SS Galaxy lowers her gangways to visitors once more

 SS Galaxy - getting ready to make steam, and once again open to visits
SS Galaxy – getting ready to make steam, and once again open to visits, a tour balloon floating over her

Frost Mole dropped me a line on Friday, August 28th to let me know The SS Galaxy, the 3-region-long cruise ship that has so long been a part of Second Life, and threatened with the breaker’s yard earlier in the year, is once again open to the public.

“It’s still very much a work in progress, I’ll be decorating the staterooms and adding details to the ship over the next few months. But there’s a lot to see and do right now,” Frost told me, prompting me to hop over and take a look.

The revised upper deck pool, with new slide and the new dance floor beyond
The revised upper deck pool, with new slide and the new dance floor beyond

In April 2015, I wrote about what at that time appeared to be the final cruise for the SS Galaxy, a series of events causing her owners to decide to call time and close her down. A stunning pirm build, she had been venue, events location, destination and – for those renting her many cabins and staterooms – a home. Given her unique looks and status, her loss would have been a blow to Second Life.

Fortunately, and subsequent to that report, I received the news that an agreement had been reached which would see the Lab take over the running and care of the ship, allowing her to remain a part of Second Life. Under this arrangement, the ship would no longer offer rental accommodation, but would be refitted and equipped ready to once again become a destination and a venue for special events.

The wedding chapel has been revised somewhat, but remains in place
The wedding chapel has been revised somewhat, but remains in place

Since then, work has been progressing gradually – a ship of this size represents a lot of space that needs to be looked at and decisions made on how to use the various facilities and rooms, etc. Frost has been busy with the ship (and doubtless projects like the Lab’s PaleoQuest as well), working through getting the ship ready for her new role – although as noted, there is still a way to go yet; so if you do hop over, don’t be surprised it looks as if parts have yet to be finished.

“I tried to add lots of interactive things to do – hot air balloon tour, swan boats, tables and food in the dining areas,” Frost told me as I arrived aboard. “Pretty things in the wedding chapel, a working cinema with public domain movies I’ll swap out once a month or so, kids areas, a water slide…”

New art in the gallery
New art in the gallery

“And 10-pin bowling?” I asked, spotting the alley,

“Ha-ha yes!” Frost replied. “Although that area needs lots of work. I’d like to add a food court with booths, more games, and giving the bowling alley a better home!”

Elsewhere, the ship retains her upper deck swimming pool, albeit it slightly reduced in size and with a new dance floor installed close by; ice-skating rink and familiar doomed ballroom, after of which sits the balloon tour launch point, occupying two of the old helipads, Similarly, the forward helipads are now the launch-point for hang gliders, offering visitors another way to see the ship from the air.

The forward spa also remains, for those seeking a little pampering!
The forward spa also remains, for those seeking a little pampering!

Curiously, the world map currently shows two SS Galaxys – one occupying her “old” position kitty-corner to Temasek, and the “new” Galaxy, sitting just off the Honah Lee estate (and connected to it by a OpenSpace water sim). I assume the former, which appears to sit on unnamed regions, will be vanishing soon (or already has, as is some kind of map ghost).

Again, just as a final reminder, if you do visit at the moment, keep in mind the ship is still a work-in-progress, so some things will still look a little empty right now – but that will be changing. As it is, it is really great to see her back with us.

I wonder if there will be an official event when she’s finished and ready for a re-launch?

Firework displays take place every hour, on the hour
Firework displays take place every hour, on the hour

SLurl Details

SS Galaxy refits for a new role

SS Galaxy - set to return to SL
SS Galaxy – set to return to SL

Update, May 18th: Keira Linden sent me the following in-world, and has given me permission to share it. Hopefully it will both please those of us hoping to see the Galaxy resume her role as a location for events:

“Hey Inara!  Just read your blog about the SS Galaxy.  Great article! 

“Just wanted to clear a few minor things up.  I saw where the topic of Events was discussed and wanted you to know that once the dust settles on the ship it will be available for public events just as any other parcel set as a Linden Location would be. I know that the ship had numerous events, and we would hate to have that opportunity vanish for those who have enjoyed it for so long.

“Also, I wanted it be clear that this wasn’t a situation where we came in and took over.  We worked very closely with the former owners for quite some time before they offered us the opportunity to preserve the builds for the entire community.  As long time residents ourselves, we are very sensitive to the disappearance of historic areas such as and work very hard to ways to keep them in world and active.  Thanks again for the blurb on SS Galaxy! Talk to you later!”

In April 2015, I wrote about the final cruise for the SS Galaxy. At the time, a series of circumstances meant that the owners had decided to reluctantly call time on the great ship’s eight-year cruise on the “Sagittarian Sea” and make a return to port at the start of May.

