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Starship Luxurious
Some spaceships are better than others

The Axiom. Putting the 'Star' in 'Executive Star Liner.'

In media, spacecraft and starships (especially the Cool Starship) revel in their unnecessary use of on-board space. Passageways will be broad with high ceilings. The bridge will be an expansive multilevel complex paneled with floating viewscreens and control panels. Crew quarters will be as spacious as a suite at the Plaza.

Compare this to Real Life military and commercial ships where efficient use of space is a major engineering priority. Every cubic meter of volume should be dedicated to storing and sustaining as many finite resources and support systems as possible. This will be especially critical in spacecraft where it is an extremely isolated system and the only resources available will be those carried on board. The nearest port may be months or years away. Therefore sustaining a space the size of a gymnasium that's manned by only five people and only stores one day's worth of snacks is a major waste of resources on a military vessel. Airships are a notable subversion in that they actually need seemingly large, wasteful interiors in order to facilitate weight distribution to the hull.

However, "cramped" and "luxurious" are also purely relative terms between time periods. A modern, space-efficient, hot-bunking military naval vessel is the epitome of space and comfort and luxury compared to ships of ancient times. A sailor from the navies of 1600 would consider life aboard, say, the Nimitz-class supercarrier Abraham Lincoln to be palatial ... and probably inconceivably wasteful.

This trope is usually justified in cases of "cruise spaceships", where the wasted space is part of the point, as the passengers are wealthy enough to absorb the cost. Another major justification is how technological progress made our ships go from cramped and dirty boats to massive and luxuriously "wasteful" ocean liners, and if Space Is an Ocean, said progress can apply also to spaceships. For Sufficiently Advanced Aliens (or humans at the Crystal Spires and Togas level with access to Applied Phlebotinum), cost would naturally be nearly not an issue. This trope can also be somewhat justified in the case of spaceships that are constructed and operated entirely in space, with no intention of ever making planetfall. Most of the space issues on current spacecraft are due to the fact that it takes an obscene amount of money per pound to lift something out of the atmosphere.

Often overlaps with Unnecessarily Large Vessel. May overlap with Mile-Long Ship or even Planet Spaceship.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • The Eltrium
  • Averted in Starship Operators where accommodations aboard the Amaterasu were claustrophobic.
  • The Nirvana from Vandread had its bridge overhanging a park. Then again, the ship wasn't designed by anyone; it just... well, no one's really sure how that happened.
  • The titular ship in Sol Bianca had large open spaces and an indoor park. It had a five (wo)man crew.
  • Subtly used in Legend of Galactic Heroes, where the flagships of Galactic Empire are very roomy and advanced compared to the utilitarian vessels of the Free Planets Alliance. Smaller Imperial vessels seem to be as Spartan as their Alliance counterparts.
  • Jurai treeships in Tenchi Muyo!, especially those belonging to the royal family, are not simply roomy and well-outfitted, but can be ridiculously spacious and luxurious. Mikagami, Seto's personal warship, one of the most powerful in the Jurai fleet, has a huge Japanese-style landscape park (complete with The Thing That Goes Doink). Its crew — exactly one. But then, the Juraian Empire IS wealthy beyond belief, and they ARE Sufficiently Advanced Aliens.
    • To clarify, the ships of Jurai are powered by Royal Trees that draws energy from multiple dimensions from their roots, which are direct descendants of Tsunami, one of the goddesses which created the multi-dimensional Tenchi Muyo universe. Along with obscene amounts of speed and firepower, a Royal Tree can generate a pocket dimension for its crew. Like the TARDIS, a Jurai treeship is MUCH Bigger on the Inside than it looks on the outside. Essentially, the interior is pretty much as big as the owner wants it to be. A full size luxury resort and hotel, complete with wildlife park? No problem!
      • Hey, if they are advance enough to build the galaxies most powerful spaceships out of nothing but WOOD without using nails and screws or even glue, and the trees used to power their ships have the ability to put up force fields wings that are so powerful that not even another goddess at the same level as Tsunami cannot even comprehand how it was done in over 20000 years she descended, what can't they do?
  • Macross has ships that house entire cities. Though the first one was designed for giants, and subsequent ones were designed as cities in space, and the actual starship was far more conventional.
  • While not as bad as some of the other examples, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha still managed to include a classic, Japanese-style tea room in the Arthra, one of the Time-Space Administration Bureau's Dimensional Cruise Patrol Warships. The room even had The Thing That Goes Doink.
  • The Peacemillion from Gundam Wing, a three-kilometer wide spaceship which seems to have what looks like a food court, where the Gundam Pilots hang out between missions. Potentially justified since Peacemillion was designed to be a space exploration/colonization ship.
  • Most Gundam meta-series ships large enough to carry Humongous Mecha seem to also have room for pretty nice cafeterias, IIRC. The Argama in Zeta Gundam features a sign proclaiming (in English) the availability of "Beer".
    • Not entirely unjustified since Humongous Mecha in the 20-25 meter range require a lot of hanger space, along with storage for ammunition and spare parts. Those space needs easily dwarf crew accomodations for any reasonably sized crew, so it doesn't cost that much more to add a few small luxuries.
      • Real Luxury space in the Gundam series is in Gundam SEED Destiny, where they modified the Archangel class space/air battlecarrier to go underwater as well and not only have a large enough public bathroom on top of self shower space in living quartres, but also an imitation hot spring area completed with Japanese style gardening scenery.
  • Mamoru Nagano and Kunihiko Ikuhara's joint Light Novel Schell Bullet gives us Gene Liners — a huge armed starliners that has everything from stylish bridges and spacious corridors with indoor gardens (see above) to the onboard spas with a Mt. Fuji replica inside. Somewhat justified in that these enormous ships not only carry paying passengers, but have to be this big to be economical, and if we have a cubage, why not fill it with something nice?
  • The interior of Space Battle Ship Yamato is much roomier than the actual Battleship Yamato, at least if IJN battleships were similar to contemporary American ships. Especially when one considers that half the ship's volume is occupied by the Wave Motion Gun. They also can put up some kind of force field that allows crewmembers to walk around on the deck of the ship without spacesuits. This field is sometimes visible to the audience, and sometimes its existence is just implied, so it almost looks like the animators just forgot they were in space.
    • Also bear in mind that the actual Battleship Yamato was called the Yamato Hotel in WWII for its really spacious living area with over 10 times the crew members,(also for it being anchored on shore for almost its entire life time without seeing combat) so this is not quite off the chart. In general the Yamato-class battleships were surprisingly luxurious, including air-conditioning (which was a novelty in the 1940s).
      • The only space the actual Yamato lacked was toilet space, they have a 100:1 crew to toilet ratio, and did not have a well organized system of shift thus every shift break, they have reeeaaallllyyyy loooooooong lines in front of the toilets.

