cruise ship gig

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Yvon, Aug 16, 2001.

  1. Yvon


    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    I got a call from a company who hire musician for cruise ship today.
    It's not the first time they call me, I even went there and pass an audition about 2 years ago.
    They really need musician these days.
    Anyone done a gig like this?
    I heard from most people that it is really not a cool gig.
    What do you think?
  2. ARA punk

    ARA punk Guest

    Jul 11, 2001
    USA, Shelby, NC
    How much are they paying you, and what kinda cruise ship is it, and what kinda music do you play? And do you have merchandise to sale if the pay is not completly what you want? Im asuming that you are getting to go on a cruise ship for free though, so that alone would be enough for me to go for it. I dunno though. It would also depend on you day job.
  3. Hi Yvon, I , unfortunately, have done a cruise ship gig. I did it last winter for two months. It was the worst decision of my life (other than buying a time share in East Timor ;) ) Let me tell you my experience, I'll make it brief- you can call me if you want the whole story. The musicians on these gigs are hired by an agency (in your case Proship?) and bands are assembled randomly. Sometimes you get a kick A$$ band other times most of the band is incompetent. My gig was for Seaborn-a luxury cruise line. The agent that hired me acted like he was my friend until I was on the ship. When problems came up on the ship (no contract, TERRIBLE musicians) he would not return my calls or emails. The band was the worst band I have ever played with in my life. The drummer couldn't keep time, read shows, play quietly etc. The bandleader was incompetent as well. The sax player was a great player however. The cruise director sent me to meet with the vice president of entertainment for the company to try to get things fixed. He fired the agent that was hiring musicians but did little else to make things better. Most of these people only care about getting a body in a seat and collecting their comission. They usually have no musical knowledge. I offered to set him up with some excellent players from Montreal and Toronto but he wanted to stay with his book. We went through many of these players on the gig. All of them were bad players. Some of them were fired after the first day. A new band leader was flown in. He was a drug addict who had been fired by two other cruise lines. The story gets worse but I'll spare you the details. The gig did pay great though, about $575 US a week.
    Two years ago I did a gig for about a week and a half with a band from Montreal who were all friends of mine and the gig was great. Proship is usually ok for booking musicians. Some guys fall through the cracks (especially when they are short on players) but it is unlikely you will get stuck with an incompetent band.
    The other thing to think about is the length of contract. Being away from friends, family and girlfriend for a few months can be a drag. Some people spend all their time drinking. The good side is if you get a good band you can travel, make money playing music and practice. Good luck.
    PS sorry about the long rant-this actually was the short version!
  4. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Yeah, cruise ship gigs are a mixed bag.

    Plus side (assuming you have good musicians): you get to travel and play every day (usually many types of music). Decent pay plus room and board

    Minus side- If you get stuck with bad musicians, you are pretty much screwed. Some contracts are for up to 4-6 months. Crew and band members are often not allowed to interact with the passengers. Band often have tiny little rooms that they share with other band members. Stuck on a boat.

    You'll probably come out a better player than you went in, but you might not keep your sanity. :D
  5. nanook

    nanook Guest

    Feb 9, 2000
    What was required of you at the audition?

    Would a garage band basser (actually been playing 35 years) who does not read music have a chance?
  6. Yvon


    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    Thanks guys,
    most people told me it is not a good idea. I doN,t know anybody who really liked it...
    Would you like go take a lunch sometime soon Randy?

    Nanook, if you have a good band you might go as a band, but if you don't read forget it if you want to go as a hired musician.
  7. bassgeek

    bassgeek Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    Yvon, BassBoy and bassmonkee summed up the cruise situation and Proship very well. I've had good and bad situations with different cruise lines. Royal Carribean sucks to work for but can have good musicians. As a woman working on the ship, be prepared to be hit on by hundreds of guys. In general, you work a lot for the money you get paid. I only do it to travel to some neat places:
    I was in Rio for New Year's Eve last year and we also went all over South America, Australia, and of course, the Carribean.

    Nanook- I'd say 75% of the playing you do on the ship is reading charts. By the end of your contract your reading chops would be great.
  9. Dan Mee

    Dan Mee Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2007
    West Midlands, U.K.
    I'm just out of University, and interested in the prospect of travelling for a while and playing, so the idea of getting a cruise gig is quite apealing to me at the moment.

    Can anyone tell me how you go about getting a cruise gig/audition, and what companies would be good to talk to, I don't know whether it's different coming from the U.K. but any information would be useful at this stage.


  10. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Eugene Oregon
    I did 6 months or so in the Carribbean and it wasn't half bad (in 1975). By day we played by the pools or in lounges, and at nights we did the shows. Had two buddies with me so we made up the rhythm section of whatever we were doing. Best thing: a new crowd ever week; worst thing: the food and working day and night. Not a bad way to pass time.
  11. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I've been on two cruises as a passenger, Royal Caribbean and Norwiegan. All the bands on both cruises were terriffic as far as I was concerned. If you do the gig, bring a reliable cheapie with you, not an expensive bass. The salt air and constant playing are hard on instruments. Lots of Corts and especially Squiers on cruise ships.
  12. Hoover

    Hoover Inactive

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City

    I played on the Crystal Harmony for three months in 1991, doing a circuit of the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, and up the Mexican "Riviera". Never was I so happy to be playing a Steinberger! Salt air, high humidity, temps in the high 90's...not a problem for an all-composite bass. (The bandleader hated the sound of my Steinberger, but fuq him.)
  13. Jeff K

    Jeff K Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2005
    Memphis, TN
    Several years ago, Bass Player magazine ran an article about cruise ship gigs. If you do decide to take it, it (the B.P. mag) might contain some good tips for you. Good luck.
  14. mtto

    mtto Supporting Member

    May 25, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    I played for Proship in 2001. All in all it was a good gig. I played with a few GREAT musicians and a few OK musicians. Lots of free time to read, practice, go to the gym. I drank way too much, which I would not recommend. Does anyone know what the going rate for ship gigs is in 2009?
  15. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    One of the best bands I ever saw was a jazz trio on a cruise ship. I think playing music for the vacationing people is a whole lot better than working in the restaurant! They said they pretty much got their free time to themselves and were allowed above deck or to visit ports of call when they weren't playing. It sounds like a major time commitment though.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Unfortunately most of the Jazz trios on the ships have been removed recently with cost cuts. I worked for Carnival last year with a trio, and while I did enjoy it for the most part, its not as glamorous as one would think. The show band gig is a fairly high pressure environment. If your reading is good its alright, but you better be prepared...
  17. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    Better pack some heat in case of pirates
  18. Edgeless

    Edgeless Guest

    Feb 14, 2009
    Im planning on trying something like this after high school. my reading is getting better and my technique is always improving. me and a mate might see if we can go together...quick question is it all cover material or orginals aswell?. thanks.

    and on the issue of weapons against pirates. theirs a guy in columbia who will build you a bass made out of old gun materials.. might me useful.
  19. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I'm auditioning this Saturday for an agency that is booking for Royal Caribbean, so I've been doing a lot of research.

    I realize this is a pretty old thread at this point, but here are some links that answered a lot of questions for me.

    All the comments about not taking a nice bass makes me a little nervous, but I can deal. If I get the gig, I'm going to looking into a Moses Graphite Neck for my StingRay5.
  20. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    What was the name of your trio?? The band leader was Canadian. The drummer was simply amazing, and fun to watch as well. He looked like he was having seizures!!