Stаr Trek: Voyаɡer Used Tһeir Holodeсk Differently Tһаn TNG & DS9

The way that Star Trek: Voyager’s crew used their holodeck was often very different than how the crews of Star Trek: TNG or DS9 used theirs.

Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard, Kate Mulgrew as Kathryn Janeway, and Avery Brooks as Benjamin Sisko from the Star Trek franchise with the holodeck grid in the background.


  • Voyager took a different approach to the holodeck than TNG and DS9, finding a new way to use it that fit the crew’s unique circumstances better.
  • Voyager introduced communal holodeck programs that the whole crew could participate in, unlike TNG and DS9 which only did this rarely.
  • The crew of Voyager relied heavily on the holodeck for entertainment and bonding due to the lack of other recreational facilities on the ship.

Star Trek: Voyager used the holodeck a lot differently than Star Trek: The Next Generation or Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Although the idea of a device similar to the holodeck was first introduced in Star Trek: The Animated Series, the technology wasn’t fully realized until TNG‘s pilot episode, “Encounter at Farpoint.” From there, however, the holodeck became an integral part of the Star Trek universe and was used extensively in countless episodes of TNGDS9, and Voyager.

Star Trek‘s holodeck had two functions: recreational and practical. In terms of recreation, the holodeck was a way for crew members to experience different stories, situations, or scenarios in a variety of settings beyond the monotony of a starship. Occasionally, the technology would also be used for something work-related, such as a training simulation. When it was employed on TNG and DS9, the holodeck was almost always used by only one member of the crew at a time, sometimes a duo or small group. However, Voyager took a very different approach to the holodeck.

Star Trek’s First Holodeck Episode Is Great, But Created Its Biggest Cliche

This Star Trek: The Next Generation season 1 episode is incredibly fun, but it introduces an issue that would plague many future holodeck episodes.

Voyager Had More Communal Holodeck Programs Than TNG And DS9 Combined

Composite of Captain Picard, Captain Janeway, and Captain Sisko from the Star Trek franchise.

While Voyager characters did still use the holodeck on their own, the show introduced the idea of communal holodeck programs that the whole crew could take part in, something that TNG and DS9 only did very rarely if at all. Voyager began this trend in season 1 after Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill) created a program modeled after a bar on Earth called Chez Sandrines. The program was a frequent communal recreation spot for Voyager‘s crew in the show’s early seasons, but was replaced with other similar programs like Neelix’s Paxau Resort or the Irish village Fair Haven later.

The Fair Haven program was also designed by Tom Paris, who had become the crew’s defacto holo-program creator in later seasons.

The reason that Voyager used the holodeck so communally was relatively simple: the crew had essentially nowhere else to gather, unlike the TNG and DS9 crews. TNG‘s USS Enterprise-D was a luxury starship, boasting many recreational facilities like Ten Forward. Likewise, the Deep Space 9 space station had the Promenade and Quark’s Bar for the characters to take advantage of. While Voyager had the mess hall, the only real source of entertainment for the crew was the holodeck. Given that Voyager‘s crew were essentially forced to form close bonds with each other to survive the Delta Quadrant, they took full advantage of the holodeck’s variety to accomplish this.

What Made Voyager’s Ship Different From TNG’s Enterprise-D

Robert Picardo as The Doctor and Dwight Schultz as Reg Barclay in Star Trek

It may seem surprising that the USS Voyager would not have the same facilities for leisure and entertainment that were provided on a ship like the Enterprise-D, but the two ships were designed for very different purposes. The Enterprise-D was a galaxy-class starship, created to be a home for not just officers but their families and other civilians as well. It was also the flagship of the Federation and designed as much for comfort and enjoyment as to serve as a part of Starfleet.

In contrast, Voyager was a purely practical vessel designed for short-term missions. While it did boast state-of-the-art technology, the creature comforts on the ship were lacking since it was never meant to be used as a long-term home. When Star Trek: Voyagers cast of characters found themselves stranded in the Delta Quadrant, they needed to improvise how to make the ship more comfortable, and one of the ways they did this was by taking full advantage of the holodeck as a source of communal entertainment. This hadn’t been necessary on shows like TNG, but was absolutely necessary for Voyager’s crew to maintain their sanity and feel close to one another.

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