Life on a ship continues. Our time aboard the first grand class ship came in two waves. One was over Christmas. The two of us had only one another to spend the holidays with (we had shows on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve in 2016. Being the extremely social people we are, we made fast friends with passengers and crew members (namely entertainment personnel: production vocalists, dancers, band members, etc) alike. It is bittersweet to spend the holidays with strangers. Of course, we missed our friends and family back home, but you really get to know people well and feel close to them when you’re all in the same boat. No pun intended. Truth is, very few had family or even loved ones to spend the holidays with. Most people worked just like we did. The moments we had together, even in all of our anonymity were quite precious. When it came time for our second run to Hawaii on the same ship, we felt like we were coming home to spend time with our friends. The theatre on the this particular ship was all bells and whistles with giant LED screens and tons of media technology at our hands. We use a fair amount of media in our show and these theaters, which generally seat around 1,000 people tend to be our favorite to perform in. We can create a much more theatrical and concert-like experience for our audiences. We truly are in control of our production. We’re the producers, arrangers, performers, vendors of merchandise and managers of the production teams to make sure everything runs smoothly. We love this side of the business. There is such an education we are getting and getting paid for it at the same time.
Saturday, January 14th arrived. We were on board a much smaller ship. This ship is particularly special because it IS the ACTUAL love boat. There were 5-6 ships used to film the TV show, however this was the last one they used to film it on. It had a romantic sense about it with only 600+ passengers. Some are on a 111 day World Cruise that started in Ft. Lauderdale and ends in Ft. Laurderdale. That’s not before it passes through Aruba, Columbia, The Panama Canal, Central America, Mexico, The West Coast, Hawaii; on to Australia and New Zealand, Tahiti, Papa New Guinea, Bora Bora, Taiwan, China, Singapore, Thailand, India, Dubai, Jordan, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Croatia, Malta, Morocco, Portugal and Bermuda. There’s a reason they call it a world cruise. 111 days. Imagine that. When we first started this performance life, I used to think people were crazy who wanted to spend that much time on a ship, but you’d be shocked at how quickly the time goes here. This ship really is romantic and very special in the way it’s laid out. It is terribly quaint and quite beautiful. There is a much greater sense of community and personal attention on this size ship than on the mega-sized ships. The entertainment areas often feel like you’re in someones victorian living room rather than a menacing atrium of a shopping mall. The staff seem to genuinely like their work and the passengers, even at this point, 11 days in seem to know and (mostly) like each other.
Every ship has safety rules for obvious reasons. Down below the passenger areas is a long corridor that is lit with generic lighting and resembles a bustling hospital. People of all sorts are ferociously making their way from one point on the ship to another through these corridors: captains, room stewards, room service attendants, nurses, doctors, engineers, chefs, servers, bartenders, janitors. Many doors lead to places that are forbidden to go into by certain ranks. Safety signs don every wall covering everything from hygiene to injury. It is not uncommon for ships to break out in noro-virus or other contagious rages of viral infections. At this point, the infected be they crew persons or passengers are quarantined to their rooms in order to prevent the spread of illness.
Needless to say, James and I are enjoying our time out on the seas. You really DO get to see beauty from vantage points that you just don’t get anywhere else. It’s a great way for us to expand our brand on a global level: We’re picking up new fans from all over the world. We enjoy the challenge of guiding our accompanying bands through our show music with only an hour-90 minutes allotted for rehearsal. We enjoy the performance aspect the most of course— and the food. There are some drawbacks, of course: very limited internet, limited practice spaces. This is one of the major reasons we broke down and got ourselves an apartment in Vegas; because life on a ship isn’t really life at all. It’s more like a working vacation.