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struan87
Sep 8, 2004

What's your sign?

I play bass and I live in Seattle, which is a major port for cruises. I've heard that playing in the house band on a cruise ship can be a lot of fun, and I'd like to try it. Does anyone have any experience with that line of work?

Here are some basic questions:
    Is it actually fun or will I hate myself?
    How do I get a foot in the door? Where do I even start looking for opportunities?
    How good of a musician do I have to be? I can comp well and read music, but what else do I need to do?
    How versatile do I need to be? For example, will I be expected to play multiple instruments (e.g. upright bass)?
    How much music do I need to know already? Is music provided?
    Is there typically a repertoire, or would the band play whatever someone requests?

Backstory: I'm in my early 30s with few to no responsibilities and a bunch of money saved up. I want to take a few months (or years, if it's awesome) to do something completely outside my normal field of engineering.

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Ferdinand the Bull
Jul 30, 2006



Cruises are sweet gigs. You get in by knowing people. Find out some cruise functions around town and network your way in.

struan87
Sep 8, 2004

What's your sign?

Ferdinand the Bull posted:

Cruises are sweet gigs. You get in by knowing people. Find out some cruise functions around town and network your way in.
Thanks! Could you elaborate on what "cruise functions" are? How do I find them?

Ferdinand the Bull
Jul 30, 2006



struan87 posted:

Thanks! Could you elaborate on what "cruise functions" are? How do I find them?

https://www.google.com/search?q=cruise+convention&oq=cruise+convention&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.3191j0j4&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=91&ie=UTF-8

+ your city/ region name

Ferdinand the Bull
Jul 30, 2006



https://www.portseattle.org/About/Organization/Documents/OSR_AnnualReport2014_EV1.pdf

Within this brochure is info about a booth Seattle Cruise Ship Port staff had.

Hail my Google-fu.

struan87
Sep 8, 2004

What's your sign?

Cool, thanks! I'll dig into those.
Have you worked on a ship? Do you have any thoughts about my other questions?

The Earl of ToeJam
Jan 22, 2012


There was an A/T thread about working on cruise ships a while back. I don't have the link handy but maybe look through the archives?

The gist of it was that working on a cruise ship could be a pretty sweet gig as long as you aren't a cook or housekeeper. IIRC the pay for musicians isn't great, but it can be a hella fun job. Especially if you love alcohol and partying.

I remember seeing somewhere that some cruise lines have you audition through youtube. They send you a packet of sheet music to sight read, and a CD of music to improv to. This was several years ago when I was looking into it, so I really don't know how it works nowadays.

The Earl of ToeJam fucked around with this message at 17:09 on May 20, 2014

FrozenVent
May 1, 2009

The Boeing 737-200QC is the undisputed workhorse of the skies.

Entertainment staff hiring is pretty different from other positions (IE, they have you audition and poo poo) so you're going to need to talk with someone who was entertainment to be able to answer the questions you had.

It's been years, so I've lost touch with the few musicians I did know... There was a guitarist in my intake training class, he seemed to have a pretty good life as he was pretty much drunk every time I ran after him after training.

Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007


should have picked four fingers


Basically you'll have a pretty sweet life, plenty time off and you'll get to enjoy going to ports and getting off the ship a lot.
You'll be sharing a room with someone, you will have little privacy, but you will meet a lot of new and exciting people.
As for applying, if you do a google search for whatever company name plus employment you'll usually find something on there you can apply direct through.


Oh and whoever was talking about how it's fun if you aren't a cook or housekeeper, if you aren't indonesian or filipino that won't be an issue (they only hire those guys from there)

The Earl of ToeJam
Jan 22, 2012


Two Finger posted:

Oh and whoever was talking about how it's fun if you aren't a cook or housekeeper, if you aren't indonesian or filipino that won't be an issue (they only hire those guys from there)

Because they're the only people that'll take the slave wages offered.

Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007


should have picked four fingers


Funddevi posted:

Because they're the only people that'll take the slave wages offered.

Uh oh, here comes the cruise ships are evil crowd...

struan87
Sep 8, 2004

What's your sign?

