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Week Before Last

**DISCLAIMER**: The views expressed in this blog are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer!




01/06

Today we are at sea. It’s a fairly nice day out. I had breakfast and practiced my Ain’t Misbehavin’ stuff, then walked around on deck a bit. I downloaded a new book yesterday but it turns out it’s only 600 pages, so I’m rationing it haha.

It was a pretty average day. I had a nice lunch and opted for a nap instead of the gym. Nia gave me some Gabrieli music so I spent some time enjoying that. We had Welcome Back rehearsal and then the show, both fine. Paul has a cold but he still did both of his shows, and they were just fine. It’s worth mentioning that this was our last time playing this particular show (Paul has two Broadway shows so we’ll have one more later in the week). It felt strange to turn in our music afterward.

Tomorrow we are in Cabo as usual. There’s nothing I need there, but there’s always internet stuff to do.


01/07

Welp, so much for getting off the ship today.

Not sure if it was just me, if maybe I’m extra sensitive today or what, but it seemed to me that the sea was rougher than usual. I decided to give it a go anyway, but when I got to the tender it was bobbing up and down pretty violently. I gulped and stepped on anyway, but hadn’t counted on sitting there for as long as we did. After just a few minutes I felt dizzy, and five more minutes after that I was about to panic because we hadn’t even left the dock yet and the little boat was pitching so hard that everyone was holding onto their seats. Nope. I got up and got off.

I feel upset about it, and I can’t pinpoint if I’m upset because I’m embarrassed at how I reacted today or because I feel trapped on the ship, or simply because I’m homesick. Or maybe it’s because I checked the weather and it looks like it’s going to be another hellride on Thursday and Friday. Maybe it’s all of those things. Anyway, looks like I’m staying on board.

I just want to have “normal” sea days. I don’t want to have to dread the end of the week each and every week. But that is unrealistic, and in any case there are only a few sea days left, so I’d better suck it up.

It was an otherwise productive morning. I had breakfast, did laundry, and cleaned our cabin bathroom. I rested a bit, ate scones at tea time, and went to the gym. I even did another round of packing things since Stacey had gone ashore and I could make a mess. It begins...



We only had one show this evening, with Jamie, who is also a Princess cast member. It's been a while since we did his show so of course we felt we could have done better. Still, it was a pleasure and Jamie sounded great. Afterward we turned our music in. Another show lost to memory.

The ship was moving a great deal tonight. We have a new captain this cruise, and apparently he thinks stabilizers are for pussies. Again...I was hoping to enjoy the last two weeks here with less nausea...but instead it looks like this could become a nightly event. That's a shame. Yes, the Meclizine is a lifesaver and I'm very grateful for it. But it does have side effects. I wonder if the cruise ship industry considers that one third of the global population is susceptible to motion sickness; in other words, at any given time, 33% of your passengers are deciding whether to book their next cruise or not based on their experience. Just saying. "The views expressed in this blog do not reflect..." etc etc.


01/08

Today we had a short morning drill about Stairway Guide safety and how to speak to passengers during an emergency. Afterward I got off the ship and took the blue line path to the tourist square in Mazatlan. I'm grateful to get off the ship today. This is my last time visiting Mazatlan; next week I have IPM duty in this port.

Allegro cafe was open, so I went there. I've been giving Dulce Mami a lot of patronage and figured why not spread the love. Plus Allegro has faster wifi ;) I got a chai and got all caught up on my internet things. After several hours of applying for jobs and taking care of other business, and two cups of coffee and a muffin, I could no longer find an excuse for camping at Allegro. It was a nice day, so I wandered a bit and found some interesting places in the quiet side streets. It was a nice way to spend my last day in Mazatlan.





Elsewhere, some of the ladies were out with the Mariachis for one last meal. Tomorrow Juan and Ray will deport in Vallarta, and head home for a break before their next cruise contracts. It has been wonderful performing with these two, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot from them. And with this, the goodbyes have begun. Juan, Ray: as they say in the circus, “See you down the road”! Thank you for everything.

(photo courtesy Mario)

Back at the ship I unpacked and cleaned up before our Disco sound check. It was nice to have some chill time.

The Disco Deck Party went well. Either the sea was very calm, or someone graciously had the stabilizers on tonight. Maybe there's hope for the rest of this contract after all.


01/09

Today I woke up very early for some wifi time. I have IPM today, but Nia has kindly covered me for the morning since she'll be asleep anyway. I had a few errands to finish, including sending headshots and a bio to Winter Park Playhouse and letting the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey know I'll be back in town soon to start volunteering again. I also worked on my project-that-I-can't-tell-you-about-until-it-happens, and made plans to visit with my sister on Saturday.

I have a sore throat again. I'm very much hoping that it's just because the air on the ship is dry. Can you even get sick twice in a row???

Back at the ship I unpacked, showered, and had lunch. And a nap.

That evening we did the last of Paul’s Broadway shows. It’s amazing to think we’ve been performing with Paul for six weeks! Both shows went well. And afterward, we turned in our music. Honestly, It’s been a pleasure working with Paul. He’s been gracious, approachable, exacting, and fun. His musicianship is going to be the standard by which I judge any future guest entertainers :)

Tomorrow night Paul’s throwing us a little party in the dressing room, just to put the cherry on top of what’s been a great experience!


01/10

I slept for a long time today. It felt like my cold was coming back, so I figured extra sleep would be a good idea. Then I went to the guest buffet for a better-than-usual breakfast of smoked fish, muesli, and fruit.

We had Voice rehearsal in the afternoon, which went quickly. Afterward the ladies went up to the buffet for lunch, but having just eaten I chose not to go with them. Instead I typed this blog and did some reading. The internet is not working today and it’s kind of a bummer. It’s been pretty consistent for the past month, so I shouldn’t complain, but when you can’t say “good morning” to your boyfriend or respond to an important email that you know is waiting for you, or make plans with your sister, it’s a little frustrating. I hope it’ll be working again tonight or tomorrow.

At night we had a double dance set in the Wheelhouse. The first set featured Nia and I, for the second I sat out and Paula came in on sax. The Wheelhouse stage is small, so it’s better not to have the whole band up there. We had a great audience, lots of people got up to dance and we got a lot of compliments on our playing afterward.

When the sets were finished we went to the theater dressing room for the get-together Paul had arranged for the whole entertainment department. It was nice to share a drink and some snacks with the dancers, lighting/sound guys, cast members, and musicians. Pretty soon a lot of us will be going our separate ways, but we’ll have some great memories.


(photo courtesy Rebeca)

01/11

Still no internet again today. Argh.
Seriously, in Vallarta I actually finally got some responses from my job queries. I know that there are emails waiting in my inbox to schedule interviews. And my sister was thinking about meeting up again, and had said she’d get back to me by yesterday, but I’ve got no way of knowing what’s happening. Arrrrrgh.

That aside, the ship has been moving a great deal and it’s hard to be motivated to do anything. When the ship plunges, the gravity is crushing. And when it rises back up, it feels like you might get thrown off the ground and into a wall or something. It’s extremely uncomfortable, and even those who don’t get motion sick often get brutal headaches. My boss, who has worked ships for twenty years, was motion sick yesterday night.

Anyway, we are fortunate to only have Voice today. Because of the movement of the ship, the entertainment schedule was changed such that the production show will take place today (although I’m not sure the motion is any better for the dancers). That means Dwight’s show has been cancelled, so we ladies only have one afternoon performance.

Before the show I ate breakfast and did laundry. The show went well, there were only five contestants this week so it seemed to go quickly. And afterward, we were free for the rest of the day! How exciting! Too bad it’s a sea day haha. I took a nap and tried not to let the plunging sensation get to me.

We received a weak wifi signal sometime in there, and I managed to send a few texts and check my emails. Thankfully no one wants to do an interview this Saturday (I had offered it for phone interviews and was worried that someone would take me up on it and I wouldn’t know until it was too late). And I think my sister and I will meet up tomorrow. That would be nice.

Since we had an unexpected night off, Nia decided it might be nice to have a dinner together. We probably won't have time to do this next week. Jane made reservations for us at Crown Grill, the ship's steakhouse.

We all sat around a big table with Paul and talked about all kinds of things: how we got into music, what our plans are for the future, what's the first thing we'll do when we get home, etc. We enjoyed an AMAZING meal. I just had to get the filet mignon again, it was so good!



Full and happy, we walked back to our cabins together. Tomorrow we arrive in San Pedro for the second-to-last time.


01/12

As usual, I got off the ship early. Nia and Molly came with me as they were making a Target run. I went straight to Hojas. It was raining, and I was pretty damp by the time I got there. Kayle and Skylar are picking me up later...maybe they will let me borrow their dryer. Or a big fluffy towel!

I had my favorite Hojas sandwich, a Number 3 with no cream cheese and an egg. I skipped the tea in favor of an Americano. And I bought each of us a slice of carrot cake.

I'm sitting here typing this and feeling grateful, and excited. Grateful to have had this experience and learned so much, and met so many wonderful people. Grateful and excited for the opportunities awaiting me when I get back to Florida. Excited to see Jameson again, and to move forward with my life, in whatever direction it may lead. The past year has been very difficult, and it was hard to have a good attitude. Honestly, I'm not sure that I'm in a better position this year either. But I think that if I can actually manage to keep a positive attitude this time, that will change things. Accepting this cruise ship contract was a good idea, and I'm glad Jameson supported me and encouraged me to do it. I'm glad for everyone in my life who recognized that this was something that I should try. It's opened up my perspectives, and overall I think it's made me a better person (I mean we'll see haha). So, thank you to everyone who has supported me this far. I am extremely lucky to have you in my life!

Kayle will be coming to get me soon. It'll be good to see her again.

Tags:

Ringing in 2019

(**DISCLAIMER**: The views expressed in this blog are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer!)




12/29 cont.

Later in the afternoon Molly and Nia joined me at Hojas. Molly was annoyed because she tried to ship a package home, and had to jump through an insane amount of hoops to make it happen. While this was definitely frustrating for her, I was grateful that she’d found this out today, because I had also planned to ship a box home if needed. Sorry Molly! Thanks Molly!

