Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Musical Compilation

okay now that im back in California where there is REAL INTERNET i have a little time to upload some stuff.... and sort through videos i took with my new HD camera the Kodak ZI8 (which kicks the HD flip's butt.....)

Here's a few clips from some of the shows we performed in the Showband, also known as the Valor Orchestra.....

The biggest shows, which take the most work and rehearsal, especially for the dancers, i was not able to film, as i would have had to get permission from all the dancers, and i didnt even bother. 

heres the link:

Monday, April 26, 2010

American Lobby

The night before i left the Carnival Valor after my 3 month contract was up (April 18th) i realized that i shouldnt leave without recording a demo in the main lobby..... This demo could be used to send to agents etc. who book musicians on all cruise lines and in all parts of the world.. so i got out my new HD camera and high def audio recorder....This was the result.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Costa Maya

Occasionally the ship goes a different route for a week.  This last week went to all the ports in the opposite order and instead of Roatan Island went to Costa Maya in Mexico...  heres a quick pic.  i should have taken one in downtown on the beach too because it was very cool.........

Sunday, February 21, 2010


my new hobby on the ship is playing basketball on the top deck.   its a heck of a lot more fun than running on the treadmill which is extremely monotonous and painful...  i always get inspired to write cool stuff but dont have internet handy.  then when i get to a port with free internet im not inspired anymore.  so hopefully ill time it right soon...  ;)  right now im in miami.  heres a picture of a few other cruise ships.  At any given port you can find several cruise ships from different companies parked out at sea a bit or at the docks if there is one....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Mason's Video

For those that haven't seen it, Mason has a cool video of him walking around the ship on his Facebook page. You'll have to have a Facebook account to see it, though.


we depart miami every Sunday afternoon at about 4:30 pm after a boat drill where i have stand at "muster station f" and occasionally demonstrate to guests how to put on a life jacket....  We then sail Sunday night and all Monday, which is one of the two "sea days," until we arrive in Grand Cayman on Tuesday morning.  After a full day in Grand Cayman we sail that evening and arrive in Roatan Island off of Honduras at about 12pm on Wednesday.  We sail from Roatan that night and arrive at Belize Thursday morning.  There is a 25 minute ride in a tender to get to Belize, as we park the ship a few miles from shore.  We leave Belize Thursday night and arrive in Cozumel Friday morning.  Then we leave Cozumel and have another sea day on saturday before returning to Miami Sunday morning.  The schedule repeats for my 13 weeks. 

heres my music schedule:

Sunday:  Intro show with comedian 10:30pm

Monday:  5-6pm jazz set by the casino for "formal night".  7 and 8:45 shows ("Night Club Express) and   late night jazz set in the "Winston Cigar Bar"

Tuesday:  2 shows (7 and 8:45pm) of juggler followed by a comedian

Wednesday: off.....   ;)

Thursday:  2 show (7 and 8:45pm) of the singers and dancers' favorite show:  "Far from over" which is highlights from the 80s....   lots of synth stuff for me....

Friday:  typically a Comedian with 2 shows at 7 and 9pm.  Although this week we had a "fly on" Motown act that we had a rehearsal for at 3:30 pm

Saturday:  8pm country show featuring our lead dancer guy.  Its actually a cool show and get two piano solos, one with just me and the singer and the spotlight is on me.  I even have to take a bow when its done...  then there is the "Carnival Legends" show at 10:30 where different guests that have won the karoake contest get to perform and dress up as different famous singers.  This week "Frank Sinatra" was the best.  Last week it was garth brooks.  This is a fun show.


the ship stopped mysteriously last night a couple hours after we left Cozumel.  No one knew what was happening as we seemed to be turning around.  I went to deck 7 forward (right below the captains lookout) which has the best view.  We had turned around and were moving very slowly.  Both spotlights were shining semi-frantically and i thought oh no! someone had fell off the ship....  There is a code for this that employess learn, its called "bravo bravo."  I never heard this code, but still it seemed thats what was going on.  I saw where there light was shining and didnt see a distinct person anywhere.  But then someone else watching by me pointed out a small flashing light in the distance..  and then i realized there was a boat...  A small boat had capsized and i found out later this man was in bad shape.  He probably would not have survived much longer..  unfortunately my 8pm show was starting in the Ivanhoe Theater so i couldnt watch the rescue boat go out and retrieve the guy....  dang it!  here is picture of the stormy waters that night....

