Play Music on a Cruise Ship: Is This Your Dream?

Many high school and college music students aspire to play music on a cruise ship. Whether for a summer or a year or more, what’s it really like to pursue this as a career and a lifestyle?

We spoke with Josh Greenberg, a recent music school grad from the midwest, who is living the dream.

What is your educational background for working on a cruise line?

I started out as a music education major but graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in performance from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. While growing up, my mentors emphasized that being a musician these days means having the ability to professionally perform on a variety of instruments. I studied clarinet and bassoon while in college and picked up flute. I also studied classical and jazz saxophone.  After graduation, I continued my education at the University of Minnesota, Duluth for a degree in saxophone performance, and certification in K-12 education.

After a year of graduate school, I found myself in financial hardship. I decided to hit the high seas to make money and gain experience.

What made you decide to work on a cruise ship?

Performing on a cruise ship has been a part of my life goals and plans for awhile now because it is one of the last frontiers where musicians can earn a decent salary plus health insurance while living and working well. I’m able to perform many different genres of music while being able to practice whatever I’m passionate about in my off time. While the Air Force, Army, Marine, and Navy bands also hire for symphonic bands, the cruise ship commitment is much shorter.

Cruising is a great lifestyle when you are young and want to travel. But you pay the price of changing your lifestyle, which is why performers usually do not stay long.

How does one apply to work on a cruise ship?

I applied by sending an email to one of the bookers for the cruise line itself.  There are many different companies that do talent finds for cruise companies around the world, but many of their business practices have been controversial. Some require you to sign a contract that forbids you from engaging in any similar business within three years of your current contract. This leaves you unable to work as a free agent after signing a contract with any company with this sort of policy.

It is easier to either have an independent agent who works for you, or be a complete free agent and find your own work. As a free agent, I find my own work and avoid having to pay someone to do that for me.

What’s the audition process like?

The audition and application process is kind of funny and extremely weird the first time around. They email you PDF files followed by a phone call. They give you ten minutes to look over the music, and then the audition process starts.

As a saxophonist, I had my sax, clarinet and flute ready. The folks auditioning you typically have you put the phone on speaker or place the receiver close to the instruments. Then they ask you to read certain passages from the music (both classical and jazz genres). If you are going for an improvisation chair, they will ask you to solo over a blues outline.

How soon do you hear whether you’ve gotten the job?

If you are auditioning with a company representative, you will know right after the audition if you will be offered a contract. If you are going through an agency, it may take longer and you may be asked to submit a video as well.

And how long is the contract for?

After you get hired, the average contract for a musician is six to nine months depending on the company that you work for. Vacation fills are usually just six to eight weeks, but require you to bounce around between different ships (which can be frustrating). Like the water you’re sailing on, the job is very nomadic: always moving and not really ever staying put. But if you are working directly through a company, you are likely to be offered a contract back onto that same ship.

What is a typical work day like for you?

A typical work day usually entails playing one or two shows plus maybe a dance set. Different companies have different practices, however. It doesn’t matter if no one shows up; you play what’s in the schedule.

Besides the dance sets, there are jazz jams and working with guest entertainers (artists who usually come onboard at the end of one cruise and perform that cruise and the beginning of the next cruise). We also perform with production shows commissioned for the ship. These shows typically involve a mixture of live musicians with tracks. The musicians play to something called a “click track” –– a metronome track that plays through the headphones of all the members in the pit.

What about the challenges?

The main challenges I’ve found are these:

1. Working as a musician on a cruise ship can be frustrating due to the diverse knowledge of the musicians. The overpublished number of lead sheets and books like “The Real Fakebook,” “The Real Really Really Real Book,” and the “Standard of Standards”  have made things overly complicated for jam sessions. Musicians from different countries have tunes memorized in different keys and have learned those from different publishers.

If you plan to play music on a ship, bring a RealBook –– and I mean the one known as the RealBook (all of you music students reading this will know what I am talking about).