    Fan Works 
  • From Bajor to the Black has then-Sergeant Kanril Eleya favorably compares vids she's seen of Federation starship interiors to the secondhand Breen-built Bajoran frigate Kira Nerys. The bridge has twelve people crammed into a 5x4 meter room, and "what passes for Colonel Karryn’s ready room must’ve been a broom closet in a former lifetime."

    Film 
  • The Imperial Star Destroyers of Star Wars were quite roomy with Vader's flagship, the Executor, being a particularly egregious example of this trope. But then, The Empire was supposed to be decadent and Romanesque, so this could be intentional.
    • An Imperial-I-Class Star Destroyer has an overall crew of 46,785 individuals, including a troop complement of 9,700. This is the smaller 'Standard Star Destroyer', which is 1.6 kilometers (or one mile) long. In addition to the crew it carries a complement of smaller ships and ground vehicles. In earth terms it could be compared to a whole carrier group, rolled into one ship.
    • This is lampshaded in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. In the first novel of the X-wing series, Kirtan Loor is invited to Ysanne Isard's office. It is huge and nearly empty. Kirtan wonders why Isard doesn't have more stuff, if for no other reason to flaunt her wealth, until he realizes that empty space on Coruscant, the crowded city planet, is one of the most expensive commodities in existence.
    • The EU averts this a great deal. Freighters and other civilian ships are extremely cramped with almost no creature comforts, and one space station described in the X-Wing series was built cramped even by the standards of such things. The EU then brings this back with a vengeance with the aforementioned luxury ships. But when you're talking about people with enough wealth to buy a planet or several, complaining about the wastefulness of resources is a bit gauche. In Yoda: Dark Rendezvous, the protagonists end up having to take a mass transit ship which was built by insectlike Verpines. It's very crowded and unpleasant, particularly to people like them, who generally have their own, better-appointed craft.
    • Also, note the conditions aboard ships like the low-rent passenger vessel that Anakin, Padme, and R2-D2 used to travel from Coruscant to Naboo in Attack of the Clones. There's a huge difference between the Republic and Imperial and Naboo ships with vast budgets supporting them, and private-sector working-class conditions. See also the Millenium Falcon.
    • The various Naboo royal ships are unarmed luxury vessels designed to transport VIPs in style, and have fairly roomy and artistically designed interiors. Completely chromed, as a mark of royalty. They usually have fighter escorts.
  • The Fhloston Paradise in The Fifth Element, which is designed to be a luxury line in space.
  • NASA advisors to the movie Sunshine (2007) spoke out in favor of this trope. The cost of roomy quarters, in terms of air and mass, would be more than balanced out by the benefits to a crew's sanity on a long mission. As evidenced when they actually go into the part of the ship with the bomb inside, there's plenty of space around the bomb itself... and breathable air, too. Besides, they were towing a bomb the size of Manhattan, so a little additional space would hardly be noticeable. Ultimately, the movie retained a submarine-ish feel, but toned it down.
  • Monsters vs. Aliens. Really, it's a plot necessity if you're going to have a 49 foot, 11 1/2 inch woman rampaging through it.
  • WALL•E. The Axiom is a perfect example of this. Though it is intended for people to live on it as long as needed and taking up all of Earth's remaining resources so you would imagine it should look nice.
    • The Axiom was specifically the flagship of the line, and all the ships were intended to transport a broad cross section of Earth's population. You can get away with much less pleasant surroundings for a careful selected crew than for just any random million people.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness. Spoofed when Scotty finds himself running for a control terminal which is at the end of a very long hanger bay.
    Scotty: I'm running! *pant* *pant* ...Still running!
    • The same film shows the disadvantages of this trope when Gravity Screw causes everything from shuttles to people to start falling down corridors and hangers that have suddenly turned into huge pits.
  • Realistically averted in Down Periscope, though an interesting contrast is shown in the two types of submarine interiors. Few people would call the USS Orlando, a modern nuclear sub, roomy. However, it's downright spacious compared to the USS Stingray a derelict old diesel recommissioned specifically for the wargame exercise that was the majority of the movie's plot. The Stingray's bridge was roughly as open and easy to move around as the cafeteria's snack bar on the Orlando. Also, the Orlando had room for a snack bar.

