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Cruise Ship Gigs


TommyS

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No but my good friend Steve did for Carnival and ended up hating it. He said it was nice to play music but you were always rehearsing and did not have the same time off everyone else did. He got to see most of the Caribbean but got bored of it and rich people in there 50's acting like idiots dancing drunk in front of him.

 

He also said that on a cruise ship it's the same as any company and that people expect there to be any problems or drama. He had a bad break up with someone and he was always "land locked" on the ship so it made it uncomfortable to see her. It's not good to date women you work with anyway but on a ship it's worse. He said the pay was OK but could not do it for more than 5 years because it got old.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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rich people in there 50's acting like idiots dancing drunk in front of him.

________________________________________________________________

Fill in the blanks.....people in their 50s/40s/30s/20s acting like idiots dancing drunk in front of him. Could have been at any bar in the world!

 

 

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It was better for me because I was playing for a contracted artist. We did a month here and there for a couple of years and were treated far better than the crew musicians. Our berths were above sea level and we were free to eat either with the passengers or crew. We also didn't have to participate in the safety drills. As Outkaster said, even the largest ship gets small. I became friends with a number of crew members and it was entertaining to watch the drama.

9 Moog things, 3 Roland things, 2 Hammond things and a computer with stuff on it

 

 

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Yeah it depends on the type of job you get. Absolute worst is being part of the "orchestra", next best is the "house band".. that's usually a 4-5 piece cover band. Best jobs are probably cocktail pianist and piano bar entertainer.

 

You really need to be cut out for it.. it can be grueling, even if you are a "guest performer". Lots of rules and regs. This site will give you some good insight what it's all about:

http://www.musicianwages.com/chronicles-of-a-cruise-ship-musician/

 

 

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I've done it twice. My first contract took me around Europe, Africa and Asia during six months, and I got to visit lots of cool places. My second contract was in the Caribbean then Alaska, it did get a bit old after a while.

 

That was about twelve years ago, the money was good for me with the exchange rate, I don't know how things are now.

 

If you have questions, feel free to PM me or ask in this thread.

Martin

"Show me all the blueprints. I'm serious now, show me all the blueprints."

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I've not done it, but have talked to some who have. The deal seemsto be this.... You pick up something like a 6 month contract. Most of that time you're on the boat. You get some excursions at the ports. During the cruise you play the same set several times a day at different locations around the ship. In between you don't mingle...you stay in a different part of the ship with all the other employees. No gourmet meals or anything like that. The money is generally relly good if you can give up 6mos of your life playingthe same set over and over living like a ship hand.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Have you seen this episode of Nova? In it, they talk to a guitarist names Moss Hills who was on both the Oceanos and the Achille Lauro when each sank! :o

 

Delbert McClinton's SBC (Sandy Beaches Cruise) is the one I'd considering being on. http://www.delbert.com

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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I haven't really done a cruise, but I once did a one-month stint on the ferry between Stockholm and Helsinki, which is a rather similar experience, I assume.

 

I really enjoyed the experience; even if we played the same repertoire six nights a week, and often the waves would be so high I'd have to litterally hold the keyboard with one hand while playing with the other.

Musically, it wasn't the best, but I was 20 years old, we shared the stage with a troupe of Brazilian samba girls, and the cutest one decided to make me her romance partner for the duration of our stay. Add to that the unabashed admiration of the rather attractive Swedish and Finnish girls, and you'll see why I left with the greatest reluctance!

 

 

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I haven't really done a cruise, but I once did a one-month stint on the ferry between Stockholm and Helsinki, which is a rather similar experience, I assume.

 

I really enjoyed the experience; even if we played the same repertoire six nights a week, and often the waves would be so high I'd have to litterally hold the keyboard with one hand while playing with the other.

Musically, it wasn't the best, but I was 20 years old, we shared the stage with a troupe of Brazilian samba girls, and the cutest one decided to make me her romance partner for the duration of our stay. Add to that the unabashed admiration of the rather attractive Swedish and Finnish girls, and you'll see why I left with the greatest reluctance!

 

 

Yes, the girls on the boats... It can be very nice!:)

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Have you seen this episode of Nova? In it, they talk to a guitarist names Moss Hills who was on both the Oceanos and the Achille Lauro when each sank! :o

Small world - Moss was the music director on a ship I was on in 1996-7.

