Music Industry

Published on July 7th, 2018 | by Alan Cross


So you want to be a cruise ship musician, do you?

A gig as a musician n a cruise ship? That sounds like fun. Or is it? has this look at what it’s really like to be trapped on a big boat with a bunch of tourists.

As temperatures climbed and humidity rose this past week in Toronto, my disdain for air conditioning returned with a vengeance. I’m a ‘windows open’ guy, especially at night. I truly think it’s ancestral. If I were to locate through some DNA search primitive ancestors, I’m certain they would have lived outdoors amongst the ferns and fishes. Any thought of living beneath ground, a cave or an enclosed shelter absent windows, would have been an anxiety-weighted existence.

The bedroom air conditioner is a necessity and is now installed; the room sealed tight like a stationary elevator and, when turned on, the eco-friendly container blows a cold wind much like an arctic front. That was cool the first 20 minutes or so, but then I relapsed into a frightful memory and spent six surreal hours chasing a deep satisfying breath. This is a serious head thing for me when it returns. That moment when anxiety materializes courtesy an incident nearly twenty years ago when I took a nine-week gig on a cruise ship called the M.S. Sundream sailing around the Caribbean Sea.

I wanted the experience. An ex-jazz DJ was booking and looking for a pianist and sold me on the adventure. I won’t go into details other than, in the end, the pay didn’t add up, and the guy wasn’t clear about the mental capacity of my lounge working partner.

I was locked away with this Romanian diva who marched about like a perfumed duck, barking orders and imposing her CD on every mark.

We played the Midnight Lounge 5 – 6 pm. Then 7:30 to 8:30 before the disco crowd arrives.

Let’s call her ‘Sea Princess’.

You gotta keep reading.


About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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