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#492593 - 01/02/08 02:05 AM cruise ships
Candywoman Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 1010
Has anybody here got any experience playing piano on cruise ships?

Please tell me all you know about the experience. How many hours did you play per week? Was there a second piano you could practice on in a practice room?

What were the food and working conditions like?

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#492594 - 01/02/08 08:41 AM Re: cruise ships
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012

Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 18116
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
candyman, you may want to try posting this on the nonclassical forum, because I remember somebody posting there once about playing on a cruise ship. But danged if I can remember who it was... Tom K, maybe???
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
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#492595 - 01/02/08 09:59 AM Re: cruise ships
argerichfan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 9313
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
I had an acquaintance who played on a cruise ship once. He was so distraught about his lack of tips and attention that late one night he tossed three deck chairs overboard.

And it seems to me that I posted this on another thread about cruise ships... but danged if I can remember where or when.

#492596 - 01/02/08 10:30 AM Re: cruise ships
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 2618
Loc: Geneva, Switzerland
...late one night he tossed three deck chairs overboard.

Not unoccupied ones, I hope ;\)

-Michael B.
There are two rules to success in life: Rule #1. Don't tell people everything you know.

#492597 - 01/02/08 10:43 AM Re: cruise ships
Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/30/07
Posts: 290
Loc: Massachusetts
I know a trumpet player that did about 5 years worth of cruising, and then a trombonist that did one short contract.

The trumpet player loved the money (even though it doesn't seem like much, expenses are low, and no income tax for US citizen) and from what he told me, he was able to save far more than I did, even though I had a much higher paying job.

The trombonist didn't like it so much. He couldn't find a time or a place to practice (maybe piano would be different -- certainly you could bring on an electronic keyboard and use headphones). He also said that for passengers, there is a specific home port, but for a crew member it all blends together. Miami, for example, is just a six-hour stop during the week.

#492598 - 01/02/08 10:47 AM Re: cruise ships
argerichfan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 9313
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally posted by PoStTeNeBrAsLuX:

Not unoccupied ones, I hope ;\)

Didn't you mean occupied ones? Considering the reported "girth" of the typical cruise passenger, tossing a deck chair overboard containing an occupant could require a crane. \:D

#492599 - 01/02/08 10:58 AM Re: cruise ships
Piano World Offline

Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 6071
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
It seems most of the cruise lines are shifting to electonic pianos.

My sister used to work for Holland America and took me on a tour of one of their biggest cruise ships. There were a number of pianos that looked like baby grands, until you looked closely.

They were actually electronic pianos in a baby grand shaped case.
Makes sense when you think about it. They don't need to be tuned and their "strings" won't rust.

A couple of years ago I tried to organize a Piano Forums Cruise. I was hoping we could use a piano on the ship for members to play, and could cruise to somewhere that we could tour piano places (piano factories, piano stores, composers pianos, etc.).

Of course the primary advantage to playing on board is getting to travel to exotic places for free.

Sorry, didn't mean to ramble on.
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#492600 - 01/02/08 12:21 PM Re: cruise ships
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1733
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
Frank B., I'm surprised cruise ships are going electric. I mean, with all those lavish expenses, you'd think they can spare money for a decent grand or two, along with maintenance costs.
More than a decade ago I went on board the QE2 when it was docked, and was fortunate enough to play on two wonderful grands that were on board -- one of them used to be on board the original Queen Mary! I hope the QE2 still has those instruments on board.
Die Krebs gehn zurücke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.

#492601 - 01/03/08 09:42 AM Re: cruise ships
Jamie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 88
Loc: Mt. Pearl, NL, Ca
I've cruised twice with Holland America in the last two years. In both cases, there was a mix of digital and acoustic pianos. As Frank stated, the digitals were craftily disguised in grand piano cases.

In both cases where I cruised, though, there were only a couple of digitals. I'd say there were around half a dozen pianos in total on board. The main dining room had a semi-concert grand (with disclavier, probably a Yamaha C7), the main theatre and show stage had a full concert grand, and the piano bar had a baby grand. There was also another lounge and coffee bar that had a semi-concert grand (I know that one was a C5). The dance club had a digital, and night club in the loft had a digital.

Due to the arrangements with the musicians, and the constant threat of virus contamination such as Norwalk (sp?), cruise staff are generally not fussy about passengers playing the instruments (as I learned for myself \:\( ). In the case of the two vessel's I cruised, the acoustics were all Yamahas. The digitals were a custom made job, the manufacturer's name I don't recall, but it's one not normally associated with off the shelf digitals.

#492602 - 01/03/08 09:56 AM Re: cruise ships
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10770
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
I know a trumpet player that did about 5 years worth of cruising
I suspect most decent trumpet players would spend most of their waking hours cruising .....

Oh, you mean cruise SHIPS. Ahhhh ..... ;\)

We spent a week in St. John this past summer. We spent the nights on terra firma, i.e. a hotel, not a ship, though our days were mostly aquatic. A lot of the attractions are underwater, after all. Pardon me, I ramble.

The hotel (Westin) actually had an acoustic piano in the main restaurant. It was a nice sized Kawai. With just a tad of pushing, Piano*Son asked if he could play it during dinner. He expected a curt, "you want to do what? No! that might upset our diners ...." Instead, they shut off the muzac and let him go. Fifteen minutes later he came back to the table. His report .... Caribbean pianos are suboptimal. Well, I don't think he used that word. Maybe it was "they suck." He said it was way out of tune and the action was inconsistent and a bit sticky. The poor thing lived in an open air swamp, essentially.

I can easily understand why cruise ships would move away from acoustics. There is probably no positive return on the investment. A huge percent of the clientele wouldn't know the difference, or care, and the maintenance and depreciation is a killer.

Oh, BTW, the restaurant brought us a full set of desserts as a tip.

[Pardon me if I've told this story before. I'm getting older. What can I say!]

#492603 - 01/03/08 10:48 AM Re: cruise ships
Tavner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/01
Posts: 376
Loc: San Diego
I just returned from a cruise on one of the larger Holland American ships. As described above, there was a mix of acoustic and digital pianos. The digital brand has the name "Slam Grand" on the fallboard. Why the silly name is beyond me; maybe it would appeal to Jerry Lee Lewis?

The sound of the digital grands was pretty bad. I felt sorry for one of the pianists who actually tried to play some interesting arrangements, but the effect was disappointing because of the whiny sound. There was what looked like to be a Yamaha concert grand in the theater. Unfortunately, I had to sit through 2 shows by an "artist" (who will go nameless) who pummeled the audience with his tedious, 1000-notes-too-many arrangements of pop songs. I'm sorry, when someone has to resort to glissandi with both hands up and down the keyboard multiple times during the same piece then I totally lose interest.

#492604 - 01/03/08 01:56 PM Re: cruise ships
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 2618
Loc: Geneva, Switzerland
Jason (re tossed deck-chairs):
Didn't you mean occupied ones?

Nope. I was hoping that he did not miss a great opportunity ;\)

Considering the reported "girth" of the typical cruise passenger, tossing a deck chair overboard containing an occupant could require a crane \:D

There is that. Then again no-one has ever got anywhere in this world without a little bit of effort from time to time ;\)

-Michael B.
There are two rules to success in life: Rule #1. Don't tell people everything you know.


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