    Literature 
  • What The River of Stars started out as in Michael Flynn's The Wreck of ''The River of Stars'' - a luxury spaceliner.
  • Averted in John Ringo's Into the Looking Glass novels: Earth's first starship, the Vorpal Blade, is a converted Ohio class ballistic missile submarine.
  • Subverted in Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space: the Nostalgia for Infinity is kilometers long, manned by five people and features a rather beautiful grove that serves the crew as a dining room. The one set of quarters seen are explicitly mentioned to be only austere due to its occupant's personality. However, outside the dining grove are the rotted remnants of a much-larger park, a pattern that basically holds true for the rest of the ship.
  • My Teacher Is an Alien has the New Jersey, so named because the ship is as big as the aforementioned state. Occupants have to get around via teleporter. Not only are there thousands, perhaps millions of aliens aboard, but each one gets his/hers/its/dxwje's own pod/room, and there are facilities on board that will make them anything they want and have it delivered at a touch of a button.
  • Capital starshipsnote  in Honor Harrington intended to serve as flagships for fleet commanders have been known to have good-sized swimming pools on them. Military starships. Of course when said ships can be measured in kilometers this becomes a bit more palatable. Lampshaded when after remarking that the swimming pool doubles as a storage tank for part of the ship's water, Honor decides that's the only reason the design was signed off on.
    • One novel notes that Manticoran ships are typically designed with some extra empty space on the bridge... To give them room for the additional consoles, displays, etc. that will inevitably be required when refitting the ship with not-yet-invented technology.
    • HMS Duke of Cromarty, a royal yacht built on a battlecruiser hull after the previous civilian design ship proved lacking in defenses, demonstrated that when you strip out most of the magazine capacity from a multi-megaton warship you can fit in not only several staterooms, but also a full-sized ballroom.
  • In Animorphs, Andalites' Dome ships, as is somewhat implied by the name, include a domed park-like section (which doubles as a source of food due to Bizarre Alien Biology, making it genuinely useful, albeit probably not useful enough to justify the trope). It can be ejected from the main body of the ship if necessary.
    • Note that this is justified by Andalite psychology: Since the species evolved as centaur-like herd animals on open plains, they have even more of a need for open space than humans, with only three cities/spaceports on their entire planet. Prequels portray earlier Andalite ships having holographic skies and grass-carpeted floors. Andalites using other species' vehicles are sometimes mentioned fighting claustrophobia.
    • The same goes for Pemalite ships, only Up to Eleven. Their vessels are described as toys, created for amusement. Again justified since the Pemalites were advanced enough to be able to build those types of vessels... and naive enough to forgo equipping them with weaponry or any defensive systems.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has a ship which is designed to resemble, and is powered by, an Italian restaurant. Specifically, the strange and improbable mathematics that go into divvying up the check are extrapolated to allow the ship to move in strange and improbable ways.
    • Arthur even points this out when he arrives on the Heart of Gold in the TV Series.
      Arthur: Now this is my idea of a space ship - gleaming metal, flashing lights...
      • In the novels, he finds the bright, white and roomy Heart of Gold strange. When they stumble on an old spaceship, one that is dark and cramped, Ford is unimpressed, maybe even disgusted, but Arthur finds it fitting.
  • Dahak from David Weber's Empire from the Ashes. But then again, it is a light cruiser that's the size of the moon, so having giant parks is okay.
    • Heck, Weber never really explains what most of the room aboard Dahak is used for, the stuff we're shown would occupy only trivial percentages of the interior volume. For example, they carry 200 attack cruisers the size of wet-navy Terran battleships. Only 200? Why not 20,000? Or 2 million?
    • Besides, the average deployment was 25 years, so a "normal" ship design would lead to insanity via cabin fever in no time.
  • In The Culture series, all Culture ships, including warships and small modules. At the other end, the General Systems Vehicles are worlds unto themselves.
    • Some Rapid Offensive Unit and (d)ROU classes ("d" for demilitarized) are described as quite cramped, with only a few narrow tunnels and cabins squeezed in the gaps between cubic kilometers of internal machinery. However in these cases the ships in question are designed to spend most of their time without any crew at all, and (d)ROUs at least have the massive voids where the weapons used to be.
      • (d)ROUs converted for moving people around space are seen to well appointed for comfort.
  • While interstellar travel in Sergei Pavlov's Moon Rainbow is only starting to be practically contemplated, the interplanetary travel is apparently casual enough for one of the Cool Starships in the novel to have not just an onboard swimming pool or spa, but a friggin' beach resort. Of course it's subverted in it being just improvised by a crew (with an enterprising use of the plastic aggregate from a cargo and water from propellant tanks) in an unused hold of this huge-ass freighter hauling cargo between various Outer System colonies and outposts, but it's the intent that counts here, and the ship herself was big and comfy enough to feature here.
  • In the Hyperion Cantos the Consul's ship is one of these, there's even a spherical pool maintained by force-fields. However, the Consul's ship is specifically stated to be one of only a handful of privately owned spaceships in existence. When characters go on board one of the FORCE warships it's stated to be extremely cramped.
  • The interior of a ship owned by Haxxarians (a culture whose hat seems to be "jerkass He Man Woman Haters") in Douglas Hill's Young Legionary fits this trope...albeit as designed by Fashion Victim Villains. As soon as they're given an excuse, Keill Randor and Oni Wolda gleefully trash the place.
  • Spoofed in the short story Matter of Magnitude by Al Sevcik. Earth has a mile-long battleship which it uses to enforce galactic peace, but it's forced to withdraw when it makes First Contact with an alien race whose spaceship they can't detect — it's only afterwards they realize that's because the alien spaceship is only an inch and a half long.
  • The winner, of course, is the Golden Ship from Cordwainer Smith's "Golden the Ship Was-Oh! Oh! Oh!" Ninety million miles long and very much golden ... with a crew of ... one. True, its quarters were dwarfed by the size of the ship, and twenty feet by thirty feet small compared to the space pleasure cruisers but huge compared to our current cramped quarters, but that doesn't matter much when you spend most of your time jacked into a pleasure inducing electric current. Nor the fact that the rest of the ship was foam and wires to fake the effect of a legendary unbeatable starship. In short, the universe's largest scarecrow.
  • Well Mr Ambassador... has The Captain complaining to the titular diplomat that the diamond chandelier is nearly twenty years old. In his quarters. On an interstellar battleship.
    Captain: There’s nearly no older light fixture in the SSP.
  • In Larry Niven's Known Space, a General Products #4 hull is a sphere more than a thousand feet in diameter. Kitted out with the superfast 'Quantum II' hyperdrive, it has about as much living space as a Winnebago.
  • The aptly named Titan in Stanislaw Lem's Tales of Pirx the Pilot.
  • On several occasions, Liaden Universe novels have contrasted Terran ships (small, utilitarian) with Liaden ships (huge, luxurious) as a way of drawing attention to just how rich Liaden traders are.
  • Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator introduces the Space Hilton, which is a Hilton... IN SPACE. Sadly it was quickly invaded by Vermicious Knids and everyone on board eaten.
  • The Great Ship in Robert Reed's Great Ship universe. Being a ship as large as Jupiter, it has natural canyons, rivers, caverns, and beaches by the thousands inside its nearly impenetrable hull. Passengers can easily claim rooms as large as Manhattan. People serving time in the brig are allowed at least ten thousand cubic meters of living space.
  • In Sewer, Gas & Electric, the huge eco-activist submarine Yabba-Dabba-Doo has numerous accoutrements not normally expected on an undersea vessel, including a ship-wide network of hamster tubes and an arboretum full of endangered plant life.
  • "Terra!" , wrote by Stefano Benni, narrates a weird space race to reach a mythical planet that holds the secret for unlimited energy, in a future when humanity has ruined planet Earth. Three spaceships are sent from different nation, playing with the trope in every direction:
    • the "Calalbakrab" (Arabian-American-Russian flagship) is way, way big, with dozen of swimming pools, at least a soccer field, some shopping center and so on. It's shaped like a scorpion, can detach in three contained ships and sports an energy cannon able to vaporize entire fleets;
    • the "Proteo Tien" (Asian-European converted utility ship) lacks room and is quite spartan. Crewmen are often required to speak softly because loud noises can be heared in the entire ship;
    • last ship, the "Akai Mazinga Zuikaku" (Japan battleship) is smaller that a regular satellite, is manned by a liofilized captain/warrior/explorer and sixty trained mices, and has a single multipurpose room.
  • L. Ron Hubbard's Mission Earth contains a particularly tiresome example. The ship in question is a tugboat designed to nudge capital ships around while docking, but nonetheless was fitted by a retired admiral with spacious and gaudy accommodations, such as gem-encrusted control panels, gold and marble halls, holographic entertainment suites, and luxurious suites and kitchens. It's introduced in a chapter full of Description Porn, much of the first book in the series is spent preparing it for the titular mission, and then it spends the next five or six books sitting in a hangar.
  • Brian Daley's The Adventures of Hobart Floyt and Alacrity Fitzhugh series of novels feature this trope as often as they avert it. The most luxurious examples are such spacecraft as The Pearl, a very large iridescent blue sphere 'ship's boat' whose main passenger deck is a decadently appointed lounge, complete with bar and attractive string quartet (who all happen to be part of the ship's Security Detachment). Oh, and it's also armed to the teeth in case the landing party needs help, but you'd never know that by looking at it. Furthermore, the Pearl's mothership is one of the most powerful warships in the region, but it still finds the resources and space to support its very own Winter Wonderland habitat for the pleasure of its Master, his wife, and their guests. Be sure to wear the thoughtfully provided fur coats before you enter.