Too soon it was time to head back to the ship. I packed up and enjoyed the walk back, went through security, unpacked my things, chatted with Stacey. Had a quick lunch before the drill. Did the drill, then started on some laundry. Another nice day in San Pedro.

This week the company VP is on the ship, so we’re all going to be dotting our t’s and crossing our I’s :p


12/30

Just another day at sea.
I had breakfast, then practiced “Ain’t Misbehavin’” in my stairwell. Last night before going to bed I’d listened to the first act and made lots of notes…there are stylistic things happening that are not written on the page, and I want to make sure I get them right. I’m very grateful for technology, the ability to have an entire part in front of me that I can mark and annotate without fear of permanently damaging it.



After practice I had a nice lunch and after a little digestion time I went to the gym.


12/31

Wow. Is 2018 at an end already?

It’s been…a weird year. Not my best, for certain.
I was difficult to live with. Difficult to work with. Difficult to be around. To everyone I’ve hurt or offended this year (and there are many of you), I hope you can accept my apology. Things were not going well for me, but that’s no reason to take it out on others.

2018, for me, was marked by the pain of losing my job…but as I’ve said many times, it was more than a job. It was a family, a life…practically a living thing unto itself. After five years with the circus, I thought I’d finally found a place where I belonged, and a place where I could stay. To me, losing the circus was the equivalent of the universe saying, “There is no such place.”

That was a hard pill to swallow. It was painful to think that nothing could ever compare to this experience, and the time to have and to hold it was already past. I didn’t know how to cope. When I applied for jobs, or took auditions, I had no passion for it and no goals in mind.

I got on this cruise ship at the end of the year not because I wanted to, but because I felt I had to. After applying to 300+ jobs this year, I had only heard back from a handful, and of those only one or two extended job offers. One of those was a kennel. I learned a lot working there, but I was bitter to be working entry level at base pay and my pride told me that my resume should be getting me more than this. Even when I was offered the cruise ship contract I remained bitter, thinking that this was some sort of gimmick band and the only reason I’d been recruited was because of my gender.

But Jameson encouraged me to do it. He said it might be good for me, to get away and reset. I grudgingly agreed, although I dreaded leaving him for four whole months. I was also honestly afraid…afraid to be at sea, and afraid to be out of touch with the people in my life. But in the end I said yes, and packed my things, and did it anyway, because some opportunities should not be passed up.

And I’m glad I did it. Is the ship life for me? Probably not. But the experience has been worth it, meeting some amazing musicians and learning so many new things and finding out what ship life is like. I got to do so many things that I never thought myself capable of, and I was able to grow a great deal as a musician. I am thankful to William, the trombonist who recommended me for the job, and to Doug for deciding to hire me…to Jane for being an incredible boss, to Nia and Stacey and Rebeca and Paula and Molly for being wonderful human beings and stellar musicians who have taught me so much.

Most of all, I’m grateful for the perspective that ship life has given me. There are things more valuable than income, and more important than the type of work you are doing. There are things in the future worth looking forward to. Being out here has given me time to prioritize and get some direction.

Moving forward in 2019, I already have so much to look forward to. I have a fun theater gig coming up, and THREE job interviews! I am grateful for the opportunity to interview, no matter the outcome. My sister will have her first baby, and I will be an aunt for the first time. I’ll get to visit my parents, sisters, brother, aunts, and possibly even grandparents this year, family time that has been neglected while I was touring with the circus or chasing desperately after employment. And best of all, I can look forward to another wonderful year with my Jameson, who has been my rock through all of the turmoil we’ve experienced. I feel like I can face anything when we’re together!

Anyway, these are the thoughts I’m having as 2018 draws to a close this evening. I know that many of you out there are having similar thoughts of what has been and what is to come. All the best to you in the New Year. <3

Today we are in Cabo San Lucas, and I have IPM duty. I also woke up with a scratchy throat…am I really going into the new year with a cold?! Good grief.

I spent a lot of time relaxing today in the hopes of easing whatever virus may be trying to sneak up on me. We had no performances during the day, so I spent some time reading, watching anime, writing, and napping.

Nia and Molly were also killing time, so we played a few music quiz games together. I vacuumed our cabin, and went upstairs for tea time, and chatted a bit with people online since the signal was good. As it got late I made some green tea hoping that it would keep me energized for our 11pm set, then ran through some of the music for our performance.

It was packed when we got to Explorers lounge...mostly with younger people dancing along to the track playing. When we started playing our old-school dance music, it kinda cleared the floor for the older folks (don't worry, there was a DJ upstairs for the young drunks to continue their party!) Our older crowd enjoyed us so much that they kept clamoring for more, so we kept adding more and more songs! As the clock struck midnight, we paused to play Auld Lang Syne and ring in the new year. We kept playing until we ran out of songs...until after 1am!

Well...I had come down with a cold, and I was awfully tired. So I was a loser this New Year's Eve, and went straight to bed. Tough!

Tomorrow is Mazatlan. I'm hoping things will be open!


01/01/19

Wow, the first day of the new year!!

It was hard to get up this morning, but I had to do my job hunt. I want to start 2019 employed, thankyouverymuch.

I got off the ship and enjoyed a nice quiet walk to the main tourist square. It was pretty quiet, and everywhere you looked there were spent fireworks and cups and bottles, evidence of some awesome New Year's partying.



In the square I was disappointed to see that most places were closed. Allegro too. But as I rounded the corner, I heard talking and the sound of dishware. Dolce Mami was open! And they were the ONLY place open. I tried to order crepes again, but must have gotten it wrong because the server came back with pancakes. Oh what a tragedy! Hahaha. They were delicious of course :)

It was more busy here than I've ever seen it, every table was packed. I took a tiny table in an awkward location to try and stay out of the way. I think it was smart of the owner to stay open!



I didn’t stay as long as usual, partly because I didn’t want to take up space and partly because there just weren’t many jobs to apply for this soon after the holidays. I did what I could and packed up. No other coffee shops were open, so I enjoyed a leisurely walk back to the ship.

Mazatlan is probably my favorite port of the three Mexican ports we regularly visit. I like it because it’s a Real Place. Cabo San Lucas feels very “spring break”, with lots of booze everywhere and tacky tourist junk and people getting up in your face trying to sell you tours or water taxis or random knick-knacks. I’ve heard Vallarta is nice in the residential areas, but you need a taxi to reach those and meanwhile in port there’s a Walmart, Sam’s Club, and a big mall…it’s my favorite port for wifi and supplies, but it’s not really all that interesting.

But Mazatlan is residential. You need to walk through real neighborhoods to get to anything touristy, and even then the tourist area is pretty small compared to the other ports. And when we were here for Christmas few businesses were open; in other words, these people value celebrating the holiday over catering to tourists. That’s so awesome. Just strolling around here makes me feel more at ease, and less like a stranger in a strange land.





Back at the ship, I went to the mess for a quick meal. I was surprised to see that once again we had a special menu for New Year’s Day! I was only a little hungry so kept it light with a halved avocado filled with baby shrimp salad, a few pieces of rainbow trout, and a small slice of panettone. Full and tired, I went back to the cabin for a quick nap.

In the evening we had a sound check and two performances of Dwight’s Motown show. It went very well, as usual. I was very tired afterward and went to bed right away. Gotta fight this cold.


01/02

Today turned out to be insanely busy. We had a crew drill in the morning which ended up lasting an hour and a half while our muster station leaders nitpicked about how we point out emergency exits. The problem wasn’t the nitpicking, it was that they opened the floor to opinions from the rest of us. So of course several people felt the need to voice their opinions, and argue, and debate…anyway, it took a lot longer than it should have. Let’s leave it at that.

By the time I was able to go ashore it was almost noon. That’s ok, I wasn’t feeling great anyway. I got to the mall and had a few hours of internet time, applied for a few jobs, and walked right back to the ship. I had a nice lunch and a shower, then tried to relax for a little while before our busy night.

First we had back to back sound checks, one for Paul’s Broadway show and the other for the Disco Deck Party. Then there was some time to eat dinner and get changed, then we did two of Paul’s shows. The second show started at 9:30, with the Disco show starting right at 10:30 up on deck 16. After Paul’s last show we had to pack up, run to our rooms, change very quickly, and get up to deck 16. Poor Paula had three or four instruments to pack up and move in addition to getting changed, so Nia and I waited for her. The whole band isn’t there until all of its members are there after all.

We arrived upstairs just in time. We don’t usually have the Disco show that late, and it was pretty clear why: the wind was INSANE. My music stand almost blew over, and the wind kept grabbing my bell and forcing me to grip my trombone tight. We all struggled to play with our hair whipping into our eyes and mouths, despite all of us tying and pinning it back. Ah well. We got through it, and there were lots of people dancing and enjoying themselves, so it ended up fine. Again, I went right to bed afterward.


01/03

I slept in today. It was needed.

I took my time waking up, but eventually got dressed and went upstairs to the guest buffet. The sea was calmer than usual this morning, and I was very grateful. I hope it lasts.



After a delicious meal and a nice chat with Jameson, I went back to the room to gather my things. I warmed up in my stairwell before heading to Voice rehearsal. Rehearsal was fine. I had lunch and some chill time, and practiced a bit before our evening shows. We did a jazz set in the piazza that went pretty well, and then the horns got to play with the Mariachis again!

The Mariachi set went well, although I think afterward we all wished we had rehearsed it one more time. It’s been a while since our first attempt, and we’d forgotten a few things. But still, the dance floor was packed, and we were happy to play with Mario, Juan, and Ray one last time. They’ll be leaving next week in Puerto Vallarta. I can’t believe it’s time for people to start parting ways already.


01/04

I was very tired today, but got up early for breakfast and did some laundry. We had Voice sound check and show in the afternoon, both of which went well. Afterward we got to enjoy a few snacks that had been brought to the dancer dressing room, that was a nice surprise! And then I took a nap. I don’t know why I’m so tired lately, but I can only guess from having a cold.