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

grand cayman

walked the whole 7 mile beach of grand cayman today.....  They say the weather here is pretty much the same year-round...  except winter is a little nicer because there is more of a breeze.....   Grand Cayman is a British territory and walking around the streets keeps throwing me off... i almost get hit every time because of the cars coming from the wrong direction on each side of the street...  :(

i took the first "tender" this morning and left the ship at around 7:30am so i have all day to walk the whole "7 mile beach" where "The Firm" was filmed...   The library here has free internet and computers..  I hope this will be my last boring post without pictures because i have nearly solved the internet/computer/phone/uploading pictures dillema...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

phone woes

all the pictures i have taken so far with my motorolla phone are untransferable to any computer i have attempted to use... thus i am switching to my old phone which i luckily brought along..... i just took a couple pictures of the internet place in miami... woohoo how exciting that i will try to upload and see if it works....

Sunday, January 31, 2010

setting records...

i have been averaging about 4 dinners per night. And i might be in the Guinness Book of Carnival Records for most calories consumed in the first two weeks of a contract. There is just so much food at all hours of the day and night, plus rad desserts that its hard to resist. Plus, i may have one of the absolute easiest jobs on the whole ship, which has the most free time... what else am i going to do. Yep all those 17 pounds i lost to get ready for the beaches may be back on already....

I was talking to the ship magician (yep every carnival ship has a magician...) and another cook from India who had just got done with his 16 hour work day, and was just having his dinner at about 1am. He asked me what time i had my dinner...... i said, "5pm, 6pm, 8pm, 10pm, and 1am." I am setting records and am quite famous for pigging out. Last night there was ribs again in the crew mess hall that they brought down from upstairs on level 9 "lido deck" where the guests eat. (staff can eat there most breakfasts and lunches at certain hours as well....). So i had a simple low-cal 4th dinner of 3 ribs, a slice of pepperoni pizza, two bowls of fries, one piece of chocolate pie, a half slice of chocolate cake (i had to at least try it out...) chicken with some sort of asian glaze on it, plus a pear for health.

zero to obese: one contract.... oh yeah baby ;)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"port manning"

i have port manning this week.... meaning i cant leave the ship on the port days. on this 7 day cruise that i am repeating 13 times in 3 months, we stop at 4 ports:

Grand Cayman
Roatan Island off of Honduras
Cozemel, and

i am glad that i checked out each one the first week, because of being stuck this week... for instance, i went against the advice of Carnival and rented a scooter in Cozemel and rode around the coast of the island. That was fun, except the first scooter i had broke down about 20 minutes out of town. Luckily a police type truck pulled right over and gave my scooter and i a ride back to the place i got it. i wasnt going to rent one but after walking a ways where you first get off the ship, after about a thousand people asked me if i wanted to rent one, i just said fine, if you do it for 15 bucks, which i heard a girl say she rented one for... The second scooter worked fine and it was fun.. i finally made it to "playa bonita" which the scooter guy said was cool....

i have been averaging about 3-5 dinners per night, and have most likely gained back the weight i lost in the last few months trying to get ready for "the beaches".. The white sanded 7 mile beach in grand cayman really was cool...

i hope to upload pictures soon somehow, but it may mean buying a laptop and having it shipped first....

Saturday, January 23, 2010

tons of nationalities

my friend the bass player puts the nationalities on the crew and staff in this order:

1) Philippines
2) Russia
3) Indonesia
4) Thailand
5) Italian

The only Americans are in the entertainment department and there are only a handful. Even the people you think are americans turn out to be canadians....... And yes, they all sit in their own tables in the crew mess hall speaking their own languages during dinner, and no i cant understand a word of it unless its spanish......


well im here and ran out of money after the $50 luggage fee for a suitcase over 50 pounds. Last time i went on a flight, there was free food on the plane and suitcases were checked in for free... well guess that changed....

anyway, my typical schedule is nights, however some days there are rehearsals and the first week was spent in several hour long orientation things during the day...

the gigs are cool, and the "Ivanhoe Theatre" is packed each night. We play in the band "pit" which is often lowered, raised, turned around, and moved back and forth on the stage even during the show, and occasionally even during a song we are playing. the charts are long and go so fast between that i have stack them up in order on my double music stand and pull off each series of 3 to 6 page sections of music quickly so i can read the one behind it. In the band is a trumpet, a trombone, drums, a keyboard (played by me), a bass, an electric guitar (played by my roommate, a polish guy named Sebastian), and a saxophone (who is Pete, the band leader and music director in charge of all the musical acts on the ship.)

The ship is huge, and has a 24 hour pizza place, which is about all you need to know for now.... my internet time is running out and i wont get paid for another week plus so i guess i'll save some more info for next time... if anyone really is reading this... ;)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I'm Here

Posted by Mason on his Facebook page:

Internet is slow as nostrils here and, seeing as I didnt bring enough money and don't get paid for two weeks, I'm milking the internet card i bought for 20 bucks. There are supposedly free or almost free internet spots on the ports we are stopping at. When I find them I plan to internet it up. This satellite internet thing, though, is hecka slow, including uploading some pics i took and putting them on the blog.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mason's Itinerary?