2. Also improve your sightreading and practice sightreading before taking a gig like this. You’re likely to read over 200 charts a week and rehearsals for guest entertainers are only an hour and a half long for a 45-minute show. You need to be able to read down music, scoring at least a “B” average or better (i.e., 80% or higher) to keep your performing skills compatible with other musicians. Continuous mistakes will lead to disciplinary action based on what company you work for, and could lead to termination of the contract and being blacklisted from being hired for awhile or forever.

3. A word of advice for woodwind players:  if you are getting hired to play other woodwind instruments like clarinet and flute, you better be able to play the normal written range of the instruments. Otherwise, you contract is bound to be short-lived. They don’t expect you to be able to sit down and play like Benny Goodman or Eddy Daniels when you are a tenor saxophonist, but you better be able to play senior (college) to graduate school-level on the doubles.

4. Depending on what company you work for, you may be assigned duties such as port manning (where you are basically on watch and greeting guests) to entertainment productions on the ship. There is also likely to be a clause in your contract –– a “need clause” –– stating that in an emergency, you may be asked to perform additional duties as needed.

What’s the value of a college education for this line of work?

The education you receive in music school gives you the social and professional training necessary for this work. The music theory, arranging, and efficient practicing skills you gain will all pay off while working as a musician on a ship.

You may be asked to arrange something for the group. Perhaps the charts the guest artist has given out are completely wrong and unplayable and need to be re-written. Music theory allows you to speak in the jargon needed to make sure all the musicians are on the same page. This prevents wasted time and assures less confusion during rehearsals.  These are the reasons why a proper music education is needed to be successful and a college education gives you more than knowledge, but rather the experiences in college allows you to deal with social and professional aspect of being a musician.

From your experience, who would not survive this kind of work?

The cruise ship job is not for everyone. You are basically a nomad for at least six to ten months.  If you are not able to cope with distance and extended time away from family, if you get overly stimulated and burned out from being around people all the time and cannot relax, this job is not for you.

In summary, what are the top reasons to work on a cruise ship?

You learn life skills when living on a ship, including how to deal with people. You have to learn how to let things not get to you because of how close you are living to all your co-workers. Unlike on land, you can’t avoid seeing people you don’t get along with. So this is a great place to learn patience. The business of music is all about politics and people and what they like. Working on a cruise ship teaches you to work with people in close proximity on a daily basis.

Traveling on ships and working with people from around the world is amazing. You get to use your talent while gaining professional experience to put on your résumé. If you want to travel, enjoy dealing with people from other cultures, and would love to experience the world from different perspectives, this job is right up your alley.

Josh Greenberg loves traveling around the world as a professional musician on a cruise ship. He received a bachelor of arts degree in performance from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and spent a year at the University of Minnesota, Duluth working on a degree in saxophone performance and certification in K-12 education.


  1. Jacqueline

    Hi Josh; thanks for sharing your info about performing on cruise ships. It was every enlightening. I notice that there was nothing said about how old or young can you be to perform on the ships. I am a well accomplished pianist and vocalist and thinking about venturing out. Just curious. Thanks

    • We suggest that you check with entertainment companies that specialize in cruise line entertainment (some lines have this function within the line itself) – a number of these companies are located in Florida. In view of the demands on cruise line entertainers as well as the lodging provided them, this is often more appealing work for younger musicians who are highly proficient musicians and also extremely adept at sight reading or sight singing.

  2. Brenda

    In this article you spoke a lot about instrumental music and not really anything on vocalists. I am a singer and will be graduating college in May and am looking for back-up ideas for my music ed degree if I don’t get a teaching job. Would the requirements and process be similar for a singer as it is for an instrumentalist?

    • We do not yet have any articles on vocal music on cruise ships but we suggest you contact cruise line entertainment directors as well as independent entertainment companies that focus on staffing cruise ships to learn more.

