July 31, 2008
Booking your band on a cruise ship is a good alternative for those that are tired of the same old routine. The change of scenery, the regularity (and obvious job security) of the gigs and the care free nature of ship gigs in general, are only some of the positive aspects to consider when thinking about a change of pace.
However, not all bands qualify and that’s what I would like to talk about in this article. It’s important to note that most bands that get turned down by a cruise line, fail to consider what it is that the cruise lines want. It sure is easier to simply take whatever you’re doing on land and present that to cruise lines without making any efforts to consider the different needs.
On land, your band is often announced ahead of time and people come to hear your particular sounds. On ships, however, this is drastically different. At the time passengers book their cruise, no one knows which band will play on the ship and they couldn’t care less. They expect to hear songs they know and can sing and dance along to.
This means that bands need to play easily recognizable versions of popular covers in many styles of music. This will ensure that you appeal to the largest possible crowd, which will ultimately give you good ratings which, in return, will guarantee you another gig on the same cruise line.
Furthermore, cruise lines don’t have unlimited bed space and thus can’t hire 12-piece bands at will. No, they prefer 4- to 5-piece bands with a charismatic lead singer and preferably one or two players that can sing backing vocals. Since the visual aspect is important as well as the musical part, it’s vital that people appear engaged and involved.
Finally, a band’s ability to successfully finish a cruise ship contract depends a lot on the attitude they adapt before they set foot on a ship. Besides the fact that a diva-like attitude is never a good idea, this is especially true in a closed environment such as a cruise ship. In a place where you can’t avoid the supervisors and co-employees it is absolutely imperative that you get along with people and that you contribute to a work environment that’s fun to work in.
Adapting such an attitude starts with informing yourself exactly about what’s expected of you and what you can expect.