Life as a Dancer on a Cruise Ship
Dancing professionally on a Cruise Ship was always a goal of mine as a Dancer… and in 2014 I was lucky enough to do so!
The years previously I had auditioned for a couple of different Cruise Lines but was either too young or just wasn't what they were looking for at that time. I had already had two other professional dance contacts in India and China so definitely had a buzz for traveling and exploring the world! I remember the audition like it was yesterday! Something that you don’t hear from someone that got the gig, is that I actually got cut, meaning, I didn’t make it to the final round of the audition. I was especially annoyed at this, not because I got cut, but because the last round of the dance audition was a Tap Combination……which is one of my strengths as a dancer!
Months went by and I totally forgot that I even auditioned for Norwegian Cruise lines when I received and email from the Creative Director. I was in a Dance Workshop on the Gold Coast Australia at the time and remember receiving the email just as I walked into the Workshop and knew I wouldn't be able to read it for the next 4 hours! So, for the next 4 hours all I could think about was "did I get it? Didn’t I ? Do they want me? "
Finally I read the email with the heading “Welcome to Norwegian Cruise Line Productions!”
At this time it was March of 2014 and I was flying to Tampa, Florida to commence production rehearsals on May 1st 2014! Throughout rehearsals we learnt 3 full production shows as well us ‘Welcome Aboard Shows’, ‘Sail Away Shows’, ’Farewell Shows’ and we were also part of the Nickelodeon Dance Team onboard. We rehearsed 6 days a week for 6 weeks until it was time to jet off to New York City and board the lovely Norwegian Gem Cruise Ship for the next 6 months!
Because I could blabber on about my Cruise Ship experience for pages on pages, I have created a PROS and CONS list below:
- You get to travel the world and get paid whilst doing it
- It is very easy to save money as you don’t have to pay for things like food/ rent/ other expenses as it is all included
- Stepping off the ship straight online beautiful Islands, beaches and cities you may never of been able to explore before
- Meeting and making life long friends
- Performing shows weekly
- Dancing in front of thousands of people weekly
- There is constantly Buffets open 24/7, which was always great after a huge show day
-Learning shows from multiple choreographers
- Also learning new skills….we were taught Aerial Silks on my ship
- On board privileges - we were able to use all the guest areas such as the Gym/ Spa/ Pool/ Bowling Alley/ Theatre/ Library etc
- Job Security - you know you have a secure job for the next 6 months
- Because I was in the Entertainment Department onboard our ‘uniform’ technically was our costumes….so we were able to wear anything we liked around the ship as long as we had a name tag!
- Crew Parties and Crew Bar! The head of the departments would very often throw crew parties/ movie nights/ karaoke nights which all crew were allowed to attend
- Homesickness - You are away from you family for months at a time, which can be especially hard for some people
- The internet and Phone connections are pretty poor sometimes, especial when you are in a sea storm or are just in the middle of the ocean
- Cabin Size - This one didn’t bother me too much (because I had a great roomie) but yes, the cabin sizes are pretty small
- Long hours! Sometimes we would perform a Welcome Aboard Show + Guest Duties + Sail Away Show + Production Show all in one day
- Sea Sickness/ Rough Seas - I was lucky and didn’t get sick once, but have defiantly seen others suffer from sea sickness *Ginger really helps
- Boat Drills! This was my least favorite duty! Sometimes whilst we were docked at a port the crew would not be allowed to disembark the ship as we would all have to be part of a boat drill! A crazy loud alarm would go off and you would have to find your specific safe area of the ship within a time frame! For some reason it was just the longest thing ever!
- Chlorinated Water - This was especially hard have nice long blonde hair. The shower water was pumped from the sea and then cleaned with chemicals a huge machine as the bottom of the boat. I remember my hair getting pretty damaged by this so my roomie and I would buy bottled water and wash our hair with it a couple times a week!
I hope this list helps you decide whether a Cruise Ship is right for you, or if it is something you are interested in working on in the future. Or if you have only experienced cruise ship life as passenger, I hope this gave you a little insight of what it is like to be a crew member.