In the evening there were two jazz sets, but I was not involved in either of them. Nia and Molly suggested that we all have dinner together before the sets in the Wheelhouse. We enjoyed an awesome meal, possibly one of our last together as a group :( I had some amazing calamari sticks, a mushroom salad with a crispy poached egg on top, and some sort of amazing brandy chocolate concoction for dessert. Yum!





Both sets went well, although imo the second one went on longer than totally necessary. I recorded most of the first set...we could all use more promotional material, yes? By the time the second set finished there were only one or two guests left, and the rest were employees. We all went to bed. Stacey, who had been playing bass for almost two hours straight, was exhausted. She said her fingers were burning.


01/05

I was off the boat right away at 8am in San Pedro. I went to CVS first to buy a luggage tag and a few small toiletries to get me through the last few weeks. Then I went to Hojas of course! This is one of my last times coming here. I had the Chef's Special, ham and cheese on an everything bagel with lots of veggies and homemade chipotle sauce, yum! And I had the ginger vanilla black tea, which was delicious. Gonna miss this place!



I worked on my various online projects and my job hunt. Somewhere in there Molly joined me and we had internet time together :)

In a little while I'll have to go back to the ship. Just two weeks left.

Long Christmas Post!

12/23

Yesterday night went well. After typing the blog, I stayed at Hojas Tea House and applied for some more jobs that came up. Molly (drums) joined me for a bit. When it came time to head back to the ship I walked alone so that she could call her family.

Back on the ship I unpacked and chatted with Stacey before the passenger drill. We put on our life jackets and went to our Stairway Guide stations, making sure that passengers made their way to the Muster Stations in an orderly fashion and whatnot. This is a pretty crowded cruise, and I’ve heard that there are around 300 children on board, maybe more. Crazy!

After the drill my boss helped me to print some documents for a theater gig I’ve got after this ship contract is over. More details on that after the holidays!

Then I had a shower, took out the trash, and went to Deck 4 to claim some packages. One was my Secret Santa stuff, the other was from my sister Raven! I’m not allowed to open them until Christmas!



I had a quick dinner, then a run-through of the Christmas tree lighting ceremony music with Nia (trumpet) and Paula (sax). I had just enough time to grab my Christmas light necklace and Santa hat before heading down to the piazza to play!

We played well and had fun. We were supposed to stick around for a photo, but Nia and I forgot and ruined it. Whoops! Hopefully we can get one before the end of the week! Sorry ladies!

Today we are at sea, and it’s a pretty average day for us with the Welcome Back event and Paul Baker’s Broadway show. Jameson is flying to Chicago to spend Christmas with his parents; I sent him a few quick texts, then got my cabin ready for inspection. This time they actually came into our rooms and did real inspections (sometimes—ok usually—they just pop their head in and ask if we need anything repaired) so all of us sat in the hall to be out of their way. Poor Nia was still eating cereal, while the Mariachi guys chatted and the Argentinian ladies shared some mate.



When inspections were over I snuck my Secret Santa gifts down to Jane’s office, then killed some time before heading down to the HR office with the girls to claim our Christmas presents from Princess. The line was VERY long…but there are over a thousand employees on the ship, so we shouldn’t have been surprised!

We got a free wifi card, and this cute little mini-backpack! How nice!



After that I wanted to rest for a bit. Sleep does not always come to me easily on the ship, and some days I feel it more than others. I watched the Frosty Christmas special on my laptop and took a little nap before lunch. That gave me a little more energy, so I went to the gym.

At the Welcome Back event rehearsal, each of us found a little white box on our music stands. Inside were a set of nice headphones in blue and white, with “Princess Cruises” on one earbud and “Entertainment” on the other. There was also a note thanking us for providing great entertainment to ship guests. I was really surprised and happy to receive such a nice gift, but mostly for the “thank you”. Sometimes just an acknowledgement that you bring something valuable to your employer is enough. Thank you for that, Princess Entertainment.



Right afterward we had sound check with Paul Baker, and then his shows. They went pretty well, although personally I would have liked to play better. It was awfully cold in the theater and I think it got to me a bit, I felt stiff. Next time I’ll warm up more!

Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, we are in Cabo San Lucas. Several of the ladies are going on shore excursions for the first time! I was expecting to trade IPM duty with someone so didn’t plan anything, but that’s all right, relaxing free days are great too :) The only shows we have tomorrow are a Christmas caroling in the piazza, and a jazz set (BOOOOO) at night. We’re also going to have a gift exchange!


12/24

I woke up and had breakfast, but went right back to bed. I hadn't slept well and honestly wasn't feeling great.

About an hour later I got up again. Stacey had left for her shore excursion so I had the room to myself. I decided it was a good time to implement Phase One of packing :) I brought a lot with me for this contract, but I didn't use everything. So anything that I haven't used during my time here, or that I knew I wouldn't use in the next month, I organized and stashed in my big suitcase. It felt good to get some things out of the way!

Next, I loaded up my backpack and took a tender to shore. My boss has offered to take my IPM duty for tomorrow, Christmas Day, but I already know we have a rehearsal in the morning and I've no idea if we'll have time to go ashore. So I figured it's best to do it now. I found the cafe Stacey had shown me last time and got a giant chocolate muffin and a coffee, and just relaxed.

One huge muffin later, I was feeling a little better and decided to return to the ship for some rest. That night, being Christmas Eve and all, we had some Christmas-y shows to do!

First we had the tree lighting ceremony in the piazza. Jane (piano) and us three horns (Paula, Nia and I) opened the ceremony with some jazzy versions of classic Christmas carols! Mike (solo vocalist/guitar) was able to get some footage of our performance. Thanks Mike!

https://instagram.com/p/Br0tgoCA070
Then we had a Christmas jazz set in Adagio. We again played jazzy versions of classics like White Christmas and Winter Wonderland. We also did that Charlie Brown Christmas theme, and some jazz standards as well. Stacey (bass) made a video, hopefully I will be able to share it with you soon!

Jane gave each of us a wonderful Christmas present: a framed photo of us all together! Looking at the photo, we were all amazed to think we'd hardly known each other when the picture was taken. And now we've grown really close, and our time together is coming to an end. It's a bit sad...but I'm so happy to have made new friends in this talented, professional group of women. I am a difficult person, and I find making friends difficult. So the friendships I've made here with Paula, Rebeca, Nia, Jane, and Stacey, are very valuable to me. Thank you, ladies. It's been wonderful.

But our day wasn't over yet. Everyone had Christmas performances that night, so the only time we could have our department gift exchange was midnight! We all gathered in the musician's hallway on Deck 7 to exchange gifts!

There were wonderful handmade presents, like the painting that Ray received. And there were prudent, "easy" gifts, like the gift of money some people got. I received a very nice leather purse from Juan, one of the Mariachis. There are leather goods in many of the ports we've visited, and I've stopped to admire them several times as one of the few souvenirs I might want for myself. But it's just something I'd never buy for myself. So it was awesome that Juan went ahead and got one for me!! I ran to my room and transferred everything into it right away! Thank you Juan :)

We chose this moment to give our boss her Christmas gift: an engraved frame containing our group photo! We all had a good laugh over how we'd gotten each other essentially the same gift! Jane loved her present :) Here's a group photo taken right after we gave her her gift.



After the exchange we enjoyed wine, beer and cookies. Around 2am I was exhausted and finally rolled into bed. Merry Christmas everyone!

12/25

Today we had rehearsal for the company Christmas show at 10am. We were surprised by gifts of candy from Nia and Stacey! In addition, Nia had handmade each of us a personalized frame with a photo of our group! Mine even had a little trombone in the corner! Aren't they beautiful?



The rehearsal took longer than expected, and I could feel everyone getting stressed. But soon enough it was over, and we all went our separate ways. I had a nice breakfast in the mess while talking with my Aunt on the phone (I turned my phone data on since it's Christmas after all!). It was good to talk to her, and we planned a visit for March.

Next I went ashore in Mazatlan while FaceTiming my brother and sister Jonah and Raven. They were just hanging out at my sister Kate's house...she's a nurse and had been called in to do a liver transplant on Christmas Day. It's dissapointing that she couldn't spend Christmas with the family, but it's infinitely more awesome that she spent her Christmas saving someone's life! Way to go Kate!!

I opened the presents that Raven had sent me: some strawberry lip balm, a box of fancy chocolates, and a case with ten different kinds of looseleaf teas! I was very grateful to receive gifts on the ship, even though I'd told most people not to send any...it was nice to have a little something to open :)

We said our "Merry Christmases" and hung up. I tried calling my parents, but
they were occupied with my sister Kayle and her husband, as well as their friends on this Christmas morning! That's ok though, I had called them last night from the ship :) We wished each other a Merry Christmas. It was nice to be in touch with family today!

I went to the main square in Mazatlan, but everything was closed except for one restaurant, so I returned to the ship. I was still tired from a long Christmas Eve. I had a shower and a nap, and lunch in the crew mess. What a surprise! There was a wonderful Christmas menu that included carved turkey and steak medallions, and a HUGE Christmas cake! There was a wine station and a soda station, and the officers were serving the food! It was really very nice of Princess to make Christmas so special!






In the evening we had caroling in the piazza. Jane was supposed to do a solo piano set, but Nia was able to find horn parts, so we played along! All of the officers were there, dressed in their uniforms and Christmas hats. The dancers were there too, dressed to the nines. Guests and crew sang together. It was a lovely experience.

And then, the Christmas show! The horns played carols outside the theater...again, lots of footage was taken, so hopefully I'll have some to share with you! The main theater show featured Stanley, the Princess mascot bear, coming to life in the middle of a Christmas party. Stanley has never celebrated Christmas before, and it's up to the crew and guests to show him how people celebrate Christmas around the world! The show featured our orchestra, the Mariachis, the dancers, star vocalists, and even the children of some of the cruise guests! It was a very nice show and a lot of fun to do. Here we all are afterward with Paul Baker!



