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Cruise Ship Gig


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I have been contacted about doing a stint on a cruise ship. I have no idea what I would be getting into. Has anyone ever done one of these? What should I expect? Is it worth it? I realize it would be like doing a tour. I haven't accepted yet. I need to do a crash course on reading first.
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I had fun doing a couple cruise ship gigs. It totally depends on what cruise line you are working for. Some lines pay better, other's are less strict and give you more freedom on the ship. What cruise line were you contacted by? Are you thinking of playing with the show band? or a specialty band?
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I was contacted by the band leader of the show band on Carnival. My parents took a cruise and my dad likes bragging about my bass getting me scholarships, and he did this with the leader. Anyway, my dad called me when the ship came into port and he sort of kidnapped the band leader to talk to me. He said it was a fill-in spot for now, but could lead to a permanent gig if I like it. I don't know if I would need an upright or a 5. I guess I need to find out more from him. He said he was going to call me when he got to his home port next week with the gig to start Nov 18th.
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Wow, sounds like your parents are very supportive. Cool! I've worked for Carnival on a couple of occasions (BTW which ship we're your parents on?) and they have all been positive. Unfortunately, Carnival pays the worst ($325-$350 a week when I was working, a few years back), but they are the loosest when it comes to employee rules, and boat drills, ect. It sounds like you'd be doing it mostly for the experience anyway.

As far as what is expected of you, it depends on if you are doing the 3 day or the 7 day cruises, but there are a lot of similarities between the two. First, I hope you like jazz, because you'll be playing a lot of it. A couple times a week you'll be doing small jazz combo sets around the ship. Then, about 4 times a week you'll be doing multiple big-band type sets with the whole show band. Twice a week, you'll be backing up a broadway type revue (BTW you will be playing with sweetener tracks and a click). You do need to have good reading chops for these shows, as they are not the easiest to sight read. You'll also be playing music for the fly-on entertainers (comedians, singers, ect.) Again, you need good reading chops, because you have to sight read their show, and you may or may not get to rehearse once before the show.

Some days you may be playing for 5+ hours, others maybe and hour or two, so it all evens out. And, once you get comfortable with everything, you'll get a routine grooved in pretty fast. Good luck, and let me know how it turns out. :thu:

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Originally posted by greenboy:

surfmonkey, are you talking genuine real jazz as well as "cocktail"? Zowie!

 

Sounds like you've done some cool things : }

I guess I should clarify...Jazz standards. Yes, yes, "cocktail" jazz, meaning you should be drinking at all times during these sets ("In The Mood" two...three...four...).

 

You do get to do some hip charts with the show band though, depending on the band leader.

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As a bassist in such a setting I wouldn't get past the starting gate. But I have played tons of that stuff on sax in big bands. "In The Mood", Begin The Beguine" etc. When it gets better it's usually because the Duke or the Count have been invoked by audience request...

 

<-- greenboy ---<<<<    the tenor sax's been drinking, not me

.
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Kewl Cornbread......go for it..... I did a six month gig several years ago with Norwegian Cruise Lines and it was a gas. I had a lot of free time to party, and had jam sessions after hours with the Norwegian crew in their crew bar and met a lot of great people. I don't know how loose Carnival is with the rules, but it should be a great experience for you. Rock on.... :cool:
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a friend of mine was dating a bass player who had just gotten off a gig on a cruise. he signed up in oregon and they flew him to wherever the hell he had to get on the boat and then they sailed away. eventually the boat docked in new york, cruise over, and he just settled here because he couldn't get back to oregon (although i think the pro scene in nyc might have influenced his decision a touch).
Eeeeeehhhhhhhhh.
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