Happy New Year! I hope everyone is doing well. I am loving life on the ship. I play four or five 30-, 45-, or 60-minute sets a day (six days a week), and the rest of the time I explore the boat, learn new songs and go to various training sessions on ship safety, and customer service.
I don’t really remember much about the first night - I was so exhausted and overwhelmed I spent most of it wishing it were over. But thanks to the guy who danced along to my Jethro Tull, the guy who rocked out to my Pearl Jam, and the five-year-old girl who sang “You Are My Sunshine” with me, I survived. I finished just in time to join my new coworkers for a champagne toast to the New Year. Then I slept for 11 hours.
Our first port was Oranjestad, Aruba on Tuesday 3 January. I went to a bar to check my e-mail and eat some mediocre calamari. I didn’t notice that we had gained an hour in Aruba or that my phone had changed time so, of course, I started my evening sets an hour early. That wouldn’t have been so bad had it not meant I had to play an extra set that evening because whatever is printed in the daily guest newsletter is what must be! I forgot about “ship time” for what will be the last time.
The following day we stopped in Willemstad, Curaçao. I’ve never seen a place more charming in its colonialism. It is like a miniature European capital set against nature’s tropical backdrop. And the food was much better than in Aruba. I look forward to returning there in March.
Our next stop was Grand Turk Island. The water was pristine!! But that’s about the only impressive thing about the place. I needed to buy black shoes so I caught a taxi to the “shopping centre,” which was a row of about six stalls, all featuring some sort of artisanal souvenir like hand-carved coasters in the shape of Grand Turk and hand-woven scarves with the name of the island printed on them. I told the taxi driver I was looking for black shoes and he laughed, and drove me back to the tourist shops at port. I spent the rest of the time in port dining with some passengers who’d wanted to treat some of the ship musicians to lunch at Margaritaville. That place is insane! It has its own pool and a DJ to emcee the party. I enjoyed watching the couples dance to Smokey Robinson, and the frozen margaritas were yummy.
I’ve been onboard thirteen days, and I’m much more comfortable with my sets. I take requests, and if I can’t play the song immediately, I’ll download it and look up the lyrics so I can play it for the guests before they leave the ship.
I really enjoy the kids who come to listen and dance. They’ve been teaching me a lot of new songs. And the highlight so far has to be playing “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” outside above the pool while the sun was setting asea.
I’m looking forward to Puerto Rico and St. Maarten next week!
Here are my set lists from 01/09/17:
Dizzy, Tommy Roe
No Such Thing, John Mayer
Breaking the Girl, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Melissa, The Allman Brothers
Never Gonna Fall in Love Again, Tom Jones
This Charming Man, The Smiths
Round Here, Counting Crows
For What it’s Worth, Buffalo Springfield
Tell the Truth, Otis Redding
Kashmir, Led Zeppelin
Why Don’t You Love me Like You Used to Do, Hank Williams
All Along the Watchtower, Jimi
Mothers’ Little Helper, The Stones
Runaway, Del Shannon
Teen Angel, Mark Dinning
Since I Don’t Have You
Kiss, Prince/Willie and the Hand Jive
Baby, Can I Hold You Tonight, Tracy Chapman
Amalia Rosa, Tony Croatto
Warm on a Cold Night, Honne
You Always Hurt the One You Love, Brenda Lee
Shine on You crazy Diamond, Pink Floyd
These Arms of Mine, Otis Redding
Rocket Man, Elton John
Sweet Caroline, Neil Diamond
Wagon Wheel, Darius Rucker
Honesty is No Excuse, Thin Lizzy
Warm Like Summer, Braids
You Already Knew That, Ro James
Walking After Midnight, Patsy Cline
Sunshine of Your Love, The Cream
Hurricane, Levon Helm/Sandman, America
Novocaine for the Soul, The Eels
Going Mobile, The Who
Grandpa, The Judds
Gimme One Reason, Tracy Chapman
Tuff Enuff, The Fabulous Thunderbirds
Ferry Cross the Mersey, Gerry & The Pacemakers
Here I Go Again, Whitesnake
Watcha See Is What You Get, The Dramatics
Both Hands, And Difranco
Ride, Twenty One Pilots
Everlong, Foo Fighters
Et Maintenant, Gilbert Bécaud
Coffee in Bed, Squeeze
Angel from Montgomery, Bonnie Raitt