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Cruise Ship Gig? - the 5 "W"s

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by fello, Aug 26, 2003.


  1. fello

    fello

    Nov 11, 2002
    London, UK
    Hi.I'm wondering if anyone here at TB has experience with cruise ship gigs.I would like to get a gig on a ship for next year, but don't know the procedure to make this happen.If anyone could share their experience on how to book this type of gig for a bass player, and also share their experience on board, it would be great.Thanks in advance to anyone who replies to this thread.:)
     
  2. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    I did the audition and was offered a 6 month gig,I turned it down for family reasons.This is a sight-reading gig,EVERYTHING is written out.You also have to be able to walk and swing convincingly on jazz standards.You also need to be comfortable with samba's,bossa's,cha-cha's,merengue's etc.and familiar with some pop"oldies"repertoire.You need to be able to rehearse new material and perform it flawlessly that same night with different"star"acts.
    In short they're looking for an experienced pro.
    (no slapping or tapping here;) )

    www.proship.com for more info.:)
     
  3. fello

    fello

    Nov 11, 2002
    London, UK
    Thx fo your reply ConU.Actually Proship is the only company I've heard that is constantly auditioning musicians for Cruise gigs.The downside is that they'll keep 25% of the money you will get payed.I'm trying to find other ways to audition for these type of gigs, without someone in the middle taking money for referring you.
     
  4. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    They don't refer,they hire.Whatever money they make does'nt come out of your pocket.I have several friends that gig regularly thru Proship.

    If you can make $350-450US per/wk,travel,and all other expenses incl.another way;cool.

    The only way to do that IME,is have a unique,star act,that a separate booking agency can sell to the cruise line.

    As a single bass player,looking to be employed as a sideman,you apply to the employer,or get hired by the star act,"who takes 25% of your money" anyway.
     
  5. fello

    fello

    Nov 11, 2002
    London, UK
    I see what you mean ConU, and Thx once again for sharing your experience.I heard this 25 % figure from somebody I met once who had been working on cruise ships for several years, and recommended me to avoid them, because of this commision charge.I guess there should be some other ways of getting a gig as a sideman on a cruise, without playing with a star act.Maybe some other people or companies hire or audition like proship does.Maybe the cruise companies have musical directors in charge of this.I'm not sure, just looking to have some more options to consider and apply.
    Thanks
     
  6. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    I sincerely doubt you will find a better starting or finishing(for that matter) salary than that.
    And like it or not,it is a reading gig.
    The pianist who served as MD for a few ensembles I've played with at school,works regularly for Proship,never said anything like that,and he's in his 60's.
     
  7. fello

    fello

    Nov 11, 2002
    London, UK
    Hi.Well, it's not only a matter of money, just having more options to apply for and consider, like when you look for any other kind of Job.I just learned that Disney cruises have another way of looking for and hiring musicians for their cruises, for example.Also, the reading part is not a problem, I'm prepared to take and handle that responsability :D
    Thx again
     
  8. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    Really,how's that?
     
  9. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    ok well you've lost me on how that's better/different.They're not hiring musicians presently,and other companies online are,consistently,if you have the sight-reading capabilities,can sell yourself and want to work long contracts.
     
  10. fello

    fello

    Nov 11, 2002
    London, UK
    Sorry,but I didn't mean to imply it was better/different.Just that it was another option to consider,Which is what i'm looking for, the more options, the more possibilities of finding a gig, that's all.
    Thx for all your imput ConU.
     
  11. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    I put bands on Carnival ships, full time, from 1992 to 1997.
    I would say if you want to do cruise ship gigs and still make some money, try doing it as a self-contained loungeband/act.

    First, contact the Entertainment dept. directly to avoid agent fees (they actually contacted me through a referal from a friend who had worked for them).

    Being prepared to make a 6 month (or longer) commitment is a big plus to getting the gig.

    Another advantage to the lounge act route is $$$.
    When I started in 1992, I started at $450 per week.
    The average Showband/Orchestra player was only making $200, and some of them paid a % to an agency.
    By 1995 I worked up (as band leader) to $750.
    The Showband/Orchestra players didn't get bumped up to $300 until late 1996. :eek:

    I've had offers to come back to Carnival, and to go to a Disney ship (at nearly $900), but I am now married with child so that's not a work option for me anymore.