During rehearsal I took this quick shot of the set so you can see what it looked like:
https://instagram.com/p/Br0UtCZAbBa

And I HAD to get footage of these amazing dancers! I couldn't tear my eyes away from their Rockettes-style dance number. Stunning! (There are TWO clips here, use the arrow keys to the left and right of the video to navigate!)
https://instagram.com/p/Br3ClKpgirQ

Both shows went very well. Afterward we all went up to Deck 16 for a nice Christmas meal in the buffet. There were special foods, like sashimi, pumpkin gnocchi, butternut squash soup, and tender steak. There was even Yule Log for dessert! And of course, there was great company :)


Exhausted and full, I went right to bed after eating. Despite being away from home, my Princess family made this Christmas feel warm and special. Thank you all.


12/26

Today is a blessedly light day. The rhythm section has the day off! And all the horns have is the Disco Deck Party at night.

I slept in a little later than usual and it felt great. Eventually I made my way to the Vallarta mall for coffee and wifi. I spent most of my time there assembling this blog, and for once, using the internet for a little FUN. Yes, I still need a job, but nobody is posting job listings the day after Christmas! My parents had gotten me an Amazon gift card, and my sister got me an ASOS card! So I did a little shopping, downloading, and relaxing. It was great.

When I was finished I hit the Mexican Walmart for a few cleaning supplies (we’ll need to clean our cabins when we leave) and went back to the ship. I was able to do a load of laundry and eat lunch, then there was a sound check for the disco show.

After dinner I relaxed until it was time for Disco Deck Party. The show was really well attended…this is the first time I’ve seen the conga line wrap all the way around the pool!

As we packed up afterward, Nia was feeling like ice cream so we went down a deck to get some! She got a vanilla cone, I wanted to try the ice cream sandwich with oatmeal cookies and cinnamon ice cream! It was REALLY good!

Tomorrow we are at sea. We’ll have Voice rehearsal and the Paul Baker shows. My big plans are to sleep late, eat at the guest buffet for breakfast, and go to the gym.


12/27

I slept late!
I ate at the guest buffet!
I did NOT go to the gym! Lol!

There was some beautiful smoked salmon at the guest buffet, I had it with roasted tomatoes and scrambled eggs and muesli on the side. Afterward I decided to clean up my phone a bit, deleting stuff that I don’t use. Voice rehearsal went well, and afterward I had planned to go to the gym, but too bad, didn’t feel like it. I go through “gym phases” I guess.

Instead I went to the ship training/internet room to have a look at my flights home and see if there were any better options out there. My flight is an overnight, leaving Los Angeles around 11pm and arriving in Orlando at 11am the next day. I was hoping for same-day, but there truly weren’t any better AND affordable options. So I’ll suck it up. It won’t be so bad. And it’s more convenient for Jameson as he has a gig on the 19th.

That settled, I went to tea time and then to Paul’s rehearsal in the theater. After rehearsal I chatted with Stacey, then we had the two Broadway shows. Both shows went well, nothing to report.

Tomorrow, another day at sea. The schedule looks pretty straightforward.


12/28

Yep, it was a straightforward day at sea.
I kind of wish I didn’t have to take Meclizine every time we go up the coast. Boooo, genetics.

After breakfast I spent some time watching the Broadway musical “Ain’t Misbehavin’”. Immediately when I finish my ship contract, I’ll begin performing this show with the Winter Park Playhouse. I’m extremely grateful to have work right when I get back, and I LOVE doing theater gigs! I’ve never played this show before, and wanted to get an idea of what it’s like. The internet has been very good lately, so I was able to watch more than half of the show. The band performs on stage for this one, which was great because I could see what kind of trombone is used and what kind of mutes he’s using (all of them haha). Now I need to invest in a mute stand…

I ate a quick lunch and went to Voice rehearsal, which went well. The show went well too, although the motion of the ship picked up quite a bit and I was feeling a little bad in the guts. Still, I made it through the show. Molly, Nia and I went upstairs for tea time, and then I went right to a midship stairwell to try and settle my stomach before Dwight’s Motown shows.

Dwight’s shows went very well, and I made it through them fine, just with a little acid reflux and discomfort. I just wish my body handled motion differently, it would make this job a lot more enjoyable. Afterward the girls had wine and pajamas :) but since I wasn’t feeling great, I passed and went straight to bed. Tomorrow is an early day in San Pedro.


12/29

Once again, I’m extremely grateful to get off the ship right at 8am!!
I took an Uber to Target. It feels kind of silly to hit Target with only three weeks remaining, but sometimes you just need stuff. I got a new toothbrush, a black shirt (musicians always need these!), a red shirt to replace one that was damaged in the wash, some Clif bars and beef jerky for when I use internet in Mexico but don’t want to pay for meals. Then I Ubered to Hojas for my weekly tea-and-internet time!

Along with my lemongrass coconut rosehip tea, I got an everything bagel with egg and spinach, and a cranberry orange scone to take back to the ship. I’m going to miss Hojas.

It’s hard to believe our band only has three weeks left. Every day I hear people talking about how they’ll pack, what they need to do, and what their plans are for post-contract work and fun. Three of our ladies have been contracted with another Princess ship, and will join up in about two months. Nia will be taking a vacation with her boyfriend. Jane will be performing with her brother’s band in Toronto. Stacey has a new ship contract, plus she’s looking into learning programming. We will all go our separate ways…but our time together has been wonderful. I’m glad to have met these ladies.

As for me, I have a lot in the works, but for now I’m focusing on the theater show and visits to friends and family. I have managed to line up a few job interviews, and hopefully can arrange for a few more in the coming weeks. There’s a lot to look forward to!

But now it’s time for tea :)

Final Month At Sea Begins

12/16

Today we’re at sea. I got up early and since we ate so much yesterday, I decided to hit the gym first thing in the morning. After a shower I threw my sheets in the wash and went upstairs for a light breakfast.

We had a show in the evening (I’m writing this days later so honestly forget what the heck we were doing haha!)

Anyway, normal sea day. Nothing to report.


12/17

Today we were in Cabo. I got off the ship as early as it was possible to do so, because I’ve got IPM in Vallarta, my normal internet spot. I need to make up for the lost hours elsewhere. Stacey showed me a small café off the beaten path with good matcha and decent wifi! I had a few hours there, then when my battery started to die I moved to Cabo Coffee Co, which had worse coffee and wifi, but outlets.

Around 4pm I came back to the ship and got cleaned up just in time for rehearsal with Nia (trumpet) and Paula (sax) for Christmas carols and Mariachi music we’ll be performing soon. Then we had a show in the theater with one of the ship’s own dancers/vocalists, it went very well.

After that we had a rehearsal with the Mariachi band. Tomorrow we’ll play with them on their Day of the Dead set at 7:45. I have a solo piece all to myself and I’m pretty nervous! Here is what I’ll be playing: https://youtu.be/CIcDWHxR-ao


12/18

We are in Mazatlan. I got off the ship early and went straight to Dolce Mami, this time for a legit breakfast! Their crepes are FANTASTIC!



I camped for a bit and worked on this blog and looked for jobs and did some last-minute Christmas shopping. Because I have IPM in Vallarta, I was very grateful to have so much time ashore today.

After about two hours I started to feel bad about camping, so packed up and headed out. On my way out I asked if I could purchase a Dolce Mami mug, since it seems to be their only non-food item with their logo on it. They happily obliged, though I got the impression they don’t get that request often! Anyway, it’ll be nice to have something to remember them by. I’ve only got about four more opportunities to visit.

I tried camping in front of the school again to steal the free wifi, but with THREE cruise ships in the harbor there were way too many people around eating up the data. I decided to give Allegro another try. The vibe there was much different than last time, friendlier and a lot of younger people serving and running the register. I got a chai and set up camp again, for another two hours. I was able to apply for lots of jobs, although I’m not sure how qualified I am for any of them. But I’ve got to try.

Finally after a few messages with Jameson and updates to my computer, I decided to call it quits. There is only so much job hunting a person can do, and I felt that four hours straight was enough for one day. I had a pleasant walk back to the ships, unpacked, cleaned up, and had a late lunch.

Soon it was time to perform with the Mariachis. I was pretty nervous. It has been so hard scheduling rehearsals, and I have to admit that I had a very negative attitude about it most of the time. Our charts seemed to always be wrong, I had trouble getting my own parts right, and sometimes it felt like we were wasting our time. Now we’d find out whether all our hard work was worth it.

Long story short, it was great. There was a huge crowd, the guests danced and clapped and had a wonderful time. It was so crowded that the horns had to stand on the lip of the piazza fountain, and I did not know where to put my slide for fear of accidentally hitting someone! But that’s how you know it’s a good set :)

I performed Idilio, and while it wasn’t perfect I was happy with how it went for the first time.



Nia (trumpet) had a blazing solo during one of the pieces. Paula (sax) in addition to being an amazing player is also a fantastic dancer, and she was dancing and smiling the whole time! Molly (drums) had a blast backing up our whole ensemble. Afterward we all cheered and hugged each other. We finally did it! It was a great feeling to perform together with such wonderful, accomplished musicians. Mario, Ray, and Juan are amazing Mariachis, and I am so grateful that they let us be a part of their musical style. I have actually wanted to play with a mariachi band for a long time, and this was my very first time achieving that goal, all thanks to these three guys, my awesome boss Jane, and Princess Cruises. I can’t say thank you enough!!


12/19

Today we are in Vallarta. We had a short entertainment department meeting early in the morning, followed by a rehearsal for our upcoming Christmas show. The music was pretty straightforward, but there’s a lot of choreography involved. We ended up rehearsing for over two hours! I had skipped breakfast, so was starving by the time we were finished. Some of us girls and mariachis went upstairs to eat lunch together, then we all went our separate ways.

I have IPM duty, so I stayed on the ship. Today is the 19th…only one month left with Princess Cruises. It’s been a wild ride. I’ve learned a lot, and struggled and stressed, and had exciting and fun adventures. But soon it will be time to return to land, and I’m beginning to think about what I need to do to prepare.

On Nia’s recommendation, I checked the Crew Self Service website to see if we had been given flight home information yet. Yes! Wow…this is really happening!

I didn’t really do a whole lot else today…I had planned to go to the gym but was feeling a bit tired, so mostly just rested and recouped. In the evening we had Disco Deck Party, I got to wear my Christmas lights necklace! The show went well and I hit the sack right after.


