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William Shatner wants cruises to end ‘swim with dolphins’ events

Captain Kirk is not happy

william shatnerabc

William Shatner has a bone to pick with Norwegian Jade’s one-of-a-kind Star Trek: The Cruise, and it involves dolphins. Shatner, known for his role as Captain Kirk in the iconic Star Trek series, has written a public letter to the company requesting that they remove the “swim with dolphins” experiences from its itinerary.

In a letter sent today, Shatner writes, “[S]o long as your company offers ‘swim with dolphins’ experiences, what should be a futuristic voyage will be set back light years. . . . 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.”

PETA backed the actor, and notes that “dolphins suffer from extreme emotional, physical, and psychological stress when they’re subjected to forced human contact”. Over the past few years, 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. William Shatner’s letter to the CEO and president of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., Frank J. Del Rio, follows.

“Dear Mr. Del Rio,

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.”