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Cruise Ship Musician Information

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by SLO Surfer, Apr 24, 2018.


  1. There's always people on TalkBass asking about cruise ship gigs, and I always like to pop in and share my experiences since I've worked many ship contracts for Princess Cruises between 2003-2011. I have also met and worked with many other ship musicians who have worked with Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and Cunard cruise lines. (None of them make musicians work extra duties outside of safety drills, ie there's no dish washing, catering, laundry, etc)

    I also like to share, and am writing this post, because very often people who haven't actually worked on a ship themselves give erroneous details. I just got an email from my old ship band leader who now works in the head office that they are out holding auditions in Vancouver May 4th. (these in-person auditions are not the only way they hire)

    Here is a link to the Audition Application for Princess Cruises, where you can click on some links and see the differences between responsibilities and qualifications required for different band/musician positions. You can also dig around this site a bit to find out lots of other information about working on ships: Princess Entertainment - Princess Cruises Entertainment

    I've compiled some basic requirements for all Princess musicians, regardless of band or musical role onboard as follows:
    -Perform up to 5 hrs per day, 7 days per week, as scheduled by the Music Manager and Entertainment management.
    -Demonstrate a congenial attitude and ability to work well with others in a close environment.
    -Enthusiastically participate in required activities including, but not limited to, trainings, drills, safety briefings & duties, in-port manning, meetings, and performances.
    -Self-directed solo rehearsal for improvement as required.
    -Excellent professional "live" stage presence at all times
    -Proficiency in improvisation is required in a variety of musical performance styles and settings.
    -Ability to use technology to enhance musical performances a plus.
    -Proficiency in the English Language, additional languages a plus.
    -Ability to go beyond being a "performer" to become an "entertainer" preferred.
    -Ability to move between venues quickly with minimal set-up & sound-check.
    -Applicants must be 21 years old to work on board.


    Briefly some specifics for three different positions (there are other musician roles you can find on that link above) straight from the website,

    "House Band (Show band, Orchestra, etc.): Think Broadway meets a state of the art recording studio. Our House Band musicians are highly skilled players with world class resumes. All of our house band musicians are excellent sight readers who have theater, concert, studio and stage experience. We require complete familiarity with many different styles including: Rock, Jazz, Country, Latin, Broadway, Funk, Hip-Hop.
    Essential Duties: Perform in support of main evening shows and various other events around the ship.
    Qualifications: Minimum 2-years post-secondary Music Studies a plus. High level of music sight-reading and transposition skills. Broadway or Musical Theater experience preferred (ie. "Pit" Orchestra). High level of appropriate professional stage presence for all performances. Excellent knowledge of contemporary musical styles (Top 40 from 1940's to present)."

    For House Band bassist specifically: "Our bassist can rock out with the same intensity as they swing or play pocket. They are expert sight readers who can handle any style with equal expertise."

    "Lounge Bands: (3-4 Piece) Our Lounge Bands provide a wide variety of music as well as accompany high profile events, and must bring a high-level commercial entertainment product onboard. Lounge band's repertoire should include: American song book standards, various ballroom dancing material (Waltz, Rhumba, Cha-cha, Salsa, etc.), pop dance music from 1940's to present, and Adult Contemporary favorites. Lounge Bands must have a large and diverse musical repertoire. Onboard events include: Cocktail parties, ballroom dancing parties, and various theme nights.
    Essential Duties: Provide live musical performances and musical support to events onboard as required.
    Qualifications: Shipboard, nightclub, hotel, wedding, and corporate event experience is preferred. Excellent fluency in performing all required musical styles. Excellent knowledge of contemporary musical styles (Top 40 from 1950's to present). Excellent knowledge of ballroom dance musical styles. Ability to execute group performances at a high level on short notice with minimal rehearsal. Showcase and themed sets a plus.
    Lounge Bands generally have a Band Leader who selects members, selects repertoire, and directs the group."

    "Pop/Rock Party Bands: (4-6 Piece) Party Bands are the core of our live music nightlife onboard, and must bring a high-level commercial entertainment product onboard. Party Bands work closely with our onboard Entertainment Department to accompany various themed events, including the "Festivals of the World" performances. Party Bands must have a large and diverse musical repertoire, and be able to perform at least two 45 minute showcase sets in the main lounge.
    Essential Duties: Provide live dance music, showcase theme sets, and performances in support of theme nights, Festivals of the World parties, and other special events as required.
    Qualifications: Shipboard, nightclub, hotel, wedding, and corporate event experience is preferred. Excellent fluency in performing all required musical styles. Ability to execute group performances at a high level on short notice with minimal rehearsal. Excellent professional "live" stage presence at all times. Excellent knowledge of contemporary musical styles (Top 40 from 1950's to present). Ability to go beyond being a "performer" to become an "entertainer" preferred.
    Party Bands generally have a Band Leader who selects members, selects repertoire, and directs the group."

    "Princess Cruises provides all flights, transfers, and travel accommodations both to and from the ship."


    Hope those of you interested might find this info helpful. I know I grew tremendously as a musician and as a human because of my work on ships. I also have a better understanding/appreciation of many other cultures from around the world, as well as some solid, life-long friendships with people from all around the world.
     
    hs123 and electracoyote like this.

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