12/20

Today we are at sea. We had Voice rehearsal in the afternoon. It was sunny and nice outside, but the ship is moving up and down a lot like it does when we’re going against the coastal current. I spent a few hours outside enjoying the sun, but started to get sleepy! I came inside for tea and scones, then went to sound check for Paul Baker’s Broadway show. Later at night we had shows at 6:30 and 9pm, both of which went well.



12/21

Today the sea was rough :/ I spent a lot of time in the midship stairwells to help prevent vertigo and sickness. I took my motion sickness pills of course, but still, spending time in my room puts me in the prow of the ship, and the up-and-down plunging sensation there is very uncomfortable.

We had a busy day. First we had Voice rehearsal and performances in the afternoon, followed by rehearsal and performance of Dwight's shows late at night. All of the shows went well...it was just a long day. All I wanted to do was get to San Pedro. With the holidays approaching, many of us are thinking about last-minute gifts, the entertainment department's Secret Santa, and the holiday performances we'll have this week. And now that there's only one month left for our little band, we are also thinking about how to pack and whether we'll need to ship things home. Since San Pedro is our only US stop, we look forward to it for all of the things we can't get in Mexico.

12/22

I was absolutely thrilled to be allowed off the ship around 8:30am. It was a misty morning along the dock as I made my way to Hojas Tea House. One thing that ship life has taught me is to be grateful for shore time. On average, I've gotteen between 4-6 hours of shore time in each port. When we were stopping in California I had as many as eight hours ashore, and sometimes in Cabo I've had as few as two hours. Either way, time not spent on the ship is a blessing. I walked slowly this morning, enjoying the relative silence and the smell of rotting leaves, and the feeling of brick and concrete under my feet.



At Hojas, I ordered a green tea and an egg sandwich, then got to work on my internet stuff. Much of what I'm doing today is stuff I couldn't do in Mexico, mainly uploading footage of our performances and downloading updates for my computer. It may seem silly that I spend hours online, but you have to remember that on a ship none of my devices can update. Sometimes it takes a while for everything to download and install, even before I get to start working on my own things.

I'll be staying at Hojas for at least another two hours, then I might walk to CVS for a few things if there's time. We'll see how things go. I have to be back on the ship at 2pm. At 3:30 there will be a passenger drill, and then I'll have to check the mail for some Secret Santa packages I've ordered. After dinner we've got a tree lighting ceremony to play, that should be fun. Next week will be full of Christmas adventures, I'm sure!

Average week

12/09

Today was pretty straightforward. Breakfast. Practice. Lunch. Gym. Rehearsal. Shows.

There’s really not a whole lot to report. Just an average sea day.

Tomorrow in Cabo I have IPM duty. The horns are rehearsing with the Mariachis in the afternoon and possibly playing a set with them in the crew bar late (LATE) that night. Before that, though, we’ll have Dwight’s Motown show, which is always fun.

Well, since today was boring…
Some passengers decorate their cabins for Christmas, or for special occasions. Here are some of the decorations that I’ve seen this week!






12/10

The weather today is making me sad that I’ve got IPM. Absolutely perfect…not too hot, not too cold, sunny and gorgeous.

It felt good to just sit on deck and read a book. The Grand Princess was docked next to us.



We were supposed to have Mariachi rehearsal today, but Nia wasn’t feeling well so we cancelled. Honestly I was kind of glad. I was the one who pushed so hard to do Mariachi stuff in the first place, but it just keeps getting pushed back, and no one seems to be considering it as an actual part of our work but more as a side project.

Today after practicing I tried to finish my Christmas shopping! Shopping is a bit difficult on my phone. I did what I could, then went inside to put some Christmas specials on a flash drive to share. You know, that Rudolph Claymation special, and the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Merry Christmas Charlie Brown! Always good to pass these around at this time of year!

So it ended up being a slow, beautiful day. I had some nice meals in the mess, I skipped the gym because over the next two days I’ll be doing a lot of walking to reach internet (assuming I can go ashore). In the evening we had the shows with Dwight, they were well attended. Molly’s (drums) parents are here to visit for the holidays! We got to meet them after our last show. Really lovely people.

Almost as lovely as the sunset that night. Wow!




Later on several of us did end up going to the crew bar to hear the Mariachis play. I brought all of my equipment because I wasn’t sure if the horns were going to play or not…some of us seemed to want to use this opportunity to rehearse. We didn’t play, so I ended up standing against a wall with my music tablet trying to take notes whenever they played a song we shared. It was kind of awkward, but sometimes I guess that’s “part of the gig”. The band sounded awesome though, and they had a huge crowd dancing and enjoying their playing!

Tomorrow I only have a dance set at night. I’m getting peer-pressured into playing the late night jazz set, but one thing to know about me is that peer pressure has the exact opposite effect that you’re looking for. If I’m asked sincerely to come along, I will probably cave and do it. But if I get bombarded with “C’MOOOOOON DOO IIIIIIT” and a lot of egging on, it’s a definite no. I don’t like being bullied.

Anyway, sorry, got off subject there.


12/11

I got off the ship in Mazatlan as soon as it was possible to do so. Did not get much sleep last night, so hoping to get all of my internet chores finished as soon as possible. I walked to the tourist plaza and today was able to steal wifi from a nearby music school instead of going to a café, I was sitting outside on a bench with my laptop. I don’t care how stupid it looked. Maybe I’ll be mistaken for a student.

(two hours later)

Welp. A bird pooped on me and all my stuff. But hey, I got my flights booked to visit my sister when she has her baby, and my parents when I get back from the ship!

So...several people have messaged me or approached me this week, concerned that I'm spending so much of my shore time walking miles to reach internet and basically only spending time on the computer. Some people seem to think that I should use the ship's wifi, or buy a phone simcard, or use the time to sightsee and experience Mexico.

I appreciate the concern, but I think that it would help if I explained some of the reasons behind my behavior. Here we go!


  • In six weeks, I am back at home with no job. I have been applying for work whenever I can, and STILL am not getting any responses or interest. If you have ideas I'd love to hear them :) but in the meantime I WILL continue applying for jobs, because I NEED a job. Wouldn't you do the same if you were in my position?

  • In four months, if I still don’t have a job, I’ll have some tough decisions to make. I am planning for that eventuality, and that planning requires a lot of internet time. I can't go into details but let's just say I'm working toward something that might improve my job situation for the future, and it requires some time spent online now.

  • I don't feel that it would be responsible of me to go on expensive shore excursions, tours, or trips, or spend hours lying on a beach, when I'm about to be jobless again. I came here to work and save money, and to learn and grow as a musician, NOT to have a vacation. Working on a cruise ship IS work! It's the guests who are on vacation, not me :)

  • Ship internet is not only very expensive, it is also very unreliable and my laptop blows through those megabytes in no time at all. I've had to limit my ship internet time to my phone only, because it uses far less data. When we are at sea (three days out of every week), the internet works less than 50% of the time and is only strong enough to push a text or two through. I usually can't even send or check email at sea! And I certainly can't fill out a full job application on a signal that's not even strong enough to send a text! In addition, finding signal can be a problem. Sometimes I have to stand in a stairwell to get signal. I also am not allowed to use my phone or other devices in front of guests, which greatly limits where and when I can access the internet onboard.

  • Mexican simcards are unfortunately not cheap or free. If I have the choice between walking 15-20 minutes to a cafe for four hours of free wifi, or paying $50 for a simcard and $40 every time I hit my data limit, I'll take the walk and the wifi, thanks!

There you have it. I hope that helps to explain why I do what I do. You don't have to agree with it or comment on it, just if this was on your mind for whatever reason this should provide some explanation for you. Thanks!

Back to Mazatlan. I walked a few blocks and found a café called Dolce Mami. The owner speaks a bit of English and the whole vibe was a lot friendlier than the last Mazatlan café I’d tried, so this may be my new go-to place if they’ll let me camp for a bit.

(two hours later)

Ok, they did let me camp for a bit, and they have wonderful coffee and cookies :) I'll be back!



I returned to the ship, got cleaned up, and had a dance band set in Club Fusion...not our usual performance space, but it was a pretty nice change. We had a small crowd but a lot of them did get up and dance! Awesome and lovely!

Tomorrow is Vallarta, and once again I'll be hunting for internet. So there. :P


12/12

Vallarta. Internet.



It was SUPER humid! But the mall was nice as always, and I got to apply for quite a few jobs and really finish my Christmas shopping. I was very grateful to be able to take care of all that now, because on Saturday I want to spend time with my sister Kayle again! Back on the ship, I got caught up with Stacey and dumped a bunch of lime juice and baking soda down our shower drain…it’s been clogged for a few days and no one has come to fix it, so I’m taking matters into my own hands in the safest way possible. In about 30 minutes the drain was clear and I was ready for some dinner!

After dinner I worked on converting a video I’d taken of a jazz set the previous evening, and spent a few hours relaxing before Disco Deck Party.

Now begins the two sea days to get back up to San Pedro. If I’m reading the ocean forecasts correctly, we’re unfortunately in for a rough ride.


12/13

Yeah, it’s a little bit rough today. Not as bad as it could be, though.

It’s a pretty chill day. Everyone is making plans for Christmas, getting gifts home and seeing family via video chat and such. I tried to buy a few last-minute presents using the unreliable wifi, but gave up after a while. We had a Voice rehearsal in the afternoon, and it went well although poor Jane (MD, piano) has bronchitis :( I want to tell her “Take it easy” but I don’t think her job allows for that.

After rehearsal I transferred some Christmas carols onto my tablet for later practice, then got a shower and had a relaxing afternoon. The evening shows with Paul Baker went well, though the second one was tough because it was late and we were a bit tired. Great crowd though!

Tomorrow, more of the same!


12/14

The seas are rough once again!

I decided to sleep in for once because I’ve been pretty cranky lately and figured maybe more sleep would help. After breakfast at the guest buffet I practiced in the stairwell before our dance set in the piazza. The set went well and we had a few dancer, always nice :)

I spent my afternoon mostly chilling in various parts of midship to avoid feeling any motion sickness. I took my meds and everything, but sometimes it can sneak up on you. We had rehearsal and then performance of The Voice. And at night we had a rehearsal with the Mariachi band up in Adagio lounge. We’re supposed to do a set together, but somehow it keeps falling through.