  3. Vianey

    I just stumbled upon this article because I have been researching cruise ship gigs. What are the possibilities of playing valve trombone? I just graduated with a music performance degree on euphonium and I am pretty good at valve trombone. I’ve played a lot of jazz and my sight reading is very solid but I have no idea if valve trombone would be acceptable. I can do every thing a trombone can minus really long glisses. What do you think the chances are of getting a cruise ship gig?

  4. Josh – great article! It certainly sums it up well. I am a recruiter for Flagship Entertainment – we prepare each musician for the gig in a way that no other agency does; with tons of information, prep materials, and insight that comes from first-hand experience.

    Anyone interested in cruise ship life or those want to know more information can contact us. We are currently seeking sight-reading musicians (Keys, Trumpet, Trombone, Bass, Guitar, and Drums) to join the theatre orchestras or show bands on board.

    Thanks for a great article!
    Valeria Maksymchyk
    Entertainment Specialist
    Flagship Entertainment, LLC

  5. Gaston

    I’m a young solo Pianist/Signer/Guitarist, and would like to get into the cruise ships. I have no idea on where to start. I would really like to talk to someone in person to guide me into getting contracts… I live in Canada but I am ready to relocate almost anywhere in the world.

    • Start by reading the other article linked on this page – the “Know Before You Go” article. Then start exploring the websites of cruise lines to get a handle on what their processes are. Note that there are also cruise entertainment companies that help staff cruise ships. You can find them by researching online.

  6. Michael

    This article is a nice insight, and I was considering doing it myself one day soon… However my sight reading is rather poor as I haven’t been educated in music theory to a significant extent… I have been playing Guitar for 11 years and Bass/Drums for 10 years each. MY fear is that places like these would overshadow certain talents if the sight reading isn’t up to scratch. I have been helping out as a musician at open mic nights in Southampton, UK, for the last 2 years and have a plethora of music that I can play on multiple instruments from multiple genres and I am a fast learner.

    My main questions I guess are:

    1. Is sight reading an issue? i.e, do you have to sight read?

    2. What hours do musicians tend to work? and are there any days off?

    3. Where does your musical equipment get stored? i.e, bass guitar(s) and amplifier(s)

    4. What happens if you develop sickness on cruises like these?

  7. Kim

    I’ve completed 2 contracts on NCL, will be starting another on a different line in a few months. My gig is as a solo lounge entertainer, which is quite different from the show band — I prepare my own act (which admittedly contains many songs that people expect to hear and/or request) and have no supervisor dictating musical choices (though of course I do have bosses: the Cruise Director, and possibly his/her assistants). I typically play 4 hours per night, 6 nights per week, and when it’s busy I don’t like to take breaks, so it can be hard on the voice. But, as Josh wrote, ships are one of the few remaining venues one can perform so frequently. Solo players typically have the privilege of a single cabin, which is of extremely high value — I actually wouldn’t work on ships if I had to share, as daily time to work alone on musical projects is as important to me as performing, and also just being able to lock one’s door and be alone is priceless. But, if you’re young and cool with not having your own space, it can still be worthwhile — everyone is different.

    • We do not recommend one cruise line over another (other folks please chime in though). We will however be posting an excellent new interview in the next few weeks with a cruising percussionist with lots of useful information. Stay tuned!

