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Careers: Cruise Ships


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Does anyone have any info regarding being a dancer/singer-type person on a cruise ship? How does one audition? Is it a "good" gig to have? How difficult is it to get in? How does performances/rehearsals work? Is the pay poor/average/superior to that of a normal land dancer. Is it fun? Any info or outlets to info is appreciated!



Edited by Chronus24
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Carter, look for audition announcements in the theater trade papers like Backstage. Friends of mine who have worked cruise ships have told me that it's an enjoyable booking, and the pay is decent for the amount of work involved.

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A number of my former students have worked on them and loved it! One of them was on for 8 years, non-stop, although usually they like people to work for a length of time, take a break for a few weeks or months, then come back. One of my students ultimately became cruise director, and has been all over the world a number of times on 5 star ships. It's a great gig, especially if you love to travel and love ships! :) The work is not that hard and there are a lot of perks.

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You can also check playbill.com for calls. It may have less listings than backstage, but its free and over time you get an idea of who the agents are that do the casting most of whom have websites thta will list auditions.


My DD really wants to do the cruise ship scene, but is many years away in age but she has been following them.

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Awesome, thanks for the info! Any idea exactly what kind of shows they do? I'd imagine there is alot of musical theater type stuff and that's cool cause I like thats stuff as well, but do they ever do any ballet stuff (Nutcracker scenes around Xmas time, Excerpts from "blah-de-blah" ballet, ect.)?

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I believe that they generally do Broadway Musicals and Reviews. I have been on one cruise and they did Barnum for several shows during the week, and then another Review with a lot of song and dance and some specialty acts. There was also a very well known guest performer who was featured in the Reviews.

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one of my students surprised me by doing this, too.


she auditioned in australia a few years ago, and has since been based in new orleans and galveston, doing cruises in the bahamas. she absolutely LOVES it, and, since she has been back a few times and come to say hello, i can tell you it has been the making of her. i think she was about 18 when she went. maybe 19. she went a girl and has come back a vivacious and confident young lady.


she does three shows a day, i believe, and also has some other duties socialising with the passengers. her parents got a free cruse on a ship she was on, (after paying the $6,000 to get to and from the states!). since her parents had actually MET on a cruise ship, where he had been the ship's engineer, they are thrilled by all these developments.


i am so impressed now by her social confidence and how muchshe genuinely enjoys the work and the camaraderie with the other performers and crew.


her dance skills were sort of what i would call 'commercial' - she would never have made a ballet dancer. she had no singing training. she liked jazz dance best, and was also very good at playing a character/acting/dramatic skills. she is of average height - and doesn't have a womanly figure. rather, she is dancer-skinny, but i guess she must have enough shape to fill the costumes! she is not overly pretty or in any way striking, but probably looks reasonably good in make-up.


she shares a flat on land with another dancer, and seems to get by OK, financially, so the pay must be allright. i know there is a heirarchy of 'better' ships/'better' positions to work your way up through. she is with - i always forget which one - it is either carnival cruises or caribbean cruise line.


hope this helps, as, for her, it has been the dream job - and her first job, ever. i feel unexpectedly proud to have played a part in helping her achieve a goal which is giving her so much happiness.

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On the Holland America cruise we took this summer, there was a "chat with the dancers" at the end of the cruise and after a question and answer session you could go backstage to meet them. Several were jazz dancer/singers however a couple had excellent ballet training and one was on hiatus from Ballet Idaho. Most of the numbers had a musical theater feel and there was a night of Broadway songs.

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