Most frequent questions and answers
HOW CAN I APPLY AND WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE DIFFERENT POSITIONS?
Please visit the Jobs & Auditions page of our website, where you will find all the necessary information to apply and the job description, necessary skills, and repertoire.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE AUDITION?
Once your audition is complete we will evaluate your performance and determine what options are available to you. Keep us updated on your availability and we will let you know when we have a job to offer you.
WHICH DOCUMENTS WILL I NEED?
All cruise lines require a valid passport and a medical exam from every employee. As well, almost every nationality must obtain a visa and many must provide a background check. There may be other requirements based on the cruise line and its itinerary, but we will inform you of these details once you have been placed on a ship, and we will help you take care of all the paperwork.
HOW LONG WILL MY CONTRACT BE?
Most contracts last from 4 to 6 months. You shouldn’t expect any amount of time less than four months, but contract length varies based on your position and the particular cruise line. It is often possible to extend your contract, but you can decide that for yourself once you’ve spent some time on board.
WILL I NEED TO BRING MY OWN MUSIC EQUIPMENT?
Yes, most musicians will. Guitarists are required to bring at least one guitar and a pedalboard, as well as enough XLR cables to hook up to an amp; bassists must bring their bass and at least one XLR cable for the same purpose. Neither position is required to bring an amp. Depending on the cruise line, sax players must bring at least one sax, a flute and a clarinet; trumpet and trombone players simply need to bring their horns. Drummers aren’t required to bring a kit, but must bring their own cymbals as well as a hi-hat clutch, sticks, mallets, rods, brushes, etc. Pianists and vocalists aren’t required to bring any gear, although taking along your own keyboard or mic is perfectly acceptable. All musicians should also consider bringing a metronome for practicing purposes.
DO I NEED PASSPORT?
Yes. Every employee needs a valid passport valid to embark.
WHAT KIND OF CLOTHES WILL I NEED?
Bring some comfortable clothes for yourself (shirts, jeans, etc) and some nicer clothing (collared shirts, khakis, dresses) to wear in guest areas. You will almost always need to bring at least one suit (and at least one button-down shirt and tie) or at least one formal dress.
DO I NEED VISA?
Depending on your destination, but we will inform you about everything once you are placed in one spot.
DO I HAVE TO PAY FOR MY FLIGHT TO THE SHIP?
It depends on the company. Some of them will pay for that and others will reimburse your expenses at the middle-end of your contract.
DO I NEED TO PASS A DRUG TEST/PHYSICAL EXAM?
Yes. All musicians must pass a pre-employment physical exam prior to joining. This includes a drug test, blood test & chest X-ray. Usually medical results are ok for two years from the date they’re administered.
WHAT WORK SCHEDULE CAN I EXPECT?
Usually between 3 and 5hours per day. This depends on many things, from the run of the ship and the clientele of the ship to your boss, his boss and the cruise line itself. The maximum number of working hours should be 5, including small breaks in between sets, but often the number is considerably less.
DO I HAVE ANY OTHER DUTIES ONBOARD?
As a crew member, you will be required to assist in safety/emergency drills which will happen once or twice a cruise. Some companies also give you the opportunity to make extra duties in exchange of shared tips for all crew (the amount of the tips it depends of the ship, but we will let you know more or less the quantity).
CAN I PRACTICE ON THE SHIP?
Absolutely. You will have tons of down time and the opportunity to practice on board. There are several crew areas which you can use to practice. You’ll also be surrounded by excellent musicians who you can practice and collaborate with.
CAN I SELL CD’s?
Yes. The CD needs to be professionally done and shrink wrapped in a jewel case. You need the get the CD approved by the Cruise Line’s corporate office prior to selling on board.
CAN I GO IN GUESTS AREAS?
Yes. You will have access to guest areas and the gym during non-peak times. You are not, however; allowed in the pool, casino or a guest’s cabin.
IS THERE LAUNDRY ONBOARD?
Yes. There are coin washers and dryers available in crew areas. Depending on the company you can also have your formal wear dry-cleaned on board.
IS THERE INTERNET ONBOARD?
Yes. There is internet access available 24/7. Some ships have wireless access as well. In either case, internet costs 8-10 cents/minute. There are also internet cafes in many of the ports.
WHICH KIND OF RESTRICTIONS DO WE HAVE ONBOARD?
- The following parts of the ship are off limits to staff members: Casino, passenger cabins, pools.
- Tardiness is not acceptable. When the ship is in port you must return to the vessel before the stated time; usually one hour prior to the ship’s departure. For safety drills, rehearsals, or performances, make sure you are always set up and ready to start before the scheduled start time. If you only arrive at the scheduled start time you are late.
- Passenger interaction is limited to friendly conversation. Physical relationships between crew and passengers are not permitted. Entertainers should always socialize with guests in a professional and respectful manner.
- Slightly improper behavior can lead to disciplinary actions. Grossly improper behavior such as drunkenness, or possession/use of illegal drugs will lead to dismissal or imprisonment.
WHAT ABOUT THE ACCOMMODATION?
Crew members are assigned a crew cabin as soon as they board their vessel. A sideman usually shares a cabin with another musician, while a Band Leader, Musical Director or Guest Entertainer will usually have a single person cabin. We will review all of these details with you when you receive a job offer. Space on ships is a valuable commodity so cabins are usually small and take a bit of getting used to. Cleanliness and personal hygiene must be practiced by everyone, especially in a shared cabin.
WHICH KIND OF EXPENSES WILL I HAVE DURING MY CONTRACT ONBOARD?
Other than the expenses that you will incur while doing your sightseeing and shopping in port, you will have very few expenses during your contract on board. You will have to pay for your internet, phone cards, drinks and store snacks but they come at discounted rates for crew members.
WHAT IS THE ALCOHOL ANS SMOKING POLICY ONBOARD?
Every cruise line has different policies about alcohol and smoking on board. Make sure you understand the rules because drinking too much or smoking in the wrong place could result in you being fired. Showing up drunk to a safety drill, rehearsal or performance is unprofessional and will not be tolerated.
WILL I BE REQUIRED TO PARTICIPATE IN SAFETY DRILLS?
All entertainers are required to participate in passenger and crew boat drills. Drills will teach you how to act if an emergency situation arises. Boat drills happen once per cruise and are compulsory for both crew and passengers. A drill lasts about 20 minutes and is similar to an airplane drill. There are also special training periods for crew, which you must attend. Although cruise ships are extremely safe, take the time to learn how to save your life and that of others in case of emergency. These drills are part of life at sea and are not considered part of your work schedule.
CAN I INVITE FRIENDS OR FAMILY ONBOARD?
Depending on the cruise line’s policy, you might have the privilege to invite friends or family to cruise at discount rates after a certain period of employment.
WHAT IS AN AVERAGE SALARY?
Salaries vary greatly based on the cruise line, your position on board, the instrument you play and the number of years you’ve worked with a certain line. It is also important to keep in mind that it is the cruise line that sets your salary, not us. That being said, salaries for Showband musicians and lounge band members start roughly somewhere between $1,600 and $2,400 per month; soloists can earn anywhere from $2,000 to upwards of $3,000 per month.
HOW AND WHEN DO I GET PAID?
It depends of the company, but probably you will get paid monthly. Usually you get paid directly to your account.
DO I PAY TAXES?
Federal taxes are deducted for US Citizens, however; state taxes are not. If you are a non-US Citizen, it is your responsibility to declare any income made on board.
AM I ALLOWED TO ACCEPT TIPS FROM GUESTS?
Yes. If a guest is enjoying your performance and wishes to give you cash to show his or her appreciation, you can accept it.