    If you're single (and can deal with the "ship life") it's a great experience.
    Besides going all over the Mexican Riviera, Carribean Isles, Bahamas, Cayman Isles, Jamaica & Cozumel, I also got to go through the Panama Canal and visit Columbia and Costa Rica.

    It was a cool time. :cool:
     
  12. fello

    fello

    Nov 11, 2002
    London, UK
    WOW, well first of all, Thanks Phatbastard for your reply, this Is the kind of replies I was looking for:rolleyes:
    SO, a self-contained loungeband/act, sounds interesting, and never though about it before.
    WOuld you care telling me the kind of repertoire you played with these bands.
    Also, it seems to me it might be a little difficult , to find a whole band that commits to playing on a ship for 6 months, what do you think?
    In your experience, where would you look for bandmates for this type of gig.
    Well, Thx for your answer and any further post on this matter will be apprecciated!
     
  13. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Well, living in Vegas I know a lot of players so when I needed to swap somebody on the Los Angeles side it wasn't a problem. Miami was a little harder but I only had to switch a drummer and the guy I ended up with quit the Orchestra to join me (doubled his $ and he had to work a lot less hours since the Orchestra guys had to do a lot of little gigs (like Captain's cocktail parties) throughout the week. Sometimes working 7 days vs. 6 for us.

    I did 4 different groups for them in 5 years, 3 of which were already groups in Vegas. The other was a duo I did, in one of the smaller lounges in the ship, with a good friend I'd played with before.

    Repertoire was everything: Toto, Garth Brooks, AC/DC, Tower of Power, Nat King Cole, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Chicago, Frank Sinatra, Alanis Morrisette, Hendrix, Van Halen, Brooks and Dunn, SRV, Beatles, Stones, Boston, Rush. Pretty much depended on the crowd we had at a particular moment.
     
  14. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    I think it's fair to say the chances of doing that as a first-off,are...slim.Sounds like you hit the lottery in'92.Competition for those slots are fierce IME.
    I currently know 4 friends who are showband/orch.players,they all make around $400US a week(all expenses incl.).Not too many cats on this board can say that for just playing bass.
     
  15. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Lottery? Not really. Cruise ships that use bands from the US are not known for having great bands since it's hard to get decent acts to commit for a sufficient amount of time. Many people get out there and immediately realize they can't hack the life (be it the small cabins, strict rules, sea sickness: real or imagined :rolleyes: , etc.) so many groups have to replace people (usually frowned upon) or they have a member (or more) that starts bending/breaking the rules, which can lead to termination for them or the whole group.

    I loved the life (even met my wife there, she was a bartender), knew my way around the rules without getting caught (Always make real good friends with security, just in case. I even got close to one of the high ranking Italian Officers who is now a Captain. I've even seen him on a couple of Carnival TV commercials recently. Saved my butt on at least one occasion.), did the job, I even got Seaman Certifications (classes I took on board, but not required) & Scuba certified. It's either a life for you or it isn't.

    As far as the Showband/Orchestra guys, yes, I remember them telling me the competition was tough to get their job (they'd regularly sit in with us and there weren't many bad players). Many of the rhythm section player in the Orchestra made more than the horn players due to the fact that they had more gig options off the ships. The Orchestra players on Carnival could be making $400 by now.

    Silly little fact: My immediate boss was the Musical Director for the ship and was also the Bassist for the Showband/Orchestra. I started at $450 and went to $750.

    His position (my boss) was $350 when I started and only $400 when I quit 5 years later. :eek:
     
  16. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    I learn something new every day.Thanks:)
     
  17. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    Hey PhatBasstard, I did a juggling act on the Jubillee in 95. Were you ever on that ship? Ever know a trumpeter named Kevin Norton? He went on to work with Brian Setzer.

    One night on the ship I got asked to sit in for the bass player because he was barfing big time and they knew I played but it was way over my head, too many charts!!!
     
  18. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    I started on the Jubilee from '92-'94 when it was on the L.A. side doing the 7day Mexican Riviera cruise (It has since gone back to Miami, replaced by the Elation).

    I may know the trumpet player from there or another ship (sounds familiar).
     
  19. does anyone have charts that are on cruise-ships?or where can I get them?

    thanks