I’m starting to feel more comfortable. Actually, I’m loving it. This is great and I feel so lucky to be on the ship playing music. I’ve been e-mailing with UNI, and apparently my diploma will be in the mail in a couple days. I can’t wait to be officially done with all the business side of school. I have a friend on the ship who paid off all his school loans by working on ships and he’s only 25. I’m not sure I will stay on for so many years, but I definitely want to do another contract. Next year this ship will switch places with one called the Brilliance of the Seas, and the new itinerary will include places like Barcelona, Cannes, Florence/Pisa, Rome, Athens, Ephesus (Turkey!), Crete (Greece!), Naples, Santorini, Venice, Split (Croatia!), Koper (Slovenia!), and even Alexandria (Egypt!!!!) and Dubai! There will supposedly be overnights in Venice sometimes, and on those days the band automatically has the night off. How wonderful would that be?????
Right now I’m in Antigua with Simon, Doug, and Brian (Doug does sound and Brian is stage staff). We went to a pizza place called Big Banana for lunch, and now we’re doing internet at a casino. I don’t think I could ever be a gambler. The sounds of the machines are so annoying! But I will take free internet if I can get it, so I guess I shouldn’t really complain.
The shows have been going so much better lately! I’m getting into the swing of things too. Each week we have a welcome aboard show, then Stage to Screen (tricky West Side Story bit), guest entertainer (changes each week), jazz set (with singers…slightly cheesy, but to de-cheesify we have added an instrumental jazz bit after where we can play whatever we want), Vibeology, another guest entertainer (I think tomorrow we’ll have a group called Motown Live…should be fun! Motown basslines are fun to play), and then the farewell show. Most of our days are free. We’ll occasionally have a rehearsal, but that’s only when a bunch of new people are in the band. Usually it’s just a short sound check and the shows at night. We’re getting a new trumpet player today, and it will be another woman! I think she’s 25 and from the States, but I haven’t met her yet. I guess when one of the cruise staff guys signs off on Sunday we might get to live together in the musicians’ hallway. There are bigger rooms and it would be so convenient to be by the schedule and the rest of the musos.
I think I’ve experienced all the types of drills that I respond to. During my first week we had a “Bravo” Drill, and it took place on my second day onboard for the big US Coast Guard Inspection that happens once a year. “Bravo Bravo Bravo” means there’s a fire, so we all get our life jackets on and go to our muster stations. Last week we had a big “Charlie” Drill, which means there’s a security threat. For those drills I just report to the theater and help search with other people. Another type of drill is an “Alpha” drill, and that means that there’s been a medical emergency, so I don’t do anything for that. The last type is called “Oscar,” and that means there’s a man overboard. I don’t do anything specific for that one, but during any of the drills if they blast seven short one long I have to go to my muster station. I think I’m finally getting everything straight!
I went to the beach last week in Aruba and this week in Barbados again. No more sunburn!! Yeahhhhhhh man I’m beating the Caribbean sun! I just bought stronger stuff and applied every two seconds. Tomorrow I get to go to the beach in St. Maarten! I didn’t get to get off the ship last time we were in St. Maarten, but it’s supposed to be gorgeous. I’m going with some of the spa girls to Airport beach. Apparently it’s smaller than some of the others and right by the airport so the airplanes come really low over your head. In St. Croix on Saturday I’ll hopefully be able to do some calling to people in the States. Let me know if certain times are better than others!