The other day I got to sit down with Jason, the ‘piano man,’ of the Carnival Glory. He answered a few questions that I had about life at sea. I thought I would pass this question and answer session on to you.
What is your position? On board entertainer …. ‘piano man’
Tell us a little about yourself? I was born and raised in Jamaica, but now
living in TN for the past 7 years. I’ve playing the piano for the past 15 years, and have been on and off with Carnival since January 2001.
Do you do anything besides play piano on a nightly basis? Basically, my job is as a piano bar entertainer. It’s a bit more than playing the piano and singing, but bring humor and fun to the lounge.
How long are your contracts? The standard contract length is 6 or 8 months at a time, but because of my particular gig, it varies. I normally won’t do longer than 4 months, but I’ve been doing mostly 8 week contract this year. It’s quite a challenge for Carnival to keep good piano bar entertainers on, so we usually get to call the shots on how long we want to stay on for.
How is life below the deck? Life below deck, contrary to what people think, is NOT an ongoing party. Basically it’s just sleeping quarters and dining rooms and crew offices. We do have a crew bar that’s open every night, but only stays open until 1:30am. Most crew members are still at work at that time, including myself.
With over 50 nationalities on board, is there a language barrier? We do normally have crew from more than 50 different nationalities, but I can’t say that language barrier has been an issue. Everyone has a at least minimal English skills, and people are normally quite good about talking slowly and clearly.
What do you do on port days? I normally just find local food and hang out with friends. I’ve been to most of the ports many times before, so I’ve already done all the touristy stuff.
What are the perks? You get to visit a lot of places that some people can only dream of, and one of my favorite is that I get to meet some really cool people from all over the world.
Any disadvantages? The main dissadvantage is that you are always gone and sometimes you miss the simple things of everyday life on land. You are away from family and friends and you miss all the holidays with them.
Any advice for people wanting to work on a cruise ship? I think most people would enjoy working on a cruise ship, but there are a few things they need to consider; there are a lot of rules you have to abide by, and a lot of safety classes that you have to do. Also, unlike the real world, the workplace rules apply even when you are off duty. That’s kinda tough to get used to, but in general I’d say that the benefits outweigh the bad. It is not a job for everyone! Plus it’s way different for a piano bar entertainer than a cook. Some jobs require 10 hr shifts, everyday!!!