November 3rd, 2010


Come On, Let me Take You On A Sea Cruise...

My roommate at the hotel finally arrived after 1am, having had to hire a cab himself, because nobody showed up to pick him up. Glad I dodged that particular bullet. Anyway, he turned out to be a fellow from the UK called James, whose position on the ship will be to host guest events. We bonded a bit over our mutual love for the Beatles, then it was off to sleep.

Morning arrived, breakfast was had at the hotel (quite a good one, I might add), and our ride appeared to whisk us off to the ship. There were several more people at the hotel heading for The Journey, so there were enough of us with enough baggage that it took a few trips. In the process, I got to meet the Journey orchestra's new electric bass player, Jorge. His bass was in a long rectangular case that a couple of us originally mistook for a keyboard case. Alas, his lovely Hamer bass was damaged in shipping (another bullet I dodged) - the tone control was pushed in, cracking the wood badly. It still functions perfectly, but it's not pretty.

We were driven down to the wharf, up to the terminal, the Journey looming majestically behind. Then a van drove us around to the ship. After forking over our passports and displaying our paperwork, we were brought inside to be assimilated.

The rest of the day was a whirlwind. I got a keycards for my cabin, got signed up for the timecard system, got assigned my Emergency station and duties, and had a couple of training classes. I also got my schedule for the day. I was set to play from 6:00-9:00pm at the Windows Cafe (taking a couple of short breaks along the way) and also to play a number in the "Welcome Aboard" show at 9:30, a sort of review for the guests of all the entertainers that they might see performing during their voyage.

I got set up out on the deck at the Windows Cafe, facing aft, and darkness was falling. The lights of Piraeus harbor were all spread out before me. A couple of numbers into my set, and the ship began to move. As I played, the harbor slowly shrank into the distance. What a fantastic backdrop for my very first performance!

With the help of Jeremy, our Bandmaster (and a fantastic drummer), I had settled on "Stand By Me" for the Welcome Show song, to be backed by the orchestra. I took a long break from my regular show to zoom down to the Cabaret theater to run through the song. The band were a bunch of pros, and totally nailed it (and I got to hear how great Jorge is on the bass), and I scurried back up to finish my show. A quick dinner between the next two sets, and I was done. There weren't many people out on the deck (it had gotten a little chilly, for one thing), but those that were there were very complimentary.

The song with the orchestra was well received, and finally I was done with my long first day. I stumbled to bed shortly thereafter, my head spinning, and settled into bed for my first night's sleep on the ship.

Next stop: Mykonos