Before Trekkies and other vacationers set sail for new frontiers on the Norwegian Jade’s one-of-a-kind Star Trek: The Cruise, William Shatner — who plays Captain Kirk in the iconic series — has a request for the company: Boldly go where many have gone before and cut the cruel “swim with dolphins” experiences from its itinerary.
In a letter to Norwegian Cruise Line CEO and president Frank J. Del Rio, Shatner wrote: "I’m so happy that Star Trek fans have the opportunity to climb aboard Norwegian Jade’s Star Trek: The Cruise and experience their own interstellar voyage of sorts. However, so long as your company offers “swim with dolphins” experiences, what should be a futuristic voyage will be set back light years.
“Never before has public opinion leaned so strongly against marine mammal captivity, presumably across all galaxies. Dolphins are highly intelligent, socially complex animals who travel great distances in the wild, often in large family pods. In captivity, they’re confined to pitiful, barren makeshift lagoons, often after being captured from the wild and torn away from their families in violent ways or after being bred into captivity for profit. There’s no justification for condemning animals to a lifetime of suffering in the name of entertainment.
“Aboard the USS Enterprise, it was Captain Kirk’s duty ‘to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations’ in order to advance and diversify our own. The exploitation of any species for profit and entertainment would have violated the Prime Directive. I’m urging you to go where compassionate companies — such as TripAdvisor, MasterCard, and more — have gone before by removing “swim with dolphins” encounters from the Star Trek: The Cruise voyage, as well as from all other cruises offered through Norwegian Jade. Surely, Star Trek fans would appreciate the decision to allow dolphins to remain in the wild — and prosper."
PETA — whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” — notes that dolphins suffer from extreme emotional, physical, and psychological stress when they’re subjected to forced human contact, and several companies, including TripAdvisor and Savings.com, have cut ties with “swim with dolphins” promotions after learning of the suffering inherent in marine mammal captivity.
The cruise embarks on its next voyage from Miami in January and will make stops in Honduras, Belize, and Mexico.