April 17, 2009
We talk a lot about what it is like to be a musician on a cruise ship, we talk about how to prepare for the gig, how to get the gig and how to perform the job well, but I haven’t mentioned the simple pleasure of being at sea.
There’s nothing like standing out on the open deck and breathing in the fresh, unpolluted air and forgetting traffic jams as you’re looking out at the open, uncluttered sea. To me, the sea always has a calming effect and tends to make me forget my daily struggles.
Many musicians look to a career on a cruise ship because they may be in a transition phase on land. They may have had some changes in their private life or they may be in between jobs on land. If that’s the case, you’ll love being on at sea.
A gig on a cruise ship is perfect to take a “time out” from land life and ponder your next plan of action. Due to the nature of the job, you won’t have to deal with paying bills, finding parking in busy cities, commuting to your gig etc. In other words, you will be worry-free for the time being (assuming that you don’t have any issues with the gig itself).
Many friends of mine have taken jobs on cruise ships with the purpose to sort out their lives and plan their future and this tends to work out just fine.
Being at sea for an extended period of time also teaches you respect and appreciation for nature. There’s nothing like watching whales surface right in front of the ship, or watching entire schools of dolphins escort the ship. You always have the chance to explore nature much more in detail via the shore excursions that you may sometimes get for free if you agree to help out the shore excursion staff. You’ll get to know the different colors of the sea, depending on where you are in the world; the turquoise waters of the carribean or the deep blue sea in Alaska etc.
All of this while you travel the world which is the most exciting geography course bar none.
Of course, the seas can get rough and you may get sea sick from time to time, but that’s actually a good thing. There’s nothing more humbling that being stuck on a what seems to be a tiny dingy amidst gigantic waves. It teaches respect and awe for nature that no Discovery Channel show can teach you.
Go experience it for yourself, you won’t regret it.
April 16, 2009
For today’s pick I’ve chosen Blue Bossa…yes, I know, who wants to hear another version of Blue Bossa, right? Well, give this one a chance. When two masters go at it, there’s a good chance that something worthwhile comes out of it.
Artist: Chick Corea and Bobby McFerrin
Song: Blue Bossa
April 15, 2009
I thought I would elaborate a bit on the job opportunities on cruise ships for classical musicians.
We do get a lot of inquiries from individual classical musicians and I should say that we do hire existing ensembles only. These could be duos, trios, quartets and even quintets.
A classical ensemble usually performs in the “Atrium” area of a ship (which is usually the main entrance to the ship where you’ll find the customer service desk) and the restaurants. more info
April 10, 2009
Cover bands have a different role on land as they have on cruise ships. It is thus important to know how you need to modify your package to be suitable for cruise ship gigs.
First, one general comment about music on cruise ships as opposed to land. On land, your cover band gets announced weeks before you appear at a venue, and people come to see your band in particular because they may have heard you before and like what you do. This is drastically different from cruise ship entertainment. Passenger book a particular cruise because of the itinerary or the ship, not because of one particular cover band that appears there. In other words, they don’t expect the uniqueness of your band the way people would on land. more info
April 9, 2009
If you don’t know where to eat in Cozumel, Mexico, or if you’re tired of going to the same place you always go to, I have a great suggestion for you.
“Casa Mission” is the best restaurant in Cozumel (according to locals) and that’s saying lot given the number of excellent choices you have there. The beautiful hazienda-style house only just a couple of blocks away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown area, is surrounded by a beautiful garden that makes for a quiet and peaceful atmosphere.
The restaurant, which also functions as the owners’ residence, is decorated with old furniture and several bird cages which add to the unique atmosphere. You’ll enjoy the song of birds instead of the racket of downtown traffic.
The owners actually operate a second restaurant in the downtown area call “The Mission” but it’s not the same restaurant.
The food is nothing short of spectacular. On my last visit I had the seafood plate which included a white fish, prawns and lobster, all of them grilled to perfection. My dinner partner enjoyed a mexican combo platter that included many traditional mexican dishes that was to die for.
The food here is simple but extremely well prepared. You won’t regret it. Of course, the mandatory daiquiris, margaritas and nachos with salsa are all served here as well and more delicious than ever. I have been to Cozumel countless times and I have never heard of this restaurant. So, it’s a bit of a secret tip for you.
You’ll find the restaurant on the corner of Av. Juarez and Av. Pedro J. Coldwell. A cab ride from the ship’s terminal will be about $8 (ask the taxi driver about the restaurant, he’ll know where it is). There is a map on their site as well.
Reserve if you can.
Casa Mission Restaurant – 987-872-32-48 or 987-872-16-41
April 1, 2009
The economy is down (for those that haven’t paid attention) and the cruise lines are feeling it. Musicians that can’t find gigs on land anymore are flocking to cruise ships for gigs. The combination of both of these facts makes it harder to get gigs on ships. Here are five tips on improving your odds:
1. Be available – The list of those waiting for gigs is getting longer by the minute. If you’re not available for full contracts, the cruise lines will simply pick someone that is.
2. Apply early – This has always been true but is even more important now. For some positions we’re booking for 2010 now.
3. Be ready to go – People always get fired or signed off for medical reasons. If this happens we’ll need people in a hurry and we’ll take those that are ready to go.
4. Kick butt during your audition – Lots of applicants means cruise lines have the luxury to pick the best.
5. Yes, weed counts as a drug. – Hold off on lighting it up, you will fail the drug test.