    Live-Action TV 
  • It's probably useful to remember, in this section, that the difficulties of filming in a realistically cramped set probably put a lower limit on the size of corridors and other spaces.
  • Star Trek had Federation vessels more in line with luxury liners than military vessels. The Enterprise-D is probably the second worst offender (see below). In fact, when Scotty from the original series visited the Enterprise-D, he was stunned at the size of the guest room they put him in. The Ensign assigned to him initially misunderstood and offered to find him something even larger.
    • The production designer who designed the original Enterprise's bridge once complained that the bridge of the Enterprise-D looked more like a Hilton Hotel lobby than a functional starship bridge. This is highly lampshaded in multiple media, especially with Picard in the Shatner series. Many remarked that the Enterprise D was the peak of a fashion/luxury curve and the introduction of the Borg brought a back to the basics approach to Starfleet.
      • It was originally worse. The early artistic conceptions for the Enterprise-D bridge would have no consoles or active controls at all, everything would be done by voice command to the computers, and the whole bridge was basically one long curved bench (to signify the non-hierarchical future mindset). With hanging plants and other casual touches. A remnant of that was the three command seats together at the center, and the 'coffee bar' look of the whole thing.
    • However, surprisingly, the greater size is largely illusion: The classic bridge and the "D" bridge are very close together in size.
    • In A.H. Wokanovics' "Three Faces, Same Mirror", written for Trek magazine, the Enterprise-D was referred to as "a magnificently refined work of space-going sculpture" and "our padded cocktail lounge in the sky".
    • And for the very worst offender (especially in regards to the fact that this about eighty years before the Galaxy-class was made), the 2009 Continuity Reboot of the series shows just how Zeerusty TOS is. The new exterior design of the Enterprise is already a very loose variation of the original, but they redesigned the bridge so that you can't even recognize it as the original Enterprise bridge. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but those are some huge Broad Strokes Abrams took.
    • Note that Starfleet isn't really a military organization. Its primary roles are scientific research and diplomacy, the latter of which could perhaps justify this, as it makes sense for a diplomatic vessel to be reasonably aesthetically pleasing. Particularly in the case of the Enterprise, being the fleet's flagship.
      • Meanwhile, Defiant-class ships, the first dedicated warships in a long time, are described as being cramped (at least by the standards of Federation citizens); and those we have seen have stacked bunks instead of the spacious apartments afforded to everyone on normal starships.
      • The same goes for the Enterprise NX-01, which had very few windows and looked far more like the inside of your average warship than a Galaxy-class starship. The captain's quarters were only slightly larger than enlisted crew quarters on the NCC-1701, and it's explicitly mentioned that the captain's quarters on that vessel were the size of junior officers' quarters on the NCC-1701-D. Apparently, starships have gotten larger and more extravagant over time.
      • Also the enlisted crewmen's quarters on the smaller USS Voyager seen in the Below Deck Episode, a 2-person room is about the size of a walk-in closet.
    • On the other hand, the roominess and comfort of the Galaxy-class vessels is somewhat justified by the fact that the Federation is supposed to be a more or less post-scarcity economy: it costs the Federation nothing to make the ship unusually large and comfortable, so why not go for the psychological benefits?
      • Mind you, the Enterprise-D was the exception, rather than the rule, for Starfleet ships, at least by standards of the 24th century. One episode has the captain of a more typical Excelsior class starship describe the Enterprise as a "Flying Hotel". Of course, she was the "Flagship of Starfleet", and was presumably designed at least in part to demonstrate the Federation's power and (collective) wealth to others she would encounter in her travels.
    • Averted with Klingon ships, especially in the EU. For example, the newest Qang-class warships of the IKS Gorkon novels feature cramped bunks for the thousands of troops on-board. Then again, Klingons don't really like comfort (they never bathe, except when it makes their ambushes more successful).
      • When Worf's brother Kurn visited the Big E he said "This entire ship seems built on comfort, relaxation, being at ease. It is not the ship of a warrior — not the ship of a Klingon."
      • We get to see what Klingon VIP quarters are like when Picard and Data get a lift from a Klingon ship to go look for Spock (who's on Romulus, so they need a cloaked ship to go there). It's all metal, including the bed. Which is a shelf that slides out of a wall. Data doesn't even call it a bed, just a shelf, when telling Picard he can have it. (Klingons do know about luxury, but don't view it as appropriate on warships.) The cabin is also fairly small, particularly when you consider how a TV set is usually sort of opened out from the way a real room would be.
    • Word of God (at least for Star Trek: The Original Series) is that the designers knew full well that a real starship wouldn't have those broad corridors (instead having narrow corridors like, for instance, real Navy ships have), but there were other, practical considerations, like being able to maneuver the cameras through the corridors to follow walking characters. The senior officer's quarters are also not all that large, and they appear to also have a chunk of space set aside for use as an office (which makes sense, as only McCoy works in an area of the ship which can plausibly have an office space for the department head, and still doesn't seem to have one there). The mess hall, rec rooms, and conference rooms shown are all also relatively small given that the crew is supposed to number in the hundreds.
  • Appears in Firefly, and illustrates the difference in wealth and technology between the Protagonists and the Alliance.
    • Averted with the Protagonists' ship, Serenity. The ship is compact and utilitarian much like a submarine, complete with visible pipes and bulkheads and airlock hatches between sections of the ship and individual crew quarters. Even the opulent quarters of the companion Inara are only larger than the other crew members because they encompass an entire detachable shuttle. Fortunately, the crew can get away from the cramped conditions of the ship relatively frequently, as most trips between worlds only take a few days, instead of months or years. The cargo hold would seem to be the exception, though Serenity is a cargo hauler.
    • Played straight with the Alliance ships, which feature huge bridges with very high ceilings, and oddly spacious interrogations rooms. Joss Whedon even mentioned in the DVD Commentary that the models of the Alliance ships were actually designed to look a little over sized and inefficient, to signal to the audience that the Alliance itself is a little, well, over sized and inefficient.
  • Doctor Who's "Robots of Death" features a self-contained mining ship that is quite luxurious, despite being crewed by people desperately hoping for a good strike, as they need the money.
    • The crew didn't own the ship, and all the colonists lived a pampered life thanks to robots.
      • Of death.
    • And it seems more like they want the money rather than desperately need it; the more ore means a bigger payday when they get back to base.
      • In fact, the reason there are humans on the mining vehicle in the first place is that while robots are competent at operating them, humans are simply better at it and will typically bring back full loads of better ores in less time than robots will.
    • The starliner Titanic in "Voyage of the Damned" was fairly spacious. Given that it was a luxury cruise ship, this is to be expected.
    • Speaking of Doctor Who: thanks to the TARDIS being Bigger on the Inside, the Doc must surely have the most impressive "ship floor space to number of occupants" ratio of any series ever.
      • As is only appropriate for the ships produced at the height of the power of the richest, most powerful civilization in the history of the universe. That is not a boast. It is simply a description of the real situation. Ironically, the Doctor's TARDIS, a Type 40, is considered a literal antique by his people. We never actually get a look at a truly cutting edge TARDIS.
