Many of my friends and colleagues have been sharing stories of their adventures performing dueling pianos on cruise ships all over the world with me for years. It sounded like a blast, so I decided to give it a try for myself.
I got the opportunity to work on a cruise in the eastern Caribbean for 3 weeks earlier this summer. It was the perfect situation for me, because I was partnered up with 2 incredible musicians and entertainers, and my parents and husband were able to join me on the ship for the second week of my contract.
The first couple of days were pretty overwhelming. After a long and VERY early flight to Miami, I was whisked aboard and immediately escorted to a lecture room where we spent several hours in safety training as crew members. I'll tell you this much, if you go on a Norwegian cruise, you can be confident that your safety is in very good hands. So much so, that it would take me about 10+ hours to tell you all the reasons why, but I'll spare you the details. The next obstacle was finding my way around the ship without getting completely lost. The passenger areas are vast enough, but the crew areas are just as expansive, and IT ALL LOOKS THE SAME! It was a difficult task for a directionally challenged person like myself, but with a lot of help from fellow crew members and a lot of staring at a map, I finally started to get a grasp of where I was going by the middle of week 3 or so.
Once I completed safety training and got settled in, the fun began. As dueling piano entertainers, we had access to most of the ship and were able to enjoy many of the same amenities as the passengers. The food was ever-flowing the other entertainment on board was world class. It was also incredible to become friends with people from all over the world. After two days at sea, we finally got to perform. The crowds that came to our shows were some of the most fun I've had the pleasure to play for. People on vacation tend to really let loose and embrace a good time, which is absolutely perfect for our interactive style. As if all of this wasn't enough, I got to hang out in some breathtakingly beautiful scenery in the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, and the Bahamas. Not too shabby. What's more, I got to share the whole experience with family.
I enjoyed the whole thing so much that I decided to do it all again next year. I'm so thankful for the opportunities that my work has afforded me. I think I'll keep riding this crazy rollercoaster for as long as I am able.