A couple of years after I first started DJing when I lived in New York, I received a phone call from a talent scout from Carnival Cruise Lines. They were looking to fill a DJ spot on one of their ships for the summer. He mentioned it would be a minimum 6-month commitment and the pay would be $1,000 per month plus room and board on the ship. I told him I’d let him know in a day or two.
At the time, I was single and still living with my parents, so a 6-month stint on a cruise ship seeing the sights and working nights would have been a fun change of pace. All I would need to bring were my records (yes, this is back in the vinyl days), and a few changes of clothes. They would even pay for my round-trip flight between New York and Miami. On the other hand, I’d be away from home for half a year and my growing DJ business would take a major hit. The money was an issue as well, $1,000 a month for working 7 nights a week was barely minimum wage back then, and I thought that after a few weeks it may become tedious doing pretty much the same thing night after night for six months straight. I ultimately called him back and politely turned the offer down. Still to this day, I regret that decision. The “coulda, woulda, shouldas” creep into my mind once in a while, and I wonder what it would it have been like.
I’ve been on several cruises as a passenger since then and have always been intrigued by the day to day workings of the ship, behind the scenes production, and its staff. Last week, we just returned from our third Carnival cruise, and I decided to interview the resident DJ to really see what life is like on board a cruise ship in the year 2015.His name was JC, and he’s originally from Cancun, Mexico. He’s been working on Carnival since 2013, and I could tell by the short time I chatted with him and seeing him at work over the week we were on the ship that he really enjoys his job. His duties include not only being one of two DJs on the ship, but also MCing some of the evening events like the comedy club. Like most cruise ship employees, multi-tasking is part of the job. I asked him what the pros and cons of his job were. A definite plus was that he is allowed to live with his girlfriend on the ship (she also works for Carnival). They both share a cabin. He mentioned that although he usually works 7 days a week for 4 to 6 months at a time, he gets 2 to 3 months off in between contracts. Each employee signs a contract for a few months at a time and can renew after their break. JC also doesn’t have to provide his own music or equipment as Carnival provides everything. Of the few negatives he mentioned, the main one was cabin size which he mentioned was about the size of our guest cabin. Personally, I think I’d go crazy if I had to live in a 100 square foot room with all my belongings for 6 months, but I guess you get used to it. As is always the case on every vacation I take, I ran into some newlyweds who just got married. Mike & Suzy had just tied the knot in St. Thomas that afternoon and were getting back on the ship to continue their combination wedding / honeymoon when I asked them for a photo. They were also one of the couples that were featured on the ship’s “How Well Do You Know Your Spouse” show which was both hilarious and a bit embarrassing for the three couples on the stage that night.
Join me next month when we’ll be visiting one of Colorado’s top wedding venues, Della Terra Mountain Chateau.