  • Averted in, of all places, the original Battlestar Galactica. When they encountered the "Terrans", conditions inside the Eastern Alliance ships were very cramped and submarine-like. This was a convenient visual shorthand to convey that "Terran" spaceflight technology was comparatively primitive next to the large, roomy vessels of the Ragtag Fugitive Fleet.
    • Averted too in its re-imagined cousin. The only truly "open space" in the fleet is aboard the luxury liner Cloud Nine, which is equipped with a massive environmental dome. Unfortunately, Gina blew it up. Galactica is shown to have fairly large corridors, but this is justified by the size of her crew and the sheer size of Galactica itself. There was a graph comparing Galactica to the WWII aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, which wasn't even the size of one of Galactica's engine pods. The crew seem mostly to be quartered in barracks-style rooms, with rows of bunks in the walls surrounding a central table and some lockers on the far wall. A small number of crew (mostly families after the Time Skip) have more private quarters, but even these are small one-room arrangements. The only one who has quarters with multiple rooms appear to be captains.
  • Justified somewhat in Red Dwarf since all the crew bar Lister are dead, he and hologram Rimmer move to the more luxurious officers quarters in the third series. Also, the 'High' Red Dwarf in 'Demons & Angels' was meant to be luxurious, and of course was countered by the squalid 'Low' counterpart ship. Lister and Rimmer's cramped bunkroom from the first two series was explicitly designed to resemble a submarine, right down to the different shades of grey paint.
  • The Buck Rogers in the 25th Century series has an episode called "Cruise Ship to the Stars" which features a very luxurious spaceship in the style of a cruise ship. So it was Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Babylon 5:
    • The Minbari and Centauri ships tend in general to be rather luxurious, with the latter also being heavy on the Bling of War that characterizes the rest of their society. EarthForce ships are downright dowdy in comparison, with angular and cramped designs, and the only real luxury on Earth ships is found in purpose-built luxury liners.
    • The Whitestars are tiny compared to normal Minbari ships and yet have huge amounts of empty space. On the other hand, the Minbari are more or less the epitome of Crystal Spires and Togas.
  • Mostly averted in Stargate SG-1, where the Earth ships, being battlecruisers, are based on actual military ships, such as aircraft carriers, at least with the interiors. The space utilization is comparable to that of a battleship or carrier, although the fictional battlecruisers are possibly a bit more spacious. They were seemingly designed with the intention of having many rooms for different purposes — such as ship systems, a mess hall, a small gym, storage rooms, armories, and brig — rather than any big rooms. The crew and passenger quarters are about the size of an average mid-range hotel room.
    • The alien ships on the other hand are generally more spacious (and larger). Exhibit a) Ha'taks. Exhibit b) Atlantis-class city ships.
      • The Atlanteans at least had the excuse that they were actually sufficiently advanced and one step short of becoming physical gods and were building these city-ships to, you know, live in.
      • And to the Goa'uld, the spacious nature of the Ha'tak motherships had a dual role: to carry large numbers of Jaffa troops and Death Gliders, and to reinforce their carefully cultivated image as gods.
      • Exhibit c) Asgard ships. Even their smallest type, the Daniel Jackson-class science vessel, is larger than a Ha'tak. All Asgard ships have a standard crew of a single very small person.
      • Actually, Asgard ships are supposed to have a normal crew complement, but can run mostly on automatic, provided nothing breaks down. In "Nemesis", Thor mentions evacuating the crew before trying to scuttle the ship. The other times we see Asgard ships are Carter never leaving her room and only interacting with Thor and Loki stealing an Asgard ship to continue his experiments.
  • If it weren't literally falling apart around their ears, the Destiny would have been quite luxurious. There are spectacular viewing decks and everyone gets his own room with a large bed, sheets and comfy duvet, which must have come with the ship, since no one is seen dragging a mattress through the gate during the evacuation of Icarus Base.
  • Atlantis is technically a spaceship. And a city, roughly the size of Manhattan with 150-200 square feet rooms having an internal height over 12 feet. But as mentioned above, city-ships like Atlantis were meant to be lived in permanently. They were designed as cities first and ships second (to the point that they don't actually have airtight hulls; they need their shields operational to fly through space), so comfort was of paramount importance.
  • Partially justified by the Andromeda as she was built for a crew of thousands rather than the five or six who currently crew her. And the ballroom and dining hall are for hosting diplomatic functions.
  • The Tulip in Starhunter has wide halls and large rooms. Justified in that the ship is a repurposed luxury passenger liner, though one that has seen better days.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Subverted, averted and played straight in Warhammer 40,000. Imperial warships are described as having luxurious bridges and officer's quarters, but the crewmembers have tiny rooms that they have to share with far more people than would comfortably fit in them. The Eldar tend to play this straight, especially when it comes to their Craftworlds, but in the Craftworld's case it's justified as they are giant Generation Ships that house the remaining Eldar population.
    • Not to mention the fact that the human ships take so long to build, and they are so massive that there are entire colonies of degenerate humans inside, the inbred descendants of workers (and crewmembers) who got lost. Standard maintenance procedures include flooding the areas not inhabited by the crew with poison gas once a century or so in order to root out these colonies.
    • In the spinoff RPG Rogue Trader, canonical optional additions for a Rogue Trader's ship include vaulted ceilings, barracks for entire regiments of ground troops, room-sized techno-pipe organs, gladiatorial arenas, factories, and full-size churches to the God-Emperor (some of which can detach from the ship proper and be air-dropped as prefab cathedrals on worlds in need of converting).
  • Averted in Traveller in some ways, justified in others. Traveller ships are as crowded and uncomfortable as ...ships. However superior technology including the computers of thousands of years in the future allow such perks as giant screensavers on the walls, an onboard internet, and storage of massive amounts of data with enough space left over for purely recreational use. And of course a controlled climate. If you don't mind the crowding and can endure eating mainly Food Pills, and you are the sort of intrepid space hero that likes to read a lot it doesn't sound so bad.
  • Happens now and again in BattleTech. It being a feudal society IN SPACE!!, various members of the elite can afford to get a hold of luxury space transports. Some are purpose-built for luxury, while others are military designs retrofitted for comfort. However, the overall scarcity of shipbuilding facilities means that starships in general, much less luxury ones, are relatively few and far between. Just common enough to keep the interstellar economy functioning, according to Word of God.
    • Two stellar examples in the pre- and post-Time Skip eras ('Classic' and 'Age of Destruction' respectively). In Warrior: En Garde, one of Michael Stackpole's early novels, a member of royalty travels incognito on a modified military ship turned passenger transport—while things such as a communal dining hall are mentioned, the 'economy class' housing that the disguised identity travels under is noted to be about the size of a bedroom, with walls lined with fake wood laminate and a bed that folds out of a sofa. Hardly luxurious accommodations even by present standards, but compared to the cramped, sweat-sock-scented atmosphere of most military Drop Ship vessels, indulgent. This goes completely to the other end of the scale in the 'Age of Destruction' era, when a commander of one of the numerous House-loyal factions in the Republic buys the services of an enormous combat vessel capable of carrying numerous Humongous Mecha...and installs what amounts to a palace veranda on its exit port. Luxurious and ludicrous indeed, as it is purely decorative and highly exposed on a military vessel.
    • Clan Sea Fox has several drop ships that have had their mech bays converted to living space and cargo, but it's still pretty crowded given that most of the Clan live aboard such ships and even though they're the most mercantile Clan they still believe in a pretty Spartan lifestyle.

