Cruising in Style with DJ Dayna

October 6, 2017 by Michael Cordeiro

The much anticipated Mobile Beat DJ cruise is only six weeks away in November. I’ve published several in depth articles about entertainment life on a cruise ship. These articles focused on the hiring process, ship life, DJ duties on board and the role of the Entertainment Director and Cruise Director. I thought this series needed to get one more very important perspective – a ladies’ point of view and experience. I turned to MBLV on camera Host / writer and world traveling DJ Dayna Solomon for insight.

Mike C: What attracted you to working on cruise ships?
DJ Dayna: I love to travel and really wanted to do something different as part of my DJ career. Working on cruise ships offers different challenges and experiences vs. “land gigs”.

Mike C: When was your first cruise and on what ship?
DJ Dayna: In 2013 on the Disney Fantasy. It was a two week contract.

Mike C: Wow, Disney. Did you have to go through all the strict training Disney has for its employees?
DJ Dayna: They do have rules and guidelines for all the entertainers, but I wasn’t actually hired by Disney.

Mike C: How did you get the gig?
DJ Dayna: Through a third party booking agency that handles booking entertainment for different cruise lines.

Mike C: Other cruise lines have you sign on for 3-6 months as a full time cruise staff DJ. How did you get such a short gig?
DJ Dayna: ​The shorter contracts are arranged between the cruise lines and the third party booking company. Since my position is a “Guest DJ Entertainer” and not Crew, my contract and responsibilities are different.  I’m really fortunate to have the opportunity!

Mike C: Did you have to share a cabin or stay in the crew area?
DJ Dayna: No, I had my own cabin (thankfully) and I had full guest privileges.

Mike C: How many sets a day did you do?
DJDayna: It varie​s, depending on the ship.  Could be anywhere​ from one to three s​ets. Some were several hours long, others just an hour. On average 3-5 hours a day around 30 hours a week give or take.​

Mike C: What other ships or cruise lines have you worked on?
DJ Dayna: I have worked on 9 ships total so far.  In addition to Disney, I’ve worked on
Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Crystal Cruise ships.

Mike C: Which cruise was your favorite?
DJ Dayna: That’s tough.  They ​each have their highlights and were all fun​ in their own way​ but I have say the Crystal Cruise contract ​was the coolest from an itinerary perspective.

Mike C: How so?
DJ Dayna: We left out of L.A. and went to ​9 ports in ​Mexico, 3 ​Hawaiian islands​ and then all the way up the west coast to Vancouver. It was a smaller luxury cruise ship, so overall it was a different experience compared to the other larger cruise ships. I ​also ​had a gorgeous private suite​ with a balcony which was awesome​! And the food was fantastic!

Mike C: Sounds amazing. I’m getting jealous. Did you have to bring your own gear? Carnival issues their house DJ’s laptops and Pioneer controllers.
DJ Dayna: Most of the ships ha​ve​ gear onboard and back ups. So, ​I just bring my laptop, headphones and music. A few times I had to bring my controller.

Mike C: Did you ever experience any odd situations being a female DJ on the ships?
DJ Dayna: Not really. ​Besides getting hit on by an occasional drunk passenger, which is always entertaining, I think most people react ​in a positive way when they see a female in the DJ booth​ instead of a guy​!​ In the end, we are​ all DJs and we’re ​t​here to do one job​, make sure guests let loose and have the vacation of their lifetime.​

Mike C: Do you ever get seasick?
DJ Dayna: ​L​uckily, no​t too much​. There were a few cruises where the water got a little rough and my stomach was – ugh! ​ And you just feel off overall and want to lay down.  But I do pack ginger pills and sea bands, so those help a lot with the symptoms.

Mike C: How many cruises a year do you do?
DJ Dayna: ​In the beginning I did quite a bit with the shorter 2 week contracts, now only 1 month contracts are offered and as my business started growing here in Ohio, I realized the importance of having balance.  So, I’m ​only ​doing 1-2 a year. I try to squeeze them in around the busy season and preferably when it’s winter! haha​

Mike C: What’s the pay like?
DJ Dayna: It depends on ​the agreed upon rate with the cruise lines and/or booking company. The pay is good but not “great”. You have to remember it’s a trade off. You’re getting free food, a room and the chance to travel. You work a few hours a day and the rest is yours to enjoy.

Mike C: I guess you could think of it as a working vacation?
DJ Dayna: Exactly. On some of the cruises you’re allowed to bring a guest​ for one of the weeks, which is nice to have for family and friends to enjoy the experience with you.

Mike C: That’s a plus. What advice would you give to DJ’s looking to get into cruising?
DJ Dayna: Take a cruise first, if you haven’t done so, to see if you like it. Shadow the DJ on board and ask questions.

Mike C: That makes sense. No point trying to get a cruise gig if you hate being on a boat. What’s a good resource to find out about cruise gigs?
DJ Dayna:  I belong to a Facebook group called Traveling DJ’sSo, you can​ join them and see the postings when they come available​. You can also apply directly with the cruise lines.  The Guest DJ Entertainer position with shorter contracts is harder to come by, so most of the bookings you will see offered are going to be the 3 to 6-month contracts.

Note: Remember that working on a cruise ship means being away from home and family for an extended period of time. It’s an amazing experience, but it’s not for everyone. If you are serious about learning and experiencing cruise life, sign up for the DJ cruise on the Carnival Sensation this November. There’s still time! You can bring your family too!

For more info check here:


Michael Cordeiro Michael Cordeiro (56 Posts)

Mike Cordeiro is the owner of M.C. Entertainment. A small RI multi-op. Mike got his start in the entertainment field while stationed in Frankfurt Germany in 1990. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Entertainment & Event Management from Johnson & Wales University and has appeared on TLC’s Four Weddings, hosted an episode of Toddler’s & Tiaras, and does background acting for movies.

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