Working as a Cruise Ship Musician – What It’s Really Like
Who wouldn’t love to work as a full-time musician while having the opportunity to travel all around the world and visit exciting, exotic places?
The chance of having a steady job in a setting as peculiar (and luxurious) as a cruise ship attracts thousands of musicians, who apply to become part of a ship crew.
However, as glamorous and exciting as this opportunity sounds, not everyone has the right skills and personalities to embark on such a journey.
In this article, we’ll see what requirements you should have to apply for this kind of job and what you should expect when that job is yours.
Are you the right fit?
When considering applying for a cruise job you have to be realistic and honestly assess your skills.
First of all, on cruise ships, there are many different gigs available for musicians.
A classic option is joining the house orchestra or showband, but soloists, acoustic duos and trios, even party bands are often requested for different kind of shows in different settings.
Cruise ships often have bars, restaurants, halls, and a house theatre, places where music is constantly requested to entertain the clients.
Due to this variety of positions, the requirements can vary a lot. Generally, you should be able to improvise and take any requests from customers, no matter if you’re the first violin in the house orchestra or a soloist pianist in a restaurant.
If you are applying for orchestral jobs, in particular, you must be able to sightread as new tunes can be added to the repertoire with virtually no notice.
Formal education is usually not required, but you must be very good at your instrument and have sharp musicianship skills.
On top of excellent musical qualities, you will also need very good people skills as you will have to deal with many customers and many other workers in your team.
You should always look and act professional, be available and responsive, be flexible and ready to face sudden changes.
Lifestyle on board
Life on a cruise ship can be exciting, but also quite peculiar.
You will meet many interesting people and work closely with other talented artists. You’ll have the opportunity to travel around the world and see new places.
However, some companies have strict rules concerning the behavior of their staff. Employees often have areas, such as bars and gyms, reserved to them and cannot hang out where the clients are. Rooms are often shared with other workers, almost always strangers and usually talking a different language than yours.
Working hours are often long but flexible, depending on your position and shifts. You may also be required to attend safety drills and you should comply with safety rules at all times.
How long will I be embarked and how much will I get paid?
Contracts can vary a lot in terms of length. Depending on the kind of show you are assigned to, you could be booked for as little as a few weeks or as long as six months.
Cruise jobs usually pay well. You can earn a few thousand bucks a month (on average between $2000 and $3000) and you won’t have many expenses because food, accommodation, and transfers from your home to the port will be covered by the company.
Tips and tricks
The cruise entertainment industry is quite hectic. After applying for a job, you might receive an offer with very little notice.
This means you should always be available, respond quickly, and be prepared to leave as soon as the company needs you.
For this reason, this kind of job may be more suitable for single people. Also, it might be better not to apply if you are working at another project (such as an album or a tour).
If you get a job as a cruise ship musician but still need to get back home within a certain amount of time, make sure to check how long the contract will last before accepting the offer.
Life onboard can be difficult, but working as a musician on a cruise ship can be a one-of-a-kind experience.
You might even improve your musicianship skills and grow as an artist, as you’ll have to face challenges and learn how to think and act quickly.
For more information about this kind of job, you can visit useful websites and blogs, such as CruiseJobFinder.
For other tips and more details about the requirements needed to work on a cruise ship, simply visit the “Work With Us” section of any cruise company you can think of.
You might also want to consider joining an agency specialized in this kind of work. They will be able to assist you at every stage of your application.