    Videogames 
  • Xenosaga is a particular offender in this regard. The Elsa, a lowly salvage ship, has a curiously luxurious interior with its own cafe, store & other amenities. The Durandal is even more ridiculous, as it has its own subway system & a park. Possibly justified in that both belong to an extremely wealthy company. Still, what little we see of the interior of military ships suggests a similar problem; though the accommodations may be more spartan, they're no less spacious.
  • Not to mention Vectors corp. HQ, The Dämmerung, a ship that is 1000km long.
  • Xenogears has The Eldridge.
  • System Shock 2 gives us two different extremes: The Trioptimum experimental interstellar ship Von Braun and the UNN warship Rickenbacker. The Von Braun plays the trope very straight—to the point that the ship is almost like a small city. Its recreation deck has a basketball court, a swimming pool, and a mall—but considering this ship was designed to carry out mankind's first interstellar journey trillions of miles from any source of supply, the creature comforts are justified. Meanwhile, the Rickenbacker averts the trope with a much more cramped and spartan deck layout. Logs reveal that a lot of the soldiers on the Rickenbacker spent their downtime on the Von Braun.
  • Starship Titanic has it all, luxury restaurant with big windows, first class rooms.. One Problem, the ship has lost its mind as well as most of its crew (robots) and its up to you to set things right.
  • The Ishimura in Dead Space is actually somewhat similar to modern submarines in that although it has cramped corridors it also a has a large bridge and several open area relaxation rooms including a zero-g basketball court.
  • The Normandy from Mass Effect is more spacious than is probably necessary, but the Normandy 2 from the sequel is absurdly spacious, more so than most houses. Shepard and Miranda have especially luxurious quarters. This trope is lampshaded when Shepard mentions to the ship's AI that his/her quarters are larger than those on other warships; the AI claims that, as the Normandy 2 was built by civilians, comfort was taken into account.
    • It also has leather seats, to Joker's delight.
    • Miranda's quarters are technically also her office, and Shepard's quarters are a chunk of waste space beneath the outer pressure hull (in other words, if the outer hull is breached, Shepard's quarters are spaced). And Cerberus spent enough on Shepard and the ship to raise, train, and equip an entire army, so cost wasn't really an obstacle.
    • Both versions of the Normandy are also somewhat lacking in creature comforts: shared bunk space (pods), a single locker for each crewman, with limited storage space otherwise, and not much in the way of entertainment in the first version. The second version is much larger, but the crew still doesn't have a lot of space (shared bunk rooms), privacy (the bathrooms are pretty much it) or entertainment (most are talking amongst themselves or just sitting in the mess hall).
    • That said, the Normandy SR-2 undergoes an interior refit in Mass Effect 3 which re-arranges some rooms on the command deck, including a meeting room and a War Room. Additionally, the observation bays on the port and starboard edges of the crew deck have been stocked for crew entertainment. Among the amenities added are several couches, a library, a poker table, an electronic sensory seat thing of some kind, a music system, and even a small and stocked bar. Given that the Normandy was being refitted to adopt a fleet flag role, this can be easily justified.
  • Halo: So, you've just built a massive space station over a kilometer long for the sole purpose of housing a cannon that runs more or less its entire length, what else to install...? Well a command center five stories high with giant glass windows for a ceiling couldn't hurt, it's not like people are going to be shooting at it or anything!
    • Pleasingly lampshaded in the accompanying book series when the covenant command centre is revealed to be located in the exact centre of the ship, surrounded by as much metal and armor as possible, and interfacing with the outside by computer screens. Makes considerably more sense than putting it in a greenhouse at the end of the ship which needs to be facing the enemy in order to shoot. Even better, the Elites are convinced that the humans are inhumanly ballsy for putting their command centers out in the open like that, (probably correctly) reasoning that it serves no tactical purpose.
  • Averted by the Split, the proud warrior race guys of the X-Universe. Ancillary materials describe the interior of the Panther as sacrificing basically every non-combat function possible in order to create a pocket carrier mounting heavy guns and enough fighters to take on entire fleets by itself in skilled hands. Unofficial reports state that the crew and pilots are bedded in the fighter hangar, or stuffed into the cargo bay in suspended animation.
  • Played even straighter in Star Trek Online than in the parent franchise (how does a bridge that big even fit on an escort?), but at least this time they have a real-life excuse. Cryptic has stated the corridors and so forth are huge in order to prevent Camera Screw from having the POV butt up against walls and the like.