  8. Karl

    I quit music school because I was bored. I was frustrated because i was a better player than my professors and all I wanted to do was play. I never wanted to teach so a music ed degree was pointless and a performance degree was a waste of $ in my mind back then. My first cruise ship job was 20+ years ago.The band leader, a trombonist, was horrible. I let him know it and only spoke what others were saying behind his back. I ended up being fired. The agent said the reason was that “there is only room for one band leader on stage.” As a saxophonist, I felt my knowledge, abilities, and stage presence was more valuable than his. He was just a better ass kisser as that is all he knew how to do. This type of business is very political. It’s all about who to stroke, how to stroke their ego, etc. I left, formed my own band and was very successful doing the Nevada casino circuit and ski resort circuit. I’ve worked with Colin Hay, Sheena Easton, David Cassidy, John Harner, Jonny Leytle, Jon Faddis, Norris Turney, Gene Harris, and more. Eventually the loose lifestyle burned me out and I decided i wanted to stay married more than I wanted to travel and play music. Now I work with my 14 year old son who is fluent on piano, guitar, 6 string bass, clarinet and saxophone. At his age he is better on sax and clarinet than I was when I entered college. My goals now are to make sure his goals of a music ministry degree is fulfilled. Proud dad!

    • Jaime

      I am a older pianist. I’m 63. After working as a piano/choir teacher for 30+ years, I retired. My kids are grown and gone. That leaves my wife and me alone and I’m interested in playing on cruise lines as a classical/jazz/pop piano soloist. My sight reading is so-so, but I have an extensive repertoire. Are there gigs that ask for soloists who play for calmer, older crowds (seniors)? Point being, would it be worth my time?

  9. Diane

    Thank you for the wonderful article! I am currently studying Cruise Ship Management and will be graduating next year but I want to play the piano. I am pretty sure that I’ll be busy right after graduation and have no time for playing piano. There are no music schools nearby. I can’t afford piano lessons and studying at the same time. I’m planning to go to music school after a few years of working in the ship and get back working there as a pianist after graduating in the music school. But I was just wondering if music schools require enrollees to know how to play the desired instrument to be qualified in the schools. Do they? Thanks!

    • The only generalization we can make with certainty is that no two music schools are alike. Each has its own application and audition requirements. There are also differences in proficiency expectations at liberal arts colleges vs. music departments vs. conservatories. If you are wanting to get a Bachelor of Music degree, you will be required to audition on an instrument you are already capable of performing on at a certain level of proficiency. At many schools, the requirement is the same for the Bachelor of Arts degree. Minoring in music and declaring music as your major at many liberal arts colleges is different. But again, you would need to check the requirements at schools you’re interested in to learn about their specific requirements for acceptance.

      Learn more about the difference between music degrees in this article: Music Degrees – Reviewing the Options. Note that a number of music schools do not require proficiency on an instrument for acceptance into their music industry programs.

  10. Curtis

    I am a well rounded musician and have been playing all my life .The styles I play are jazz, reggae R&B, blues and some country.I have spent many years on the road playing and I am interested in working on a cruise ship .

    • MajoringInMusic

      We suggest you contact cruise lines directly to inquire about their process for selecting musicians. You can also research entertainment companies that hire musicians to work on cruise lines.

  11. Steve

    I have a brass quintet. We’ve been together for three years and have performed about 50 times for senior centers, libraries, festivals, commercial events etc. We play a wide variety of traditional music, classical, patriotic, dixieland, marches, ragtime, a lot of Canadian Brass arrangements.

    Musicians are all married, retired, good community players. Audiences enjoy hearing us. Might their be any chance of us performing on a cruise ship, something out of the east coast for a 5 to 7 day cruise, maybe a couple of hours each day. We would be willing to purchase tickets for the cruise for a group of at least 10 passengers. We would not need any compensation (although this might be nice).

    Might there be anyway to do this?

    • MajoringInMusic

      Contact cruise lines directly to find out about their process for selecting musicians. Each has its own rules and regs regardless of whether you’d be willing to pay your own way. Also, research entertainment companies that hire musicians to work on cruise lines. Even though they may appear to be casual, musicians on cruise ships are under contract and are required to work in very specific ways. The terms of the contract may include non-musical responsibilities as well.

  12. Malcolm

    Hello Josh, and thank you clearing up a lot of the mystery a associated with turning this dream into a reality. I have worked lounges and private parties and weddings as a solo singer pianist.. Though I could probably come up with a book of 300 multi genre my sight reading consist of following the guitar chords above the lyrics and filling out the song with melody and embellishment etc. Would I get turned away at an audition for my lack of sight ready ability? What songs are essential for singer pianists on a cruise line. is their still demand for oldies. Is an agent the best way to be represented.

