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.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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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