This week Molly’s (drummer) parents were here, and they came to see many of our shows and sets. Tonight was their last night on the ship, so they came around to each of us and gave us bottles of wine and a big hug. Such awesome human beings. Thank you!!



12/15

Today we were in San Pedro. I had some trouble getting off the ship, nothing that I can talk about here though, sorry. When I was finally able to go ashore my sister met me at Hojas Tea House, and from there we went out for dim sum!



As soon as we sat down we were converged on by a swarm of servers wanting to know what we wanted. Luckily Kayle and Skylar have been here before, and they handled most of the ordering. We got mostly dumplings of various types, some in paper-thin wrappings and some in fluffy cloud-like steamed buns. One was even wrapped in a sort of “nest”, I have no idea what it was but it was crispy and light and delicious. Everything was amazing!

After that we walked off our meal by hitting Tokyo Market and Daiso. Mostly we just looked, but I did find a few more stocking stuffers for the ladies!

Just a few hours later they had to drive me back to the port. I was sad to only get a few hours with them today, but it’s certainly better than nothing and I was very grateful for the time we had. Thanks Kayle and Skylar…see you again soon!

Back on the ship, I assembled my gift bags and hid them in the closet. Christmas is coming!
Then we had the passenger drill and several rehearsals for Christmas stuff and Mariachi stuff. Then there was a dance set in the piazza. Our boss-boss, Doug, is on the ship this week to work on some technical issues. He offered to take us out to dinner!

We went to the ship’s steakhouse and it was AMAZING. Filet mignon, asparagus, red-skinned mashed potatoes, sautéed mushrooms…everything was fantastic. We enjoyed red and white wines, and a variety of exotic salts with our steaks. My favorite was the applewood salt, it tasted just like a campfire smells and somehow triggered nostalgia for me. Weird and tasty haha.

We thanked Doug profusely, and he thanked us for being such a great band. I’m very thankful to have a boss who’s so generous and thoughtful toward the people he’s hired. And I’m glad we’ve done a good job in his eyes.

After a long exciting day it was time for bed. Tomorrow, sea day to Cabo.

Late Post Again!

Hi folks!

Once again I’m posting late because I’ll be spending time with my sister. Thank you for understanding!

Time With Family

12/02

We set sail from Los Angeles/San Pedro last night. The sea was still a bit rocky, but today is better. At least the ship is not pitching up and down.

We played the Welcome Back event and two new shows with guest entertainer Paul Baker, who does a Broadway show featuring a lot of roles he’s held over the years. We had been warned that it was a complex show with a lot of click tracks…and it was, but as long as you listened carefully it was pretty straightforward. Both shows went well. Paul will be with us for several weeks, so we’ll have time to improve for him.

After the shows I went straight to bed. Some of us are still not feeling great after that one rough day at sea.


12/03

Today we are in Cabo San Lucas. The only thing I had scheduled was the Disco Deck Party sound check at noon and then the show at 9:30pm.

The weather was very nice, and with so much free time I decided to go ashore for a bit! I have been wanting to get new sneakers because when it rained in Vallarta mine got soaked, and now they smell gross no matter what I do. There’s a Sketchers outlet at the local mall.

I got off the Princess tender and wound my way through the busy port. It’s a very touristy area, lots of shops and restaurants and locals pushing tours and excursions at every corner. It’s a long walk to the mall, probably a little over a mile…distance-wise that’s not too bad, but fighting your way through sidewalks clogged with tourists and souvenir hawkers does take a while! I made sure to wear my ship ID prominently to encourage less harassment. For the most part this worked, but I still got catcalled an awful lot.

At the mall I quickly found the Sketchers store, found the shoes, bought them and walked around a little bit hoping to get ideas for Christmas. For some reason this mall doesn’t have wifi so I was not inclined to stay long. After I’d had time to window shop and cool off from the heat, I stepped back outside and made my way back to the pier. I passed old women selling handmade dolls on the sidewalk, fancy jewelry stores full of Mexican fire opals and locally-mined silver…little boys carrying iguanas and offering photos with the lizards for a few dollars, kiosks selling huge freshly-cracked coconuts laced with chili powder...and more. Along the way I glanced into the cloudy water along the docks and saw many red-and-black crabs, pelicans, minnows, and one black fish with white spots. It was a nice day and I was happy just for the walk.

Back at the pier I was surprised to find a bit of internet, so instead of going back to the ship I plopped down on a bench and did a little work. I am applying for jobs for when I return to Orlando, planning flights to visit family, and trying to line up gigs as well. I was able to make progress with all of these, which made me feel accomplished for the day. When I was finished I climbed aboard the tender and rode it back to the ship. After a refreshing shower I enjoyed scones and tea on Deck 16, cleaned my cabin, and savored some quiet time.

Around dinnertime Stacey returned, and we told each other about our doings. She and some of the other band ladies had taken a glass-bottomed taxi tour of Cabo, followed by a relaxing day at the beach. How nice!




The Disco Deck Party went well, although with the ship pitching so much the pool and hot tub were sloshing and spilling enough to cause a delay to our start. I wonder why the waters are suddenly so awful. Maybe it has to do with the recent seismic activity around Alaska.


12/04

We arrived in Mazatlan around 8am. The music department had a brief meeting around 9am, just to go over a few changes and upcoming events for the holidays. Hard to believe Christmas is almost here! And 2019 too!

After the meeting we had a crew drill, which is basically all of us checking in with our departments, going to our passenger drill stations, and then going to our muster stations. So it’s just like a passenger drill, without passengers and without having to go over life jacket procedures and such. When the drill was done we watched a safety video. All of that was finished around 11am, perfect timing for the guest buffet! Today I had muesli, eggs and mushrooms, smoked salmon, a triangle of French toast, and some pineapple.

Rebeca (guitar) sat with me, and we had a nice conversation. Like me, she has a partner at home. We are both missing our S.O.’s very much right now. She told me that she’d had a Skype session with her partner yesterday, and both of them had to struggle to keep from crying. I empathized with her, and together we talked about our plans once this contract is over, and whether or not we’d consider another contract in the future.

For Rebeca, the economic situation in her home country is not good. She says that the prices of goods has gone up as much as 600% in some areas, and on top of that it’s difficult to find work. She feels that things will improve eventually, but for a while she and her partner may need to put work first, even if it means being apart. She hopes to join a cruise ship again as a duo along with her loved one.

For me, I think there are more options. Although I have had trouble finding work lately, I will at least have several months to keep trying. There will also be time to talk with Jameson about what will work best for both of us. My plan currently is to keep job hunting and networking and doing my absolute best to find something. If nothing comes up by the end of March, I have two contingency plans, and we will see which is the best choice at the time. I don’t want to share too much about that just yet…even the best laid plans are often all for nothing.

Anyway, I enjoyed spending time with Rebeca this morning. Afterward I practiced and went to the gym, enjoyed a little snack, and had rehearsal for the guest entertainer shows this evening. Then it was dinner and the two shows, both of which went well.

Tomorrow we are in Vallarta, and as usual I’ll be booking it over to the mall early in the morning to use the wifi and continue my job hunt.


12/5

Here we are in Vallarta! The mall is decorated for Christmas.



I got off the ship after breakfast...I have the day off because tonight's guest entertainer doesn't use horns. Whee!

I spent several hours at the mall sucking up wifi. There is Christmas shopping to do, apps to be updated, flights to be booked to visit family once I leave the ship. It's just the start of December, but with the holidays approaching I feel the need to get certain things taken care of before everything shuts down and everyone loses their minds.

When my interneting was done, I went to Mexican Walmart for a few small gifts for the girls for Christmas (sssh, don’t tell them!) and then returned to the ship. I cleaned up, ate lunch, started a load of laundry, and had some nice quiet time. When the laundry was finished I had dinner, then Nia (trumpet) and Paula (sax) and I rehearsed some Mariachi music that we hope to perform this coming week.

Next up, our two sea days to return to San Pedro/Los Angeles. I really, really hope that the sea will stay calm for us.


12/06

Today the sea seems calm! Hooray!

After breakfast I practiced in my stairwell for a bit. We have a jazz set tonight (boooo) and two Motown shows with Dwight, our pianist/vocalist in the Crooner’s lounge.

While I was practicing I happened to glance out at the sea and was surprised to see another Princess ship! I’m not sure which one it was but it was a similar size to ours, so maybe the Emerald?



I went to the gym, then we had rehearsals before our evening shows. Dwight’s shows both went very well; Explorers lounge was packed and the audience was great! Even our jazz set was well-attended and also went really well. So well in fact that we wished we’d recorded it! Everyone had great solos, even me for once.

Dwight’s last show ended around 11:30, so I went straight to bed. Tomorrow we have another sea day, and the only thing on our schedule is Voice of the Ocean.


12/07

The sea was much rougher today. Oh well. At least we only have one show scheduled.
Since I have been to the gym for two days in a row, today is my rest day. I had a nice breakfast, then spent some time struggling with the ship’s internet and phone to get some things done so I don’t have to waste time doing them on Saturday. I get to hang out with my sister Kayle! And I don’t want to have to be making phone calls or doing internet stuff during our time together!

Anyway, I spent most of my day relaxing…reading, watching Ship of Darkness (hilarious by the way, it’s on youtube, check it out) and trying to do some Christmas shopping whenever the internet was strong enough.

Our one show went well and was shorter than expected! Several of us decided to play cards and enjoy a drink in the crew bar. I almost won the game, but Jane (bosswoman, piano) beat me in the end!


12/08

Today I got to spend time with my sister Kayle!

Stacey and I got up early and were able to get off the ship just a little after 8am. We took an Uber to a Trader Joe’s and did a little shopping, then she got picked up by her uncle while my sister and her husband Skylar came and got me! We drove to her house and they showed me around, then Skylar cooked us an amazing breakfast of eggs, cheese, avocado, and sausage on tortillas.




