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It sounds like a very different experience that you're going to have compared to mine! I shall be following this thread with interest.
 

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8 months is a long time, & I remember from tours past how horns can lose a spring or develop a leak without warning. Does the cruise line provide an instrument technician, or are players responsible for their own tech? Wondering if a few tools & replacement parts would be good things to pack.
We're on our own when we head out to sea. I always take my MusicMedic repair kit with me.
 

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I've gotten a bit hung up on the medical examination process, so I've been waiting. I'll go ahead and post a little about their requirements.

In the U.S., we're required to get a "Seafarers Medical Fitness Examination," performed by a Doctor CANNOT be a Nurse/Practitioner...
There's pretty specific requirements for my cruise line. I needed to use either a "Carnival Approved" doctor, which didn't accept insurance, or I have to pay $160 to have a company called "All Sea Medical" approve my documents, including a copy of the doctors license, etc.

There's a 5-page examination...
The examination asks all kinds of things... an extensive medical history: "Have you ever been diagnosed with..." asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, eye glasses, sleep apnea, tuberculosis, trouble breathing, chest pain, stroke, dizziness or vertigo, memory loss, HIV, Malaria, Rheumatic Fever, Crohn's Disease, Hermorrhoids, Arthritis, Gout, Lupus, Anxiety, Depression, etc? Hospitalized in the last 10 years? Then there's a full body examination with Height, Weight, BMI, Blood pressure, heart exam, blood vessels, hernias, "general appearance" of head, eyes, ears, skin, breast, thyroid, lungs, kidneys, nervous system, abdomen, anus, genitalia, spine, musculoskeletal, an eye exam...

My current question is... Which of these things are deal breakers?
The vaccinations are: Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella (chickenpox) and they drug test for: Amphetamines, Cocaine, Opiates, Phencyclidine, and THC.

If I can, I'll post a blank examination sheet.

-Bubba-
Most lines reimburse for the medical.

My Maritime Medical in Canada was $150 Cdn. Pretty straightforward; good enough that Carnival UK accepted it. The medical for Regent was crazy.
 

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I've heard that some lines are making you take all kinds of courses like fire fighting, captaining the life boat, etc..
You pay out of pocket and they reimburse you. It adds up to around a grand.
STCW training. I was told to work on Regent again that I'd have to take that course. I'd already decided there was no way in hell I was going to do another contract on that line.
 

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Hey Bubba, hope you're safe from Irma. All the best.
 

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FINALLY cleared "Fit for Duty" this weekend! Looking forward to getting the details from the line now.

That seems consistent with what I was told, but I'm looking forward to get more details. I appreciate the offer, I'll let you know if there's anything that comes up!

-Bubba-
Good!

I had an offer to do a two month contract on Cunard, but I turned it down to work on my show.
 

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Just got my ship changed to a 6 month contract out of Miami. Same pay. No rehearsal period.

Two different routes:
Miami -> Georgetown (Grand Cayman) -> Mahogany Bay (Honduras) -> Belize City -> Cozumel
Miami -> Half Moon Cay (Bahamas) -> Charlotte Amalie (St. Thomas) -> San Juan -> Grand Turk

That's a much better selection as far as I'm concerned.

-Bubba-
Not bad, but you'll get bored of the ports pretty fast. I like the P&O contracts, since they'd alternate Caribbean, Mediterranian and Baltic/North Sea ports.
 

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That is very encouraging, having just come back from a cruise where there were no bands to be had. Maybe a piano player, and an acoustic guitar/singer combo... but no bands. The stage shows used canned music. Really, really depressing.
I hope you wrote that on the comment cards at the end of the cruise - they obsess over those things!
 

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Hey Bubba, I’m on the P&O Britannia starting Jan 9. We’re in the Eastern Caribbean.
 

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I’m just back from my seven weeks on Britannia. A couple of new ports for me - Curaçao is very nice!
 

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I’m not sure I’d go back on a cruise ship. The likelihood is that new contracts will include unrelated duties over and above safety responsibilities.

If I went back now, it would be only as a guest entertainer.
 

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Update... I was supposed to leave 2 months ago, but things got delayed. I now leave on the 19th of this month (just 5 days away!) for Miami, and then we'll do the Atlantic crossing.
2 weeks quarantine in a cruise room, 1 month rehearsals. Currently, only "additional duties" I've seen is to sanitize the work area before/after performances-- I can handle that.

Medical process was incredibly frustrating, and incredibly expensive ( forced out of pocket for the majority). I'll happily tell more about it, but only in private.

-Bubba-
I'm curious...
 

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Three months with no shore leave? I wouldn't go back to that. The resident guest ent thing, maybe.
 

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Thanks man, I appreciate the support. At the moment, I'm happily putting together some up-to-date recordings.

I understand it might not be appealing to everyone, especially people at a different point in their career/lives. Keep in mind...
1) I was expecting to go to Europe (nearly 50 ports) for the first time in my life
2) This is my first opportunity to use my doubling skills after 5+ years studying flute/clarinet
3) I've been out of the music business for the last 16 months waiting for gigs to open up.

Sadly, the three months without shore leave is still worth it for me to get some experience (and work during the pandemic). Luckily I still have my guest cabin/balcony, unlike most departments.

-Bubba-
True, a single guest cabin goes a long way.
 

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My buddy our trio's Polish bass player liked to borrow my cabin for passenger trysts.
Strictly verboten these days. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but it's an automatic ticket home.
 

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If you get a chance, I'd also highly recommend building some skills on a rhythm section instrument and eventually exploring the possibility of doing some gigging on that (keys, bass, guitar, or drums). For an arranger/music director/band leader type, it's immensely valuable to have some first-hand experience from that perspective! It's also fun AF. :)
Learning a rhythm section double is a great idea - piano being the best. I’ve ended up playing more jazz gigs as a guitarist, than as a saxophonist of late.
 
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