 

Yeah, the ol' cruising gig does get old fast. I was part of the house band as well as a contracted singer, and we had access to all the perks of the officers - and the pay was fantastic. I guess it varies with different contracts and cruise lines. So yeah, the drama was full-on: affairs, more affairs, and even more aff... etc.

 

One thing I learned there: the social conventions we abide by quite happily ashore really don't apply at sea. I've never seen people do crazier sh-- than when they realised they weren't bound by 'the land'. Altogether a unique experience, but not one I'd rush to repeat.

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I did it for about a year. I played in one of the lounges as a trio. I played 5-days a week, three hours a night and one night for 45 minutes. one night completely off. Had a lot of spare time but did get to see places that I probably would never have seen. the food was great and we ate with the officers. the pay was great, but after a while it gets very old, very quickly. in a way I miss it and in a way I don't. I believe the longer your contract, the tougher it gets.........Larry
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rich people in there 50's acting like idiots dancing drunk in front of him.

________________________________________________________________

Fill in the blanks.....people in their 50s/40s/30s/20s acting like idiots dancing drunk in front of him. Could have been at any bar in the world!

 

 

Yeah but what I meant is he told me often times you would get people on vacation that never got off the block and would just party and get so out of control.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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No but my good friend Steve did for Carnival and ended up hating it. ... He said the pay was OK but could not do it for more than 5 years because it got old.
Anyone spot the irony there?

 

I think it'd take a rather unusual person to want to do it year after year, but might be an interesting experience to do once. Even then, with obvious caveats, especially if you're prone to seasickness or drama.

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Never did a cruise contract gig, but my band did one of those one-week cruises so many bands are doing now. Back in Oct. 2004, my band did a week on the Rock Boat which is hosted by Sister Hazel. 35 bands,5 stages. It was a lot of fun, but we only had to play 2 shows, so there was a lot of downtime. Lots of great music to see (that year, new artist Gavin DeGraw played in the lounge, Tonic did their final shows in the theatre, Cowboy Mouth.cant even remember everyone), lots of guesting with other bands and jamming. I had sea sickness BAD, I tried acupuncture, Dramamine, the stupid beaded bracelets.the only thing that worked was staying drunk. Luckily, Icehouse was a sponsor, so talent could have free Icehouse. I stayed shitfaced on Icehouse for a week, and my cabinmate was the drinker in the band. One night, I was so polluted, I went back and crashed in our cabin, and he was lying facedup on the bathroom floor. I kicked him to make sure he was alive, which he was, and then proceeded to tell him that he had better roll over because I was too drunk to save his ass if he choked on his vomit. The other thing was the unencumbered women (and there were a LOT of them) were like animals in heat. Combine that with copious amounts of alcohol, and you can see how maybe doing a short stint could be fun. Of course, we were under no restrictions, no timelines for anything other than our shows. We could eat where and whenever we wanted. We could mingle where and when we wanted and with whoever.

 

Of course, I realize what we had was just a cool vacation and a couple gigs, not the same as being imprisoned.

Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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I stayed shitfaced on Icehouse for a week, and my cabinmate was the drinker in the band. One night, I was so polluted, I went back and crashed in our cabin, and he was lying facedup on the bathroom floor. I kicked him to make sure he was alive, which he was, and then proceeded to tell him that he had better roll over because I was too drunk to save his ass if he choked on his vomit.
I love this guy. :)

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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I'll add to the consensus here. I did the cruise ship thing once, as well. Fresh out of school, I won the "showband" audition and landed on a ship where they hadn't had a keyboardist for months before me. I had the luck of signing on the same day as the worst drummer I've ever encountered in my life. At least that was back when shorter contracts were available.

 

The upsides were travelling - being on a Jamaican beach once a week does wonders - and, because of said drummer, my time got a lot better having to focus on the click in my ears and tune him out. The other benefit were the other bands on board. The lounge band was a killer R&B group that went chronologically from Motown to 50 Cent. I'd sit in on Stevie tunes with them after my shift was over, and they turned me onto stuff I hadn't really heard before like Maze, Mint Condition, and all the new gospel stuff. The calypso band on the deck had a steel pan player who was trying to work out bebop on pans... really inspiring. Got a decent foundation in soca from those guys, too.