  13. Wil

    I’ve just been hired for my first cruise gig as a show band bassist for NCL next year. Any thoughts on what I should be doing to prepare? I’m asking about the technical aspects, i.e. how I should pack, what to expect once onboard, etc. Also, do you have any insight or know anyone that does as to whether I should bring my upright as well as my electric, or just use the upright provided (if there is in fact one)? I’ve heard that the provided equipment can sometimes be less than stellar!

    • The best way to find out how your particular cruise line handles things is to check with the entertainment director and, if possible, talk with some current and past musicians. We like the information that offers around cruse ship musician jobs. Some of it may be a bit outdated but, in general, it should provide you with good food for thought. We hope your experience is worthwhile and hope you’ll consider sharing it with us once you’re aboard!

  14. Margarita

    Hi Josh. You have such wonderful experience with all ups and downs. Would you explain to me, please: is that kind of piano job for men only? Is there a chance to work as a pianist on cruise ship as female, even 50+ y.o.? Thank you very much for your reply.

    • Research and then contact cruise ship entertainment directors to learn more about their specific requirements. Your training, experience, and extent of repertoire will all be important considerations.

  15. Diane


    My son is going for his first cruise. It’s one month long and he’s replacing someone. ( we do not know the reason why). Anyway, there is a ” non- compete ” policy that he has to sign in the contract. Does this make sense for a one month , emergency replacement gig. My son leaves in two weeks and is excited but we (parents) want to make sure this is not too restricting for this type of gig.

    • It is not unusual for cruise lines to include non-compete clauses in their contracts but we encourage him to look at how long it’s for. In other words, does a one-month gig prevent your son from doing any other cruise work on any other cruise line for six months or longer? If so, is that because this month-long experience makes him a more likely candidate to be hired on for his own, longer contract by this cruise line he’d be working for? And… might this be an oversight, i.e., might the contract he’s been asked to sign include the same wording from the standard contracts for longer periods of time instead of replacement wording?

      It’s really important to understand what he’s signing his name to, as you know. We recommend he ask questions before signing, in order to prevent problems down the road. By the way, another thing to consider, should he go ahead with this, is whether his health insurance covers him in case of illness or emergencies especially if he’d be outside the country. (This assumes he has health insurance in the U.S., where more and more health insurance policies will not cover health needs outside the country except in dire circumstances.) If not, there are short-term policies for this very purpose.

  16. Alyssa


    Very nice article. I liked it a lot.

    I am currently going to be an 8th grader. I can play the alto and baritone sax. Since I want to start early, what tips do you have for a “newbie” like me? Just in general. What should I major in? Should I learn to play more woodwinds? Ect. 🙂 Thanks

    • Hi there, have you considered summer music programs? They’re great for helping you take your music to the next level and for meeting others who are equally as passionate about music as you are. Check out options in our Summer Music Camps & Programs section. Do you study with a private teacher who is helping you grow as a musician? If not, we suggest you find a teacher through the music program at a local college or university or at a community music school. Join the school orchestra or band, or a youth orchestra where you live.

      If you plan to go to music school, you’ll find keyboard skills to be extremely useful. As a sax player, you may also need to learn clarinet and flute. Music theory is another requirement in any college-level music school, and learning as much music theory as you can while you are in high school will make it much easier in college.

      At this point in your life, however, the best way to move forward is to listen to a lot of music, especially different kinds of music; practice; jam and perform with others; and go to concerts whenever you can. It will all support you in moving forward in music. And if at some point you decide to focus on a different area of interest, everything you’ve done in music will serve you well.

