Cruise Ship Gigs - What You Need To Know

doing gigs gear Feb 23, 2023

Drumming on Cruise Ships: A Versatile and Exciting Gig

Drumming on cruise ships is a unique and exciting opportunity for drummers who are looking to expand their musical horizons and see the world. Cruise ships offer a diverse range of entertainment options, including rock, pop, jazz, Latin, Broadway, and more. Drummers who are interested in working on cruise ships need to be versatile across all genres, great at reading charts, quick to learn shows, and able to back a variety of entertainers.

In this article, we will explore what it takes to become a drummer on a cruise ship, what the job entails, and where the ships go.

Job Description

Drummers who work on cruise ships are responsible for providing live music for a variety of entertainment options, including stage shows, cabarets, jazz sets, rock shows, and more. They must be able to play a variety of styles and genres, often in a single set. Additionally, they must be able to learn new shows quickly, as they may have only one or no rehearsals before a performance.

Drummers on cruise ships also back a variety of entertainers, including singers, dancers, comedians, and other performers. They must be able to follow the lead of the performers, and adjust their playing accordingly. This requires a high level of musicianship and the ability to think on one's feet.

Contract Length and Pay

The length of a contract for a drummer on a cruise ship can vary, but it typically ranges from three to six months. Some cruise lines may offer shorter or longer contracts, depending on the itinerary and schedule.

Pay for drummers on cruise ships can also vary, but it is typically competitive with other live music gigs. Some cruise lines may offer a guaranteed salary, while others offer a salary plus tips. In addition to pay, drummers on cruise ships receive room and board, as well as transportation to and from the ship.

Cruise Ship Agents

Drummers who are interested in working on cruise ships should consider working with an agent who specializes in entertainment on cruise ships. These agents work with cruise lines to fill positions for musicians, dancers, singers, and other performers.

One of the top cruise ship entertainment agencies is Proship Entertainment. This agency has been providing entertainment services for cruise lines for over 30 years, and works with some of the top cruise lines in the world, including Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Carnival Cruise Line. Proship Entertainment is known for its high level of professionalism and its commitment to finding the right fit for each performer.

Cruise Ship Itineraries

Cruise ships travel to destinations all over the world, including Europe, the United States, Asia, Australia, and more. Some of the most popular cruise ship itineraries include:

  1. Mediterranean: This itinerary typically includes stops in Italy, Greece, Spain, and other countries around the Mediterranean Sea. Drummers who work on Mediterranean cruises may have the opportunity to perform for a variety of different audiences, including tourists and locals.

  2. Caribbean: The Caribbean is one of the most popular cruise ship destinations in the world. This itinerary typically includes stops in the Bahamas, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and other islands in the Caribbean Sea. Drummers who work on Caribbean cruises may have the opportunity to play a variety of styles, including reggae, salsa, and calypso.

  3. Alaska: Alaska cruises offer a unique opportunity to see some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the world. This itinerary typically includes stops in cities such as Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. Drummers who work on Alaska cruises may have the opportunity to play a variety of styles, including country, rock, and pop.

  4. Asia: Asia is an In addition to playing shows, drummers on cruise ships also participate in other onboard activities such as jam sessions, open mics, and even lessons or workshops for guests. These activities not only provide entertainment for guests but also give the drummers an opportunity to showcase their skills and interact with guests.

    Contracts for cruise ship drummers can vary in length, with some contracts lasting anywhere from a few months to a year or more. The length of the contract can depend on a variety of factors such as the itinerary, the size of the ship, and the specific needs of the cruise line. However, regardless of contract length, drummers on cruise ships can expect to work long hours, often performing multiple shows per day, with little time off in between.

    To find gigs on cruise ships, drummers can work with entertainment agencies that specialize in placing musicians on cruise ships. One such agency is Proship Entertainment, which provides entertainment services to major cruise lines including Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian Cruise Line. Proship Entertainment and other similar agencies typically require applicants to have a strong background in multiple genres, excellent sight-reading skills, and experience playing with a variety of ensembles.

    In terms of destinations, cruise ship itineraries can vary greatly, with ships traveling all around the world to places like the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, Asia, and beyond. This can provide drummers with an opportunity to see the world while getting paid to play music.

    In conclusion, drumming on cruise ships can be a unique and exciting opportunity for musicians who are versatile, skilled, and able to adapt to a variety of musical styles and settings. With the right experience and connections, drummers can find work with major cruise lines and travel the world while doing what they love. However, it's important to be prepared for the challenges and demands that come with the job, including long hours and the need to be quick on your feet when it comes to learning and performing new material.

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