June 22, 2016
News for Wizard World Comic Con Cruise 2016:
Wizard World Scuttles Cruise Conventionby Patrick Delahanty, Executive Producer, FanCons.com
Citing filming schedules of talent, Wizard World has announced that Wizard World Comic Con Cruise has been cancelled. Anyone who purchased a cruise package will be refunded in full. Refunds will be processed on Wednesday, June 22nd and it may take 7 to 10 days for the refund to appear on the credit card.
In April, Wizard World announced they would be holding one of their conventions on a cruise ship. Wizard World Cruise was planned for December 2nd through 5th. The three-day convention would be held aboard the Norwegian Sky, departing from Miami and going to Nasau, Bahamas. The convention, as announced, promised an artists' alley, cosplay contests, vendors, and guests including Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead. The cruise was priced starting at $749.
In the months since the announcement, Norman Reedus had to cancel due to his filming schedule, but additional guests such as Chris Hemsworth, Joel Hodgson, Ernie Hudson, Phil Ortiz, and cosplayer Abby Dark-Star had been announced.
Although the convention states it is cancelled "due to multiple talent having new filming schedule conflicts beyond our control", it's odd that the convention company, known for its large guest lists in cities across the United States, cannot find talent willing to take part in the cruise by December.
It seems extremely likely that the cancellation is also due in part to financial issues on Wizard World's end. Shortly after the convention was announced, Wizard World reported a loss of $4.3 million for 2015. This was followed by the resignation of the CEO less than a week later.
Even without the bad financial news for Wizard World, the cancellation should come as no surprise to those who have followed convention news for a while. There have been previous attempts to hold a convention on a cruise ship including various themed cruises, such as Star Trek cruises, but the only one of any significant size that we've been able to confirm happened regularly has been JoCo Cruise Crazy, which has been running annually since 2011. Part of the problem is that many convention attendees are young and unable or are not willing to pay the large sum of money needed for a cruise. That hasn't stopped convention organizers from trying.