We sipped our coffee and got all caught up. Kayle has been busy preparing for her new arrival, she showed me some of the baby items she’s collected so far: books, bottles, onesies, stuffed animals, and more. I told her about my doings and life on the ship. At one point the baby was kicking, so Kayle let me put my hand on her tummy to feel it. Wow! It’s so amazing to experience a new life, especially one that will be related to you!!

After that we drove over to Skylar’s workplace. He’s…well, I don’t know his official title, but he works with drones and satellites and such, and much of his work is classified. But today he showed us something really cool! Do you remember the Hubble space telescope? Skylar’s employer is building it’s replacement, the James Webb telescope!

Pictures were not allowed, but it was still incredible to see it. The main portion of it was not there today, but I got to see the huge “eye” that will be capturing light waves put out by distant galaxies before the dawn of time. The telescope is being built in a carefully controlled environment; people need to wear hazmat suits and use specially calibrated tools to work on it. Skylar pointed out small collection plates stationed around the room designed to act as canaries in the figurative coal mine, gathering samples of micro-debris that could potentially harm the delicate gold foil and mirrors. A video in our viewing area described the launch and deployment processes of the telescope, and Skylar provided details on how it will capture infrared light while deflecting the interfering rays of our own sun.

It was a really incredible and mind-boggling thing to see. I felt privileged to see something that few people will get to lay eyes on, a device that will be an important part of human history.

Too soon it was time to head back to the ship. Before that, though, I wanted Kayle and Skylar to experience the magic of Hojas teas! This time I got the green tea with chocolate powder mixed in…Kayle got the same but in latte format. Both were amazing, like all Hojas teas :) The three of us shared a piece of egg nog cake while making plans for another visit next Saturday. Then they drove me to the ship and we said our goodbyes. I’m so happy that I got to spend time with Kayle today! It really made my day and gave me some positivity to carry through my week.

Once back on board, I unpacked all of my goodies. I had gotten some RX bars, candied ginger and stocking stuffers at Trader Joe’s. Kayle had given me some candied pecans that she made herself, and a few satchels of tea that she thought I’d like, and a pair of slippers that she didn’t need. It felt like Christmas already! And on top of that, I received some teas I’d ordered in the mail! Merry Christmas to me!

We are en route to Cabo San Lucas, but first we will have one sea day.

Delayed Post

Hello everyone,

This Saturday I’m thrilled to spend some quality time with my sister! Therefore my usual post is going to be late (probably either Wednesday or I’ll just do a double post next Saturday).

Thanks for understanding y’all!

Exploring Mazatlan

(**DISCLAIMER**: The views expressed in this blog are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer!)




11/25

Today is Stacey’s birthday!
Last night the most awesome thing happened. I was already asleep, it was a little after midnight. Suddenly I heard music, like guitars and such. The music seemed to get louder, and I realized it was the Mariachi band playing right outside our door! I stayed in bed so as not to wreck the moment. They played Happy Birthday in Spanish and English for Stacey! Standing there in the hallway in her pajamas, she was laughing as everyone clapped and wished her a happy birthday. How sweet is that!

I don’t know about her, but I had some lovely Mariachi dreams after that!

This morning we are at sea. It still seems a bit rough, but not nearly as bad as a few nights ago. I had breakfast, and had enough wifi to talk with Jameson and see how he’s doing. He just got back from Thanksgiving in Chicago with his family. He had fun but he’s pretty tired. Also the fridge seems to be acting up, and he’s worried we might have to buy a new one. I hope not. I was happy to be able to talk with him for a bit.

Jerome (bass, formerly my bandmate on the circus) sent me a catch-up email just to see how things were going on the ship and to give me some updates on his life as a bassist in New York. I was glad to hear from him and hear how things are going with him. I told him a bit about my experiences so far on the ship. Sometimes it’s nice just to talk…I feel like that’s a rare thing any more. Instead of conversations, people just want to impose their viewpoints on each other. I just want to know how my friend is doing. He just wanted to know how I was doing. That’s how people show that they care about each other, you know? Not by forcing views onto each other or cramming unsolicited advice down each others’ throats. Sorry, I’ve grown a big chip on my shoulder from some of the messages and comments I received after the circus closed. Suffice to say, I was happy to hear from Jerome and have a good conversation with him. He’s a former cruise ship musician himself, and has given me lots of helpful advice and insight.

Anyway, after that I went to practice music for a new Motown show we’re doing tonight, then had a little time to relax before lunch and rehearsal.

The shows went well tonight. Our guest entertainer, Bryan Cheatham, is a cool dude with a great voice and a wonderful life story to share. I really enjoyed performing his show.

We arrive in Cabo San Lucas tomorrow. We’ll have the Disco Deck Party to perform, and also a jazz set. Jazz sets…sigh.


11/26

It was a nice day in Cabo.



I had weird dreams and woke in a weird mood. After breakfast I spent some time messing around on the computer before the disco sound check up on Deck 16. Well, there was supposed to be a sound check. Instead there was a movie playing on the giant screen, so we had to reschedule for 8pm.

I had a nice lunch and went to the gym for the first time in a while. Afterward I wasn’t feeling great so just hydrated and read for a little while. Then we had a jazz set (probably the reason I wasn’t feeling well, nerves) which went all right I guess. I mean my solos were all right, but this time I struggled with communication. They’re looking at me, am I supposed to take a solo now, or play the melody again? That chord change isn’t what’s written, are we ending the piece or is this a transition to something else? Everyone seems to either know what to do or be able to communicate it in a way that I’m not picking up on. There’s a mystery etiquette, or language, or standard, that I am not privy to. Most of the time that leaves me confused, frustrated, and feeling like I’m being hazed. But you know what, that’s my problem. I don’t expect my bandmates to babysit me. There’s no one to be angry with but myself. I was just hoping that by now I’d understand a little better, or be in on what’s happening during each set.

Well…I had wanted the opportunity to try. And if nothing else I’m still grateful for that. Most groups would not even grant me that privilege.

Later on we had our sound check, then Nia and her boyfriend and I had dinner in the guest buffet before the Disco Deck Party (which went just fine). Tomorrow it’s Mazatlan again, and this time I’ve got the whole day off, so I may go explore.


11/27

Started my day with breakfast at the guest buffet!
The thing with breakfast buffet is that we aren’t allowed to eat there A) if it’s very busy, B) if it’s a sea day, or C) during peak hours. So if you want to eat there, you kind of have to plan for it. Today we arrived in Mazatlan early, around 8am, meaning that many people would be ashore by the afternoon. It was also not a sea day. So I thought I might have a good chance. It was a bit busy when I got there, but despite that it was OK to grab breakfast. Yay!

Breakfast in the crew mess is very good as well, but sometimes a change is nice. You don’t see smoked fish, French toast, or yogurt parfaits in the crew mess :)



After breakfast I went exploring in Mazatlan!
Knowing that I may not be able to find internet right away, I had used the ship internet to plot my route to the historic district by taking screenshots of maps and directions. But that all turned out to be unnecessary…the route was marked with a big blue line in the middle of the street. All you had to do was follow it to reach the main square. Smart!



The road took me through some nice neighborhoods…much nicer than those I’ve seen while in Mexico City with the circus. I’m sure with a bunch of tourists regularly passing though the area extra efforts are taken to keep the “blue line” clean. There was also a strong police presence, and volunteer Q&A folks standing on almost every street corner to help you find your destination or recommend places to see/eat. It was really very well-planned. Still, in the market areas there were a lot of vendors and hawkers trying to rope tourists into spending money. I made sure to wear my crew ID in a prominent place. While my clothes and blindingly white skin may scream “tourist”, the crew card screams “don’t waste your breath heckling this person” haha.

First I visited the big historic cathedral near the center of town. I have seen it from a distance every time we’re in port and have been wanting to go check it out. It was beautiful.





Construction began in 1856 on the site of an ancient Indian temple. One notable feature found in this cathedral are the stained glass windows, many of which feature a Star of David. The reason for the incorporation of the Jewish religious symbol is unclear, but legend has it that the stars were included as a token of gratitude for a donation made to the church by Mazatlan’s Jewish community.

(photo courtesy colonialmexicoinsideandout.com)

A few blocks away from the cathedral was a large open-air market. It was very crowded and nothing jumped out at me from the usual selection of touristy knickknacks, so after a quick walk-through I moved on to a bread store. I wanted to eat everything but exercised self-control.



Back in the “blue line” plaza, I ran into the band ladies having some drinks together. They were pretty much finished and heading their separate ways by the time I got there. Jane (boss, pianist) and I went searching for wifi and coffee and found it just a block away at a nice coffee shop called Allegro. We chilled there and enjoyed an Americano and some pulled pork sandwiches while checking our email and social media. I don’t get to spend a whole lot of one-on-one time with Jane because she’s so dang busy…as the Music Manager she’s in charge of all the musicians on the ship, plus she has to perform, and that’s a LOT of work. It was nice to have a nice quiet hang with her :)

When we were finished I decided to return to the ship as it looked like rain. I had lunch and started some laundry. Stacey came back soon after to have a shower and prepare for the evening production show (the horns aren’t involved in that) so I hung out in the crew bar, typing this post and enjoying some decaf tea so that she could have the cabin to herself for a bit. Then dinner and some anime, and some planning for tomorrow.

We’ll be back in Vallarta. I have IPM duty, but Stacey has graciously agreed to stand in for me in the morning (she says she’ll be asleep anyway) while I scoot over to the mall for the internet. In the evening we have shows with our next guest entertainer.


11/28

It was pouring in Vallarta!

After a bit of hesitation I decided to go to the mall anyway. I need to be looking for jobs, and since I only have free and reliable internet for a few select ports for a few select hours, I need to take advantage of that regardless how inconvenient it may be sometimes. I got to the mall soaking wet...but hey, it's just water.

Also...I was going to refrain from saying anything derogatory about passengers. But GEEZ. There were so many people whining about the rain, and demanding that they receive covered escort to and from the ship, and on and on about how "This is ridiculous!". My goodness people, bless your hearts.