    Webcomics 
  • The Fuseli from Starslip Crisis began its career as an experimental luxury warship named the Crimson Fall. The experiment failed: rather than developing a fierce attachment to their ship and its amenities, the crew got lazy and decadent. The Fuseli was converted into a spacegoing art museum.
  • Most of the ships belonging to Tagon's Toughs in Schlock Mercenary. Mostly thanks to having a lot of AI support they're operating with a fraction of their nominal crew strength. The Touch and Go fits especially since it was equipped with a pool deck before the Toughs got their hands on it.
    • Also, most of the ship has to be cordoned off from the grunts lest they use it for less than * ahem* official purposes. It remains to be seen if this is the case on the newly rebuilt(and it was practically rebuilt) TAG.
    • Another set of clearcut examples of this trope are battleplates. They have their own commercial sectors and shipyards, due to their intended purpose of defending planets against wayward asteroids requiring plenty of power, which requires large plants to generate it.
  • The Sapphire Star in Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger is a "mid-range" luxury cruise worldship measured in tens of kilometers with a city's worth of permanent residents and an actual rainforest on the top deck. Practically a mobile Pleasure Planet.

    Web Original 
  • One of The Journal Entries has a throw-away mention of Pendorian starships having padded leather interiors. It is not clear how seriously to take this, but Pendor is absurdly wealthy.

    Western Animation 
  • Bounty Hamster. The luxury starship Humongous, with "ballrooms the size of football fields! Football fields the size of planets! (if they were flat)". Unfortunately the ship is so expensive, only half a dozen people in the universe can afford to travel on it.