Now, it seems that the great liner is to make a return to the open oceans of Second Life. DB Digital, who has operated the liner’s long with his SL partner Mia Epsilon, for the majority of the the ship’s cruise, passed me a short communique on Tuesday, May 12th, which has also been posted to the SS Galaxy blog, and reads as follows:

Dear Supporters and Friends of the SS Galaxy,

There have been many rumours cycling regarding the Galaxy and what really happened.  I can’t release that information as of yet.  However, I can now say that the SS Galaxy has been acquired by Linden Labs and will return.  She is currently undergoing retrofitting to sail under the Linden Labs flag.  I have been tirelessly converting all the transferable prims I personally owned to Linden Lab ownership, and my part of the project is now complete.

Sadly being under Linden Lab’s flag also means that none of the previous management or crew will be aboard in any sort of capacity.  I have also been told there will be no rentals or events.  This means she will not quite be the Galaxy you know and love.  But she will still exist in a museum state and be open for visitation in the near future.

More information will be released as I can.  I wish to thank everyone again from the guests, to the staff, and beyond.  You all made the Galaxy the special place she was, and no one can take that from us.

DBDigital Epsilon
Former Managing Director
SS Galaxy

SS Galaxy - the spa pool
SS Galaxy – the spa pool

As can be seen from the communication, it doesn’t look as if the Galaxy is going to be available as a venue, but like Svarga, is to be preserved as a piece of Second Life history. I also understand from DB that her final moorings have yet to be determined. Should an update be forthcoming on this through DB or the Lab directly, I’ll update this post and will doubtless cover her return when it happens.

SS Galaxy: a last cruise into the sunset

SS Galaxy
SS Galaxy

Update, May 11th: the SS Galaxy is set to return to Second Life as a result of an intersession from the Lab. See my update for details.

I’ve written about the SS Galaxy a couple of times in this blog, the most recent being in March 2015. The Queen of the Sagittarian Sea has been a staple of Second Life for many years,  being a destination, a venue and a home to many, as she sits to the south of Blake Sea, spanning the length of three regions from bow to stern.

And now it seems that she is embarked on her final cruise. On Sunday, May 3rd, the mighty Queen will make a final figurative return to port as she is removed from the grid.

The news came on Sunday, April 26th, in the form of a post on the SS Galaxy blog, which reads in part:

Dear Supporters and Friends of the SS Galaxy,

The Management and Crew of the SS Galaxy would like to thank each and every one of you for helping make the Galaxy community one of the most thriving, vibrant and welcoming on the Second Life grid.

Together with your help, we have been building wonderful memories since February 2007…

For us as the Crew, the privilege has been ours to meet and interact with each of you over these eight years. The memories we have from these experiences, will continue to inspire us and our values, long beyond 2015.

Many of you have become more than our cabin tenants – we consider you a part of the Galaxy family as well  :-). In the many diverse strands of life stories, God has granted us the blessing of having our respective stories intertwine, at least for a time. As we prepare to go on beyond April 2015, the Crew wish you that the strength in bonds will continue to sustain each and every one of you, along life’s way.

From all of us here at the SS Galaxy,

A heartfelt thank you.

SS Galaxy
SS Galaxy

The reasons for the closure are complex, and are not related to problems of tier, but rather have arisen as a result of a number of unfortunate incidents over the course of the past month.

As someone who has always enjoyed my visits to the Galaxy, I know that I will miss her presence in Second Life enormously. It was while exploring her in 2009 that I first discovered the fun of skeet (clay pigeon) shooting in Second Life – and i think there was a time back then when my name could regularly be seen on the Leader board 😉 .  I also thoroughly enjoyed skydiving from the launcher on her stern deck, and frequently used her as a venue to introduce friends to the fun of skydiving – the last one being Strawberry Singh.

Saying farewell to a much-loved venue, destination and home in Second Life is never easy, particularly for those closest to something that has, over the years been a labour of love. Commenting on the Galaxy’s forthcoming departure from Second Life, DBDigital Epsilon, the driving force behind the great cruise liner said, “as hard as this is, I know it is God’s timing and time for her to go with dignity and grace as she always has.”

Events aboard the ship will continue up until she returns to port on Sunday, May 3rd, so if you haven’t visited her before or in a while, while not schedule a visit around one of them, and both tour the ship and enjoy her unique atmosphere? Because once she is gone, I doubt we’ll see the likes of her again in-world.

SS Galaxy is a unique environment; a highlight of Second Life
SS Galaxy has been a unique location; a highlight of Second Life since 2007 now heading into the sunset

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Destination: SS Galaxy

It’s three sims in length, you need to set your draw distance to over 600 metres if you want to see it all in one go, and the upper deck is over 30 metres above sea level.

However you look at it, the SS Galaxy is an amazingly impressive build. Cruise ship, wedding venue, ballroom, recreational centre, shopping mall, home – the ship is all of these, and more. I first came across her when looking for a new dance venue and had no idea what to expect. Since that time, she’s become a familiar place I love to visit and introduce friends to.

The model of the Galaxy and the deck plan

If you use the Landmark Tp, you’ll arrive at the default boarding point on a floating pier located towards the aft end of the ship. Unless you have Draw turned up, it’s hard to appreciate exactly what you’re facing – but don’t let that put you off.