  17. Allan Randall

    Hi Josh,
    I am a groove oriented drummer.
    good listener; team player; comfortable holding the groove
    or soloing in rock, jazz, blues, funk, and latin
    styles. Is there work available for me? Who are you answerable
    to once you board for the duration, and what has that experience
    been like? How would you describe the normal interactions
    between you and other crew members and guests?
    I would like to know how a typical day goes aboard
    from the time you get up to the time you bed down.
    Where do you keep your instruments? Do you have access
    to them and space to practice in on your own? Finally,
    how about 3 ways to make the most off each cruise, and 3
    ways to avoid disaster?
    Many many thanks for sharing!

  18. Hey, man. I’m a longgg time cruise entertainer vet as well – as a lounge band musician and a karaoke host. You are DEFF ly on point, my man. I’m reading your artcle ad comment responses, I was having serious flashbacks into that life. I’d like to add THIS … ship life is verrrry cliquish.
    And you really haver to be careful of the ppl u align urself with. Ive seen sooooo maybe basically “clean” ppl go dirty – in a matter of months. Turn paRTY MONSTER … and drunk heads. Trust me.
    Its a balance of being social, friendly, but having a firmmm identity. Everyone will soon get the point. “He/she’s cool but he/she’s not that kinda person. In turn some may distance themselves from u … but that’s cool. Dont try hard to fit in. Stay true to YOU.

  19. Gary

    Hi Josh,

    Very interesting article. I am about to retire and my wife and I were thinking of applying to a cruiseline as a musical duo for the experience.I am a tenor sax player and she is a singer . We perform a wide variety of music with backing tracks including jazz however our repertoire is only about 40 songs but growing. I guess you can say were best described as lounge performers.. We have performed at weddings, cocktail parties, etc and everyone tells us we should be performing on cruise ships. I guess my question is since we are limited in what we can play at the present time would we be still suitable for lounge entertainment on cruise ships ?



    • Hi Gary,

      We checked with Holland America Line’s Chad Batty, and were told that you’ll need at minimum “enough material to play 4 sets nightly, 7 days per week, without repeats.” That would amount to 300-400 songs. Your material should cover “a wide range of tastes, genres, and decades.” Before you go any further, do your homework by researching the websites of various cruise lines to find out what type of music they offer, the age of their guests, and the terms upon which they hire musical artists.

  20. Sharon

    Hi Josh!,
    I am a junior currently majoring in Music Performance! I have always wanted to perform on a cruise ship because of all the opportunities that are presented! I wanted to know whether or not you knew what the requirements are for singers?!
    Thank You!

  21. Georgina Sutton

    Hi there,

    Thank you for your article, it was very interesting to read. I am a classically trained pianist at the Royal College of Music in London currently in my final year – I was wondering if this was the job for me to be a background pianist on a cruise liner as it is something I’ve always want to do. How good is the money? I was wondering how I should apply for something like this?
    Many thanks,

    • Georgie,

      Many classical pianists are hired to do sets in lounges as “intermissionists” –– which means you play in bars, pubs, and promenade areas where people are coming and going. You would be able work in the orchestra but some improvisation skills along with swing music styles are important. Depending on what cruise company you work for, the money is not bad ($1,500-$3,700 per month) but every cruise company has different jobs they tack on to your [music] job for safety or emergency duties.

      You can either go through the companies themselves or many of my English friends go through talent agencies. Just make sure you read your contract really well before signing in either situation!!!! VERY IMPORTANT!!

      Best Regards,
      Josh Greenberg

  22. Jeremy Larochelle

    Great article. I have worked as a musician for a number of ships and am now an agent with Mike Moloney Entertainment in Las Vegas.

    I can tell you that with so many lines and so many ships the needs for quality musicians is always great. Since we source to all the majors we are finding needs for cats who are great readers, cats who can hold a room and play to an audience, and cats who are killer players.

    I would suggest that you be honest with your own abilities and then market yourself around those talents. If you are an exceptional reader go for a show band gig. If you play a mean guitar, can sing, and have a huge set-list maybe a pub entertainer is for you.