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Yes, the girls on the boats... It can be very nice!:)

 

Until you break up with one... Or one falls in love with you.. And you are trapped with Psycho-Girl on a small ship in the middle of the ocean for the next six months. Yeah, that sounds attractive,,,,

'55 and '59 B3's, Leslies 147, 122, 21H, Motif XS7, Mellotrons M300 and M400, Wurlitzer 200, Gibson G101, Vox Continental, Mojo
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A few weeks ago I was offered a piano gig on a cruise ship as part of a trio behind a lounge singer. It sounded like a great time but the downsides were that he wanted a one year commitment, the first tour was 4 months and change, and the money was only $600/week. I can make more than that staying home and I get to sleep in my own bed. Sounded like a good time for a while though.
Instrumentation is meaningless - a song either stands on its own merit, or it requires bells and whistles to cover its lack of adequacy, much less quality. - kanker
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A few weeks ago I was offered a piano gig on a cruise ship as part of a trio behind a lounge singer. It sounded like a great time but the downsides were that he wanted a one year commitment, the first tour was 4 months and change, and the money was only $600/week. I can make more than that staying home and I get to sleep in my own bed. Sounded like a good time for a while though.

 

It's actually not a bad gig for a young, single person who has a place to crash between contracts.. ie. they don't have to keep a house or apt. $600 bucks a week is pretty good if you don't need to pay rent, a car, insurance and food. Plus beer in the crew bar is cheap.

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A few weeks ago I was offered a piano gig on a cruise ship as part of a trio behind a lounge singer. It sounded like a great time but the downsides were that he wanted a one year commitment, the first tour was 4 months and change, and the money was only $600/week. I can make more than that staying home and I get to sleep in my own bed. Sounded like a good time for a while though.

 

It's actually not a bad gig for a young, single person who has a place to crash between contracts.. ie. they don't have to keep a house or apt. $600 bucks a week is pretty good if you don't need to pay rent, a car, insurance and food. Plus beer in the crew bar is cheap.

 

Yuh huh. I could be into that in a couple years. I could be very into that in a couple years.

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Yes, the girls on the boats... It can be very nice!:)

 

Until you break up with one... Or one falls in love with you.. And you are trapped with Psycho-Girl on a small ship in the middle of the ocean for the next six months. Yeah, that sounds attractive,,,,

 

That happened to the guy I was friends with. He said it was hell after that.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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TommyS, my experience is a bit dated (1991), but I was a single, wide-eyed kid from Wyoming who got a gig on a Carnival ship called the Festivale - ported out of San Juan, PR. We sailed 7 day cruises around St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Dominica, Barbados, and Martinique. Saturday was a sea day in which the passengers participated in things like beer drinking and trap shooting contests (thankfully, they changed the order after the first couple of weeks). Sunday, we were back in San Juan picking up 1500 more passengers.

 

I did the solo piano bar thing - which looking back, was kind of funny since I hardly sang at all. Occasionally, I'd get to sit in with the big band, and yes; you had to be able to sightread like crazy - they did all manner of styles. Luckily, I knew a lot of the '80's stuff they did by ear (since it was 1991).

 

The relationship thing can be tricky, although I was single, 19, and the ratio of women to men on the Festivale averaged 5:1. Oh, and then there was the Ms. America beauty pageant week...ahem.

 

Overall, it was by far the coolest contract gig I've done...I'd say playing the Ryman in Nashville was a cooler overall experience.

ivorycj

 

Main stuff: Yamaha CP88 | Korg Kronos 2 73 | Kurzweil Forte 7 | 1898 Steinway I

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A few weeks ago I was offered a piano gig on a cruise ship as part of a trio behind a lounge singer. It sounded like a great time but the downsides were that he wanted a one year commitment, the first tour was 4 months and change, and the money was only $600/week. I can make more than that staying home and I get to sleep in my own bed. Sounded like a good time for a while though.

 

It's actually not a bad gig for a young, single person who has a place to crash between contracts.. ie. they don't have to keep a house or apt. $600 bucks a week is pretty good if you don't need to pay rent, a car, insurance and food. Plus beer in the crew bar is cheap.

 

Yuh huh. I could be into that in a couple years. I could be very into that in a couple years.

I hear you, Majuscule! If I were in my 20's, single, and childless, I wouldn't hesitate! Unfortunately I am no longer any of those things. And telling one's spouse that one is off to a floating party for less money than one makes at home is not a recipe for marital bliss. ;)

Instrumentation is meaningless - a song either stands on its own merit, or it requires bells and whistles to cover its lack of adequacy, much less quality. - kanker
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