    Real Life 
  • Before you scoff at this trope's prevalence, remember what the very first planes looked like, then look at this.
    • Played straight by the promotional material for it (and older similar vehicles like the Boeing 747), which invariably shows pictures of bars or gyms, in the space that any airline actually interested in making a profit will proceed to cram with seats.
  • Almost Real Life, anyway: the original designs for Project Orion were intended to be quite roomy. The nature of the Orion Drive meant that larger vessels were more efficient: a "nuclear pulse drive" operates by detonating two nuclear warheads per second behind the ship. Saving mass and wasted space wasn't really a concern. Saturn by '69!
    • Some of the designers notes even included a list of ways that they could possibly increase the mass of the ship (to better withstand the nuclear shockwaves it would be riding.) Some of the ideas were things like "two-ton barber chair" and "arbitrarily large communication system".
  • After two decades of cramped capsules, the Space Shuttle might have seemed like this. Mind you, it wasn't all that roomy: most of the Shuttle's space (hahaha) was given over to cargo; the actual crew compartment was, in effect, a very large capsule, one which was very quickly filled to capacity (seven), substantially reducing the roominess (although still much-improved over Apollo and Gemini).
  • The Hindenburg and her little-known sister ship Graf Zeppelin 2 were 1930's versions of this. Even the modern A380 double-decker widebody jet featured above has less interior space! These vast internal spaces were devoted to making them as luxurious as ocean liners. They boasted passenger decks with grand dining rooms, opulent piano lounges decorated with murals, grand staircases, bars, smoking lounges, and more besides. Even larger than the passenger decks was the keel, which runs nearly the whole length of a rigid airship. While such vast interiors may seem to represent an Unnecessarily Large Interior, they actually served the vital purposes of adding structural integrity and distributing the ship's huge tonnage to the delicate airframe.
  • For that matter, when we were just figuring out sea travel, ships were dinky, crowded little things. Now we have things like the Freedom of the Seas.
    • Royal Caribbean in general follow this trope. The Oasis and Quantum classes are by far their largest ships to date.
  • A purely mathematically efficient use of space might have a detrimental effect on the mental well-being of the crew, especially if spaceships are out of port for a very extended period of time. To give a more interesting Real Life case, the Soviet/Russian Akula/"Typhoon" class submarines (all but one has now retired) had a swimming pool, sports facilities, a sauna and a smoking room, since the subs could spend at least 180 days submerged at a time. Tom Clancy got this wrong in The Hunt for Red October, but that was more a bad guess based on other submarines. The "Typhoon" is the exception rather than the rule, although ballistic missile-carrying submarines are noted for their attention to crew comfort. If you want cramped, look at modern hunter/killer submarines or go back to World War II subs (watching Das Boot will give you an idea of how ridiculously claustrophobic these are).
    • The Akula/Typhoon sub mentioned above is actually a subversion. It is, in fact, a very inefficient design, nicknamed water tanker, due to most of its size being just empty space: its outer hull is a thin shell covering an awkward assembly of pressure hulls and capsules, forced by truly enormous size of its missiles. And then its designers thought: "Hey, if we have to make the damn sub so huge anyway, why don't we spend some of this space on crew amenities?"
    • This ended up being perfect for the Typhoon's main mission. It was meant to stay hidden beneath the arctic for weeks or even months in case of a nuclear war. It would surface afterwards, and if the Soviet Union had lost, would launch a retaliatory strike against the U.S.. It was discovered that submarine crew could not handle regular cramped quarters that long and would suffer psychological and physical health problems.
    • If a few months in a cramped space would damage psychologically a trained and disciplined Soviet military man, it can be easily guessed how long prison sentences are endured, even with no physical harm inflicted.
    • Some of the better amenities included a steam room, a full size gym and even a swimming pool.
  • The age of the Great Liners from the 1880s through the 1950s, before crossing the Atlantic by airliner was routine. Steamers got so big so fast that regulations couldn't keep up. The Titanic herself had Third Class accommodations as good as Second Class on smaller ships.
  • The fishing boats shown on Deadliest Catch are, first and foremost, fishing boats, designed to catch fish in frigid Arctic Circle conditions. They're hardy, tough, and routinely look weathered and old. The bunks are cramped and the personal rooms small, because when they're on the crab, the crew won't be sleeping anyway. That being said, most ships have remarkably spacious kitchens, and at least the Time Bandit has a fully functioning sauna. They're not comfortable, but they're not prisons.
    • Of course, if you're the one staggering down below deck after hours of being drenched in frigid seawater, then a hot shower and/or sauna may well have more to do with averting hypothermia than with luxury...
    • The large kitchen is needed because after a hot shower or a sauna, the next most important thing for staving off hypothermia is plenty of good, hot food. Even with that, it's not unusual for crew of these crab boats to go directly to a hospital once the ship makes port. Even if you don't get hypothermia, crab fishing is hard, dangerous work and you will get bashed around thoroughly and likely get sick.
  • Modern container ships, which need a tall bridge superstructure to see over a full load of containers and have as few as a dozen crew operating the ship at sea, have the combination of tons of otherwise empty space with few people, giving everyone relatively huge personal quarters and recreational/common areas. Some operators have decided to capitalise upon this and started renting spare quarters out to paying passengers.
  • Arktika-class nuclear-powered icebreakers such as the Fifty Years Since Victory generally fulfil this trope, featuring restaurants, libraries, gyms, cinemas... Since the ships' goal is to simply be as massive as possible (comparable to a reasonable-sized aircraft carrier), there's a lot of space for comfort, guests, scientific equipment and really anything else.
  • The battleship HMS Agincourt was originally ordered by Ottoman Turkish Navy. When WWI began, RN quickly confiscated it. The luxurious living quarters were something special for the Royal Navy seamen, used to do with very little comfort, and the lavish interior got her the nickname Gin Palace.
    • In the same vein, the World War II Japanese battleship Yamato. See the Space Battleship Yamato entry in Anime for more info.
  • The Baltic cruise ferries. They are basically floating five star hotels with car decks. Most people traveling between Russia, Estonia, Finland or Sweden rather opt for the ferries instead of air travel because of the superior comfort, ability to relax onboard and ability to take your own car with you. While they are slower than airplanes, a good evening in the restaurant, night at the night club, pub or casino, shoppings at the tax-free shop and well-slept night in the cabin usually weigh more on the scales than speed of the travel.
    • The International Space Station. 837 cubic metres of pressurized volume. Or 139.5 per person, when fully staffed with a crew of 6. Especially when you compare it with everything else launched before: Mir and Skylab for example were each just about a third the size of the ISS.


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