Cruise ship life is an entire world that is difficult to explain in a few words, but lets try… music, travel, parties, ship-family!
I’ve learnt a lot about music by working on cruise ships. From playing in orchestra pits for production shows, sight-reading for entertainers that “fly-on” for a night, performing live-band karaoke, big-band and small ensemble jazz, playing covers of all genres on two keyboards (plus doing back-up vocals) and playing and singing as a soloist… I’ve almost done it all!
A definite plus to working on ships is all the travel. I’ve been all over the Caribbean (and seen a lot of the United States in between), as well as Australia and the Pacific Islands. Musicians are pretty lucky employees on ships because we work at night and usually have the days off to explore the ports.
But after the gig is over for the night, what to do?! Being confined to a boat (without good internet) means that crew can become pretty inventive with forms of entertainment. Themed costume parties are a regular event!
Whilst onboard a ship for six months, you become pretty close to the people around you. They become your “ship-family“. You spend birthdays and holidays together. And you keep each other entertained…!
Understandably, when you finish your contract and everyone goes home to their various parts of the world… it can feel a bit like this picture on the left. However, you’d be surprised how often you bump into each other unexpectedly, either on different ships or when you are in the same port. I’ve also made a point of visiting cruise ship friends around the world which makes for a great reason to travel!
In this picture, Elyse and I are together again after more than a year! I visited her in her home town of Pittsburgh, PA. Woohoo!