Rocking The Boat

August 1, 2008 by Dan Walsh

DJ experiences “changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes” with Princess CruisesAs a DJ, I have always wondered what it would be like to perform in different cities or even in different parts of the world for diverse audiences. I like to stay on my toes and know that I am at the peak of my game-which is entertaining. When I was approached about performing on a cruise ship, I was a little skeptical at first. My first question was why did they want a mobile DJ?

Many of you who have been on cruise ships have experienced the floating nightclub with a DJ. And said DJ probably had limited musical knowledge and performing ability and more than likely performed the same show night after night-leaving you starving for more.

Be Our Guest

Princess Cruises, an innovator in luxury cruises, is once again pioneering onboard entertainment with their unique Guest Entertainer program. In this program, experienced disc jockeys can perform not as a member of the crew, but technically, as a guest. Unlike crew, guest entertainers can interact and socialize with guests both while their working and when their not. Guest Entertainers can also enjoy the exquisite dining facilities, spa facilities, and experience excursions just as a guest would. On the flipside, a Guest Entertainer also gets to use crew facilities such as the crew bar and receive crew discounts on the ship. The purpose of this groundbreaking program is to increase the quality of entertainment available both in the ship’s nightclub(s) and for other onboard activities.

But why mobile DJs? For one, mobiles are used to performing to diverse audiences, which is what a cruise ship is. Being well-versed in every type of music and having good mixing skills are part of the Guest Entertainer job description. Crowd interaction is also a major reason why Princess is leaning toward mobile jocks, because for an average event we are not only taking requests, but giving announcements, reading the crowd, and making conversation with guests. We also know a good bit about their equipment, which could come in handy in the middle of the ocean.

The Voyage Begins

On a bleak Midwestern day, I took off for the sunny shores of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where my ship, the Caribbean Princess, awaited. After clearing security (which is much tighter than at an airport), I went through orientation and was shown to my accommodations. In my room I prepared for what was soon to be one of the best gigs of my life. Here now, I present to you the top ten reasons for joining the Guest Entertainer Program for Princess Cruises:

#10. The Weather

On the dates of my cruise, Des Moines, Iowa (Mobile Beat HQ) was under what might be termed a “Seattle Month.” It was cold, wet and dreary; people were generally depressed. That all changed when I touched down in sunny South Florida and took in the view from the deck. Not only was I no longer moody due to sunlight depletion, I was excited to be doing what I love to do for a whole new audience. Throughout my trip, the weather was great and a nice change. Those jocks from California may be interested in an Alaska cruise, but I was right at home sailing the high Caribbean.

#9. Onboard Events

As those of you who are cruise fans know, there is much to do onboard a ship as big and beautiful as the Caribbean Princess. Aside from general cruisers, special groups may be onboard for weddings, anniversaries, and birthdays. If called upon, Guest Entertainers may perform at weddings and other parties during the day. Talk about an interesting wedding reception!

#8. Entertaining Vacationers

Most of us have dealt with people stressed-out from planning important events in their lives. On a cruise, there is one main objective: to have as much fun as possible. It is an entirely different groove and feels great to be helping people have the best vacation possible. People are relaxed, drinks are flowing, you’re relaxed; the sun is shining (or you’re under a beautiful moonlight glow) and all the worries of normal life are wafted away with the breeze.

#7. Accommodations

Princess takes good care of its crews. The cruise line handles standard airfare to and from the port as well as transportation, in most cases, to and from the airport. Once on the ship, you will be pleasantly surprised at the room and board provided. (Normally GEs enjoy passenger cabins.) Sometimes, as in my case, Guest Entertainers stay in a crew cabin; mine was as comfortable and clean as any passenger berth.

As a guest entertainer, you also have the privilege of using both guest and crew recreation facilities. In the guest areas you can enjoy virtual golf, a full fitness center and spa, movies under the stars, shopping, lounge entertainment and Broadway-style shows. The crew enjoys a crew-only lounge and bar, crew store, and special crew parties.

#6. Poolside Parties

Kenny Chesney once sang, “Now I know how Jimmy Buffett feels,” and that was entirely my attitude when soaking up rays on the ship’s deck. The beautiful scenery everywhere, combined with buffets and a refreshing pool make the poolside party atmosphere hard to beat. As part of your duties as a GE, you may be asked to perform at these events.

#5. The Food

Studies have actually shown that a major reason people go on cruises is the outstanding cuisine. From the formal dining rooms to the 24-hour buffet to the onboard steak house, there are a lot of great options for nourishment. As a GE, you can dine in whatever facility you choose, with whomever you would like, which makes the experience all the better.

#4. Vacationing While You Entertain

Sailing and entertaining aboard a cruise ship is a great way to spend your “dead” time as a mobile DJ. All of the distractions from daily life are gone; you are making great cash; and almost all of you everyday living expenses are suspended. If your true passion is DJing, doing it while on you’re vacation should re-energize you for life in general.

#3. Port Excursions

I have always wanted to travel and do things beyond the normal grind, as well as see things that I may never have the chance to see again. As a Guest Entertainer, you have the opportunity to go on excursions with guests when arranged in advance. You can swim with stingrays, see the Turk Islands on a motorcycle, or snorkel on a coral reef. Also, the shopping in a lot of ports is diverse and often cheaper than anything you will find around home.

#2. Free Travel

As mobile DJs we may think we “travel” a lot, but as a GE you wake up either at sea or in a different port every morning, in some of the world’s most exotic locales. Besides the airfare to get you there and the excursions to keep you entertained, Princess also covers your meals-which essentially means you’re traveling for free. Actually, it’s better than free, because you receive a healthy paycheck for a job well done and little or no heavy lifting!

#1. Rocking the Boat All Night Long

Not only are you entertaining people on vacation, you are the official party director in he most exclusive onboard nightclub, in my case, the Skywalker Lounge. The lounges on Princess are unique, as they are on the extreme aft (rear) part of the boat. Featuring nearly 270 degrees of viewing, the lounge has a panoramic atmosphere that cannot be summed up in this limited space. Rocking the crowd at a hundred feet above the sea while sailing under the stars is a unique experience that must be lived to be appreciated. I certainly won’t forget it for as long as I live.

There you have it-my top ten reasons to sail with Princess Cruises as a part of their groundbreaking Guest Entertainer Program. It was a shipful of fun. As I told my guests, see you next time, off the coast of somewhere beautiful!

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Dan Walsh Dan Walsh (89 Posts)


Filed Under: Issues from 2008, Profiles