Anyway, I was at the mall for a few hours looking for jobs and typing this blog. I returned to the ship and cleaned myself up, had lunch, and practiced for our show with Jamie Crockart tonight. It's a rock/soul show, should be fun!

And it was :)

The next two days are sea days. I'm hoping it won't be as rough as last time, but with the way the weather is right now, who knows.


11/29

The seas were indeed a bit rough today. I had a nice breakfast and decided to hit the gym right away because if it was going to get any worse I might make excuses about falling off the elliptical or something.

After the gym we had a rehearsal for the Voice, then I had lunch and spent some time reading in a stairwell near midship. You see my room is forward, in the prow of the ship, and the plunging motion there is pretty strong.

Around 3:30 I went to the medical center just to ask what they’ve got available for motion sickness. They don’t do the patch here because of the side effects, but they had some Meclazine sitting in a big box, free to grab for all crew. I took a handful, went up to the guest buffet for some snacks, and took one of the pills about an hour before our first show of the evening.

We had three shows with Bryan Cheatham and all went well. His music has been really fun to play, and he’s a pleasure to work with.

After the shows we were all pretty tired, and the ship was plunging quite a bit harder. There are gale-force winds and 13ft waves! At the risk of motion sickness I’ll try to get some footage tomorrow because it’s pretty impressive to see the ship break through the waves. My medicine worked quite well and I’ll definitely be taking it again tomorrow. Just lying in bed the motion is extremely strong, and tomorrow is supposed to be the worst of it.


11/30

It’s the last day of November, holy crap! Just one month and nineteen days until I get to see Jameson! :D

Today was ROUGH. Just walking around the ship was a struggle, especially near the prow. After taking a great deal of motion sickness medication I went out on deck to get some footage.

https://instagram.com/p/Bq1FWu8A9qB
For most of the day I stayed in a crew stairwell near midship. The rocking motion was less pronounced near the middle of the ship. Nia (trumpet) was struggling with motion sickness as well, I felt horrible for her. How the heck are you supposed to open your throat and lift your diaphragm and blow into an instrument when you can't stop retching?? But whatever, we all made it through the evening shows.

I'm trying to sleep but the motion of the ship makes it hard. Tomorrow, I just wanna get off this boat as soon as possible.


01/12

I got off the boat as soon as possible.

Walked to Sacred Grounds to post this blog and take care of updating my devices. Next I'll walk a few blocks to Hojas for some food, some awesome tea, and hopefully to do some job applications and another project I've been working on.

This week was fun, but that last day at sea was awful. I really hope the weather improves from here on out. But I'm also very grateful for whoever invented motion sickness remedies.

Ship Week

(**DISCLAIMER**: The viewpoints expressed in this blog are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer!)




11/18

Today we are at sea on the way to Cabo San Lucas. The ship set its clocks an hour ahead last night to match the time zone shift.

I got up to have breakfast and practice in my stairwell on the deck. The sea was calm and had a silvery look to it.



Every once in a while a flying fish would jump near the prow, but I was never quick enough to catch one on camera.

I played through a ii-V-I progression in order to help with my jazz improv. Then I played the music for our jazz set tonight, and then some Motown charts for our guest entertainer. Then I spent a little time relaxing before lunch and the gym. The gym was surprisingly crowded…there’s a younger demographic on board this cruise, and it shows.

We had a Welcome Back event sound check, then the event itself, which went smoothly as it usually does. After that I killed an hour reading and going through some new music before dinner. Around 9pm we had a dance set in the piazza that was well received.

Tomorrow we are in Cabo San Lucas. I will have IPM duty and will remain on board, but we’ll have sound checks and rehearsals anyway.


11/19

A pretty straightforward day in Cabo San Lucas. Breakfast, practice, gym, reading. A sound check for the Disco Deck Party. A jazz set up in Adagio lounge, which went pretty horribly for me personally but was probably fine for the actual jazz musicians in the band. I don’t want to talk about it haha.

Later at night, the Disco Deck Party. I like it better at night (it’s been an early evening show for a few weeks) because the lighting is much more pronounced. It just feels more “disco”!

Tomorrow we’re all supposed to get flu shots and I think everyone is trying to find a way out of it. I haven’t had a flu shot since I was a child, to my knowledge, and I’ve had the flu once in the past ten years. But whatever, if it’s required I guess it’s time to get a flu shot. We’ll be in Mazatlan, but I will not have time to go ashore.


11/20

Here we are in Mazatlan! Looks nice.



The Carnival Splendor is docked across from us, facing us.


I suppose I could have gone ashore for about 2-3 hours. But with a time frame like that and nothing near the port, honestly it’s not worth it to me. Instead I had a relaxing morning and enjoyed reading out on the sunny deck. We had mandatory flu vaccines around lunchtime…I had my little private freakout about getting a shot, then sucked it up and went and got it.

My afternoon was pretty free, just lunch and practicing and rationing my precious paid satellite wifi. Using the ship wifi on your phone takes a lot less data than using your computer. I sent a few texts to friends and family, and tracked a tea order I’d placed earlier in the week.

Beginning around 4pm we had rehearsals with our guest entertainer for a Motown show, followed by three shows, the last one ending around 11:30pm. All went well, the audiences were great! These three show days can be tiring, but nothing like a circus three shows.

Tomorrow we are in Vallarta, with the Walmart and shopping mall very close to the port. I’ll have about three hours during which I could run to the mall, but honestly I don’t need anything and I can wait until LA to use wifi. We’ll see.

Oh, today Jane gave us a promo clip from our gig with Stephanie Hodgdon last week! I don’t think I’m allowed to post the whole clip, but here are some screenshots and video snippets of the horn section (because I’m biased :P If I am allowed to post the whole thing at a later date, I will.)








11/21

Wow, is it really the day before Thanksgiving? October seemed like a slow month, but November has flown.

I didn’t really feel like going ashore in Vallarta because I hadn’t slept well, but forced myself to go. For one thing, we have two sea days coming up and we’ll all be trapped on the ship. And for another, time is flying by and I’m going to need to begin the job hunt again, and the only ports where I can reliably get wifi are Vallarta and San Pedro. So, off I went.

I went straight to the mall, plopped down in the food court, and got to work. There are no outlets there, so my time was limited by my laptop battery (which is not great). I updated my blog, looked for Mariachi charts, updated my social media, and began looking for jobs.

After about two hours my battery was running out. I texted back and forth with Jameson for a bit; he just landed in Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with his parents and the pups. I said hello to everyone and wished as many people as possible a happy Thanksgiving. On sea days the internet can be sketchy, so may as well do it early!

I walked back to the ship and had a nice lunch, then tried to relax for an hour before rehearsal with another guest entertainer who is doing an Andrew Lloyd Webber show. He has two different shows, and we rehearsed both of them even though we’re only doing one today. The rehearsals went…ok…and the first show was ok, and the second show was better. It was challenging material for our rhythm section especially. With a few extra days to rehearse the second show, hopefully it’ll go well!

Tomorrow we are at sea for Thanksgiving! I’m not sure if there is any special meal prep for the holiday, especially since this is an American holiday and the majority of crew are not American. The passengers may see some changes to their dining options though…


11/22

Happy Thanksgiving!

My day was pretty easy. After breakfast I had a short interview with HR, a standard thing for new hires just to check and see how we’re doing. Then there was a rehearsal for Voice of the Ocean. Then I did laundry, went to the gym, spent some time watching the choppy sea, and went to “tea time” at the buffet to enjoy a mini-scone and some fruit.

At night we had a jazz set in Adagio lounge. There were a lot of people there, and we got a lot of compliments on our playing both for the set and for our previous performances throughout the ship. It’s good to know that people enjoy our playing!

After the jazz set a bunch of us went to the guest buffet in the hopes of getting some Thanksgiving grub. They did have traditional foods including turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Rebeca (guitar) tried her first-ever pumpkin pie and liked it! All of us were thinking of our friends and family of course, but it was nice to spend Thanksgiving together with these ladies :)

Tomorrow we have one more sea day.


11/23

The sea is quite choppy today! I don’t remember it ever being this rough since I’ve been on board.

https://instagram.com/p/BqkeFaZAfQc
https://instagram.com/p/BqiTbpJAopJ

I wanted to hit the gym, but there was so much motion even halfway up the ship on deck 7 that I couldn’t really picture operating an elliptical way up on deck 16. Even practicing in my stairwell didn’t seem like a good idea today.

I decided to treat it kind of like a “train run” day. Movies, snacks, rest. And I spent a little time on deck, although it was really windy and slippery. The sea is a bit rough but it’s also beautiful. The waves shine like obsidian, and there’s something magical about the silver line where sea meets sky on the horizon.



Anyway. It was kind of a boring day! We had Voice of the Ocean rehearsal and performance, then another Broadway-style show with our guest entertainer, Josh Paul Young. Both went fine, but I had a close call with seasickness during that first rehearsal. I didn't barf but did have to run offstage to pop some Dramamine and eat a green apple. So much for having a pirate in my ancestry -_-

Ah well. I was happy to make it through the shows.

Tomorrow we are back in port at San Pedro/Los Angeles! Yay! Phone signal! Wifi! And hopefully some tasty tea from Hojas!


11/24

I woke up early, feeling very fuzzy in the head thanks to the Dramamine. I was ready to get off the ship right away, but shore leave was not granted until nearly 9am. I had breakfast and waited. Finally we were allowed off, but for some reason some of us were tagged as non-US citizens, so it was a trip down to the crew office to clear that up.

Once that was done I was allowed the "privilege" of setting foot in my home country. Aaaanyway, annoyances aside, I got an Uber to Target to get Stacey a birthday card and small present. I also picked up a few necessities, including some more Dramamine and  some Biscoff cookies to help with any future motion sickness.

Next, to Hojas for their Lemongrass Bouquet tea. Oh my goodness. It was delicious, creamy, herbal, soothing...just what I needed the day after rough seas.



It was a nice week. I was missing my friends and family and especially my boyfriend this week. But November is almost over, and I will see everyone again soon. I am spending the rest of my time here at the teahouse planning flights and looking for jobs! In a few hours I need to be back on the ship for the passenger drill, and then we'll have a dance set in the piazza.

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