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..... ;)