The pier itself forms a part of the ship’s recreational facilities, offering dinghy sailing, fishing, scuba diving, windsurfing and jet skiis. For the romantically inclined, there are wooden rez-on-demand rafts that will take you on a tour around the ship. The rafts provide a gentle commentary about the Galaxy, slowing periodically alongside points of interest. Set your local time to midnight if you want to add to the romance and enjoy a cuddle as you sail! If you prefer, you can take one of the rez-on-demand dinghies and plot your own course around the ship.

Entering the Galaxy, you might think you’re actually arriving at a luxury hotel – the embarkation area resembles an upmarket hotel lobby, complete with glass-panelled ceilings and rich carpeting on the floors. Pride of place here goes to a scale model of the ship, with a wall-mounted deck plan and guide located on the far wall, behind the main information desk. To the left lays the main section of the aft shopping mall, while to the right a broad companionway leads forward through the centre of the ship.

The Galaxy at night

As the embarkation area is in the aft sim, it’s usually best to start your exploration here and gradually work your way forward. To do this, take the elevator up to Deck 5. This will deposit you in one of the galleried walkways that lead you past some of the many suites and staterooms that are available for rent. Some of these are quite huge, and extend over two or three  decks of the ship, offering plenty of room and balconied views out over the sea. Continue aft past these and up a short flight of steps and you arrive on the stern deck – and a recreational heaven.

Stern recreation area and helipads

Here you can try your hand at putting (L$10 for 30 mins), or go sky diving (a personal favourite from waay back) – standard and pro chutes on sale at the vendors or pick up a basic freebie – and even add a bubble game to your skydiving fun;  if you’re feeling really energetic, take a short walk up the starboard side and give the rock climbing wall a go. If none of this grabs you, plonk yourself in one of the deck chairs and watch the world go by – you might even witness the comings and goings of a helicopter or two over the aft helipads (four in total: two for public use, two for the use of the occupiers of the ship’s two stunning Aft Staterooms, which are provided fully (and tastefully) furnished and which have a personal prim allowance on top).

Zodiac ballroom

Directly forward of the recreation area and helipads sits the huge dome of the Galaxy’s galleried Zodiac Ballroom with its circular dance floor, raised stage, upper gallery seating area and – way up at the top of the dome – a private dance area just for two.

Passing through the ballroom, you arrive at the upper section of the aft shopping mall, with doors either side leading back out to the upper deck. Take the port side doors, and you’ll find yourself coming out near another game I’ve always enjoyed aboard the Galaxy – the skeet / clay pigeon shooting (L$10 a game).

Moving forward from here, you’ll come to the first of the sim boundaries that divide the ship into three parts. At one time these were highlighted – and needed to be, as crossings could be a bit rough; but in difference to those that say “sim crossings are getting worse”, here’s one place where that is not the case. Approach the crossing gently (eyes on your co-ordinates!), and you’ll get over it with virtually *no* rubber-banding.

One of the two aft staterooms

Once across the boundary, you’re in the midships section of the liner, and can visit the ice skating rink, take a splash in the upper deck pool area, or pop down and walk among the trees of the arboretum. The pool and rink offer plenty of room for fun, with skates available from the rink-side vendor in the case of the latter.

The forward end of the ship houses the huge and ornate wedding area, complete with trestles of flowers, tables, chairs, a dance floor, reception area and the ceremonial area. A chapel is located in one corner of this area, providing a place for quiet introspection.

The wedding chapel and reception area

Across the companionway from the chapel is the ship’s bridge, where you can take a look over the controls and generally play Captain. Above this is the forward observation lounge with room for dancing or sitting and chatting. Directly below the bridge are the Galaxy’s two enormous forward suites, each of which spans three decks.

Also at the fore end of the ship lay the Boiler Room Nightclub and the Galaxy’s spa and fitness centre. The latter includes a pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and exercise machines for that perfect pumped prim look – note that it is also “clothing optional”!

Dining out, Japanese-style

For those who like dining out in Second Life, the Galaxy offers a choice of restaurants. My personal favourite is the Japanese garden, featuring individual chalets where you can dine in comfort, drinking in the night-time ambience and enjoying the company of friends.

And it doesn’t end there – there is more to discover in and around the SS Galaxy, but I’m going to leave this as a taster and tease. If you want to find out more, you should take time out and pay the SS Galaxy a visit – you won’t be disappointed.

The spa’s swimming pool

Places mentioned in this article

Recommendations when visiting the Galaxy

  • Make sure you turn up your draw distance as far as your system can comfortably handle
  • If you want to get around the ship quickly, make sure you pick up and Information Card from one of the many note card givers around the ship – they contain a host of useful landmarks
  • Be aware that the ship is home to a lot of people as well as a place to visit
  • Give yourself plenty of time to explore
  • Keep an eye out for the holodeck
  • If you’re confused as to where you are, look out for one of the cutaway plans of the ship to orient yourself.
A life on the ocean wave: staterooms, suites and cabins for rent

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