Well, here's the itinerary of the ship Mason is on, I think. He should be getting towards the end of his first day at sea right now. Tomorrow he should be in the Cayman Islands, then Belize and Mexico. Back to Miami on Sunday.

It looks like that ship does the same run over and over again. So, it looks like Mason will be doing the same route until April.

What...No Posts Yet?

I suppose it would be a bit optimistic to think Mason would be telling us what was going on right away. I would imagine the first few days might be a bit hectic. I was thinking internet access might be iffy, too, since he doesn't have his own laptop.

A search of the Carnival Cruise Lines web site, though, shows most ships have public internet access of one kind or another. Some ships even have internet cafe's. Still, it wouldn't surprise me if he had to wait in line to get to a computer. And they do charge for time.

Not sure if crew and entertainers get a special deal on internet access, or not. We'll just have to be patient and wait for him to get to a computer.

Addendum: I know the passenger price for internet service is relatively pricey, but I wondered about cell phones? Mason could probably text message from his cell phone if service is available.

Looking at the FAQ page again, I see the phones in passenger rooms can be used to call the U.S. Price is $6.99(!) per minute, though. Cell phone service is available on the ship, but calls are charged at international roaming fees. Not sure how much those fees are but I'm sure they're up there. Not something you could do a lot of without going broke.

I'm guessing his best bet would be internet service, especially if he could compose posts for this blog offline, somehow, and then get an internet connection and quickly copy and paste them to the blog. Just my best guess, but I would also think any computer time he pays for is charged as online time (DSL or satellite). I'm thinking the best he might be able to do is get a computer, write up and upload a post as quick as he can, then log off.

Then again, maybe crew members get a special deal?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


well the piano player on the carnival dream who wanted to extend has now decided not to want to extend so im back on the carnival dream at the time i was originally scheduled. lol.

so heres the re-updated schedule:

Carnival Valor Jan17-apr18
Carnival Dream May15-aug14

after this i'll decide what cruises to do next. but knowing my boss Padraic im sure he'll have some cruise he'll want me to fill in for so im sure the next ones will be booked quick... ;)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

updated schedule

just talked to my boss Padraic, who is in charge of all the showbands on the 23 Carnival ships, and got an updated schedule.

I will be on these ships on the following dates....

Carnival Valor Jan17-Apr18
Carnival Inspiration May17-Aug14
Carnival Dream Aug28-Dec4

yo wassup

well fred thinks i should tell u how i got this job.... any way i played a wedding in eureka and after not getting paid it made me realize that i'll never make enough money musically to survive in eureka alone. My friend Merrill had always said i should play on a cruise ship.. so after the wedding and not getting paid, and then a few weeks later STILL not getting paid i applied online to Carnival, Princess, and The most extensive interview process was However the job i got first was with Carnival and since they paid a bit more than (which works with several major cruise lines...) i opted for Carnival. Plus perhaps not every single person on Carnival will be a geezer since the ships are aimed at younger people and kids i thought it might be a bit more fun... I was so busy with the interview process with proship and carnival that i never even replied back to the email from Princess wanting my set list of songs i could play. In fact, during the scheduled time of my first phone and play interview with Carnival, i was talking to Andre from proship on the phone and had my mom tell Padraic from Carnival to call me back. Luckily he did, and i got the gig even though i was late for the interview.... ;)

So here goes.. i leave on Saturday at 6am and it is tuesday now.. i have been having a boatload of gigs lately so hopefully i will be in good playing shape. Oh yeah, the interview process: They email you music exactly one hour before they call you. so you have to print it out and only get a few minutes to look at it and then you have to play it for them when they call. In the case of proship, you have to video yourself playing it as well and talk to them on the phone. Plus proship had me learn and video a bunch more stuff after the phone call and send it in later, which honestly was a slight nightmare. Because of the ancientness of my dads video camera, it took me several hours to figure out how to convert the files, which first of all werent even showing up on the camera... :(

The highlight of that experience was that i picked Lovesong by Sarah Bareilles which my sister Joelle sang and we sent that in as one of the bazillion types of songs they asked me to record. And then there was the episode of having to download mp3s of the songs proship sent me and convert those to wav files, burn them to a disc, and play them on a cdplayer loud enough to be heard over the piano. The ONLY one in my parents house where the piano is, is my dad's karaoke machine. Problem: although it was plenty loud, everything was a HALF STEP off! so after converting the mp3 files, burning the disc, printing out the sheet music with my parents ancient and slow printer with paper getting constantly jammed, it took me the last few minutes of my hour "practice time" to get the karaoke machine to play in the right key. So basically i bombed the wacky time-signature-changing-key-signature-changing blazing fast jazz charts they sent, because i had about 4 milliseconds to look at them before the phone rang... ;)

The carnival interview was a lot easier. Even though i thought i flunked it, Padraic said i passed.. whew..... ;)