Thanks for all the responses!
I applied directly through a couple cruise lines' websites. I haven't had much luck networking; it seems like all the conventions are in other cities. I'm still trying to find someone through my network of musicians.

Brekelefuw
Dec 16, 2003
I Like Trumpets

struan87 posted:

Thanks for all the responses!
I applied directly through a couple cruise lines' websites. I haven't had much luck networking; it seems like all the conventions are in other cities. I'm still trying to find someone through my network of musicians.

There are recruiters all over. We used to have a Carnival recruiter fly in every year to my college to audition players.
Now you can do online auditions etc.

struan87
Sep 8, 2004

What's your sign?

Update: I got invited to audition! Yay!
The only problem is that if I pass the audition, I enter a pool of people they can call on when they have a need. So there's really no guarantee of work at any point, which means I can't count on doing this as a job for any amount of time.
Is that how it usually works? Is it worth sitting around waiting for them to call or should I just go get a more stable job?

FrozenVent
May 1, 2009

The Boeing 737-200QC is the undisputed workhorse of the skies.

Usually when you sign on, you sign on for a number of months. After your first go around, if it went well you'll have a relatively set schedule. Assuming musicians are anything like the rest of cruise ship workers.

Malcolm
May 11, 2008


They probably assume you are a flake until you successfully complete at least one cruise. I knew a few guys in my jazz classes that would go on the ships from time to time. One guy was a kickass bassist, but I think he got in trouble with the cruise director for not always wearing his bowtie to the gigs. That's right, he got into a fight about "wearing the proper apparel" during shows and I don't think he will be invited back. Brilliant musician but he was lacking a bit in the people skills department.

My overall impression is that it's a fun thing for single musicians to do, the pay is decent and if you don't gently caress it up by gambling or drinking/snorting it away you can come back with some nice stacks of cash.

FrozenVent
May 1, 2009

The Boeing 737-200QC is the undisputed workhorse of the skies.

Oh yeah be mindful of the appearance poo poo. When I got my final eval, it was like "Oh so you're the best deck cadet we've ever had, but your hair looks kind of grody this morning and your shoes were dirty the other day so here's a 7/10."

They take that poo poo way too seriously. Your ability to do your job, though, not so much.

Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007


should have picked four fingers


Yeah, appearance is pretty much everything because there's small minded fuckwits on board who have been given a tiny amount of power and will do all they can to make your life hell if you don't meet their standards. You're going to love it.

xutech
Mar 4, 2011

EIIST



Are there any weird rules or unspoken customs you have to follow? I remember reading about people who worked at disneyland having all sorts of bizarre rules (no dating between mascots etc)and I wonder if you have any when working on a cruise ship.

Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007


should have picked four fingers


I could probably write a book about the social dynamics on board a cruise ship. Anyone who's worked on one knows there is a second rank structure behind the 'official' one based entirely on respect, and if you piss the wrong person off, your life becomes really, really loving difficult.

FrozenVent
May 1, 2009

The Boeing 737-200QC is the undisputed workhorse of the skies.

The wrong person is usually Filipino. Do not piss off the Filipinos.

Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007


should have picked four fingers


FV, you don't know what you're on about.
Just make sure the ratings all know that you're senior to them and they'll be happy to help you with anything you need.

FrozenVent
May 1, 2009

The Boeing 737-200QC is the undisputed workhorse of the skies.

Yeah, you're right. I apologize for my prejudiced comment.

OP, make sure the hierarchy is respected, it's the only thing keeping your average cruise ship's lower deck from turning into a zoo. You're more educated than the average cruise worker, so you can probably use the occasion to enlighten some of them.

Earwicker
Jan 6, 2003



What kind of tunes do the bands on cruise ships have to play? I'm guessing top 40 hits from the 70's and 80's and a few jazz standards?

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FrozenVent
May 1, 2009

The Boeing 737-200QC is the undisputed workhorse of the skies.

As far as I can recall, yeah, plus some more modern stuff.

The main theater shows, at least the bits I saw, were all show tunes type stuff.

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