  23. Diana Luo

    Josh, this is a great article and I encourage more musicians to try out cruise-life! I am a recruiter for Landau Music and anyone curious about cruise-life is free to inquire for more information. We are currently seeking showband musicians (Bass, Drums, Guitar, Keys, Trombone, and Trumpet) and sight reading is a must for showband musicians!

  24. Great article Josh! As you mentioned there are some differences between the lines but I think this sums it all up very well – the positive and negative.

    I wanted to add that on top of great musicianship we look for people who like to put on a good show and really perform which adds a lot to how much the audience relates and enjoys the performance.

    The doubles for sax are very important with our line, we’re also adding background vocals as a big plus for our band positions.

    Thanks again!


    Chad Batty
    Music Manager
    Holland America Line

  25. Frederick Jones

    Hey I am interested in doing this. I’m a guitarist that has been playing for a long time. I can sight read charts and read music. I also have a great ear and can improve well. What cruise lines would you suggest I start with? Do you know of ones outside of the Carribean and Europe? Like Asia perhaps?


    • Joshua G

      Hey Frederick,
      Almost every cruise ship company you work for will have ships going out of the Mediterranean and the Caribbean (both Western and Eastern Caribbean).

      You’ll have different experiences based on who you go through and how you get the job. If you go through a booking agency and have them find you a contract, you will have less control about location and company size. If you contact directly the major cruise line companies that you see on television, you can control and negotiate the terms of your contract.

      The only two companies that I know with ships in Asia right now are Celebrity and RCCL (for the Japanese and Korean ports they go to). All companies will have ships in the Mediterranean because that’s where people want to cruise to. Some have ships from Italy going up to Spain and France; others have them sailing to Turkey, Greece, etc. Some ships in Europe port out of England, Amsterdam, and France.

      Guitar players must be knowledgeable about top 40’s charts from the 1950’s Rock and Motown, as well as 70’s music like the styles of James Brown. A lot of guys are either strictly rock guys or jazz guys. You need to be a studio kind of guy –– meaning that you are able to know what any style entails and can fake well enough to pass!

      Now, if you really want to work in Asia and want to live there for an extended time, I would personally advise you to look for casino work. They like having American musicians there and have full big bands and jazz ensembles working in their night clubs. This work will be a little bit harder to find but can still pay really well. You have to make sure you are ready to live far, far away from home. You also need to realize that making this commitment is something you will have to stick with because they don’t like it when people break contracts. I performed in Taipei, Taiwan and did a couple things with a jazz camp, and they are a very different culture with very different views on life and work.

      You can find casino work around the world and just need to be motivated. This is where you might have to get an agent. Word of caution, though: in casino bands, drugs and other bad habits are still prevalent in the work environment. The cruise world has cleaned up a lot but this is still kind of hit and miss with people you work with in venues like casinos and clubs.

      Hope this gave you some insight!

      Josh Greenberg

  26. Laurie Albright

    This is a wonderful article about being a musician on a cruise ship. I’d be interested in knowing what musicians do and are allowed to do when they are not working. I’d also like to know where Josh has been able to travel and how much time he’s been able to spend visiting different ports in different countries. I’d assume that part of the attraction is being able to see different parts of the world.

    Thanks for another great article about being a musician!

    • Josh

      This is Josh, and I am happy that you like the interview and the insight on the career path. So far I have been to 45 countries and 25 different cities while traveling on the cruise ship and have enjoyed every moment of traveling with the company I work for, and I look forward to more locations. Privileges that musicians have are based on the company you work for, but most of them allow musicians to get off at every port and you get enough time go and be able to explore the ports. Also you return to the same ports for months at a time and it allows you to actually get to know everything about where you are located. Europe is a lot more interesting because the Caribbean is mostly relaxing and beaching a lot. Let me know any other questions you may have; also you can email me too. Take care.

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