and a tour by Frost Mole, who had been leading the work on the refitting (see SS Galaxy lowers her gangways to visitors once more).
At that time, much of the work had been completed, although Frost noted she was hoping to do more. In particular, a balloon tour had been added to the stern helipads and a hang glider to one of the forward helipads, while some of the private areas of the ship had converted into public spaces – such as an art gallery -, and some of the lower decks received things like a new bowling alley, with the mooring stations saw the addition of 7-Seas fishing and swan boat rezzers. Sadly, the skydiving system vanished at the same time – something I personally miss, as over the years, I’d used it to introduce a few people to the sport via the Galaxy; but that’s the way things go; but the top-of-the-hour firework displays are still active.
When the Lab took on the Galaxy, Keira Linden noted that the ship would be made available for public events, and while some were held there (such as a couple of impromptu Lab / Mole / resident get-togethers), nothing was ever really formally put in place to make it obvious residents might use the ship for events. Whether this will not change with her move to Bellisseria remains to be seen – but given the amount of social activity within the Bellisseria community, the liner could become a popular venue, and encourage a wider audience.
The news of the move has been spreading outwards for the 24-ish hours since the Galaxy arrived off of Bellisseria. Initially inaccessible immediately after the move, she is now once again open to public access. Thus fair the responses within various forum threads (see here and here as examples) has been positive, and there has been a fair amount of traffic onto and off of the ship.