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Eric Leclerc
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Ottawa Ontario
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I had been approached by cruise ship early this year to come work for them for 3 months straight. It is not a big company; they do a 2-day cruise from Fort Lauderdale to the Bahamas and back. I have done my research and I can see customers weren't satisfied with this cruise. I WILL be passenger status and my duties will be:

Host a 30-minute newlywed game daily
Host a 30-minute bingo daily
A 25 Minute stage show at night

They pay well for what I will be doing.. The reason I am taking this gig is to familiarize myself with the cruise ship environment and to be able to have it on my magical resume. Now my question is:

The reason I want it on my resume is when I am ready for bigger cruises, they will see cruise ship work. NOW, do you think after seeing the company I worked for (I will not write it, but I am sure they will ask)will hurt my chances because their reputation and way of doing this are so? Or do you see it like I will have an advantage over another inexperienced performer? What do you guys think?
Drew from Spotlight
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NJ
124 Posts

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Any experience has got to be good experience. As long as YOU do a good job I wouldn't worry about what a future employer MIGHT THINK about your past employer. He might even be happy that you realize you need to step up to a good company - and you'll have that all important experience.
Michael Messing
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Knoxville, TN
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While it may not hurt your chances to work for another cruise line, it likely won't help you either. In the early 90s, I worked for Carnival Cruise Lines as a staff entertainer. This is where you do both a show and some staff activities. This isn't highly regarded by cruise lines that only hire you as a guest entertainer.

When I stopped working for Carnival, an entertainment agent who worked with some other cruise lines contacted me to see if he could try to book my with these other companies. I told him I had worked for Carnival Cruise Lines but I didn't think that would impress the other lines.

When he called back, he said: "Boy, you were right. They really weren't impressed that you had worked for Carnival."

The plus is they know you've been on a ship before and understand how it works. The minus is that they won't necessarily think you're any good because you worked for a "lesser" line.

Again, I don't think it will hurt your chances. I just don't think it will assist much.

Michael
jamesbond
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Eric, if you really feel like you need the experience I would say do it: BUT it starts with calling the bingo, the game show and before you know it somebody gets sick and you are also the DJ, kids entertainer, etc. etc. without any overtime pay (they don't know this word on cruise ships...). One of my best friends worked on ships for more than 10 years and many of these B types of cruise lines sometimes view contracts more like guidelines - if you don't like you can always get off is their attitude... Unfortunately for us there are always plenty of "hungry" magicians eager to get on anything that remotely resembles a ship - and they do know that very well.

The fact is that if this cruise line cannot afford an act by ITSELF must be a red flag (smells like a "B" type of cruise line to me... Big time!) Those comments from unhappy clients should also be taken in consideration... (You could be dealing with "C" type of cruise line - RUN!!!) Can you wait and see if you can get on a better line?

In the past I have learned that no customer is BETTER than bad customer - trust me on this one. 90-minutes of work DAILY sounds too much to me for any "pro" act - most of the pros do maybe 2-3 shows per week and no hosting of anything. But heck, if it doesn't work out who says that you have to put this gig on your resume, right??? Do you have EVERY gig you ever did on your resume - Nope! If you feel in your gut that you want go for it - DO IT! Live, learn and move on...

Bond...James Bond
Michael Messing
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Knoxville, TN
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Hey James,

Not trying to start an argument here but not all lines that use entertainers as staff are a "B type of cruise line." I worked for Carnival for a year and, in that time I did two shows a week and about 10 hours of staff activities. Considering I wasn't on a contract but could stay as long as I wanted to, this really wasn't a bad deal. (Staff entertainers with Carnival are employees and not contracted labor. At least, they were when I worked for them.)

No, it's not as preferred as being a guest entertainer and it usually pays a little less but I think the complaints about being a staff entertainer are over-stated.

The complaints about this cruise line from passengers does worry me a little but most lines receive complaints. The question is: Are they prevalent? If there are a lot of complaints, it might not be much fun working for them.

Michael
LeeDillingham
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Las Vegas
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Assuming that you don't mind being away from home that long, I would say to take the gig. I will be good experience. At least you will be in the US every other day to make phone calls and possibly book other gigs doen the road.
tctahoe
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Lakeland Fl.
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Sadly it comes down to ego for me. No matter how great your show is, you are going to be a member of that staff that has a good show, not an entertainer.

As far as bigger Lines go, If you have a good show that's all you really need to get booked. Okay, a little perseverance and luck too.
Eric Leclerc
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Ottawa Ontario
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Quote:
On 2006-08-03 11:40, Michael Messing wrote:

When he called back, he said: "Boy, you were right. They really weren't impressed that you had worked for Carnival."

The plus is they know you've been on a ship before and understand how it works. The minus is that they won't necessarily think you're any good because you worked for a "lesser" line.

Again, I don't think it will hurt your chances. I just don't think it will assist much.

Michael


Michael, this is EXACTLY the point I was trying to convey. French is my first language and sometimes it is hard for me to get a specific point through.

I know my show is good, I know I will exceed their expectations. The only reason I am taking this gig is to familiarize myself with this side of the business. I can take the 3 months off. I will be back in time for the rush of Christmas shows. (I will be booking through e-mail and phone while in the U.S) I think it is simply the right time in my life/career to try this.

As for the hosting of games and bingo, I love people, I love having a mic in my hands, and I don't mind it at all.

I am just concerned to work for a ship that doesn’t go the extra mile for their guests. I don't want grumpy people in my audience night after night. You know?
Eric Leclerc
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Ottawa Ontario
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I can’t believe someone corrected my misspelled post and added a fruity happy face to go with it... *shivers*

I feel so betrayed.
Bradacal
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How did you go about acquiring this gig Eric, through an agent or yourself...? Just curious..?
Dannydoyle
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Eternal Order
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I would not take any gig that required me to be "part of the staff". I am not sure it qualifies as "shady", but I just wouldn't do it, especially since I am a hypnotist. Try hypnotizing someone after handing out towels in the pool the day before.

"Hmmm hypnotist, aren’t you the cabana boy?” I just don't like the arrangement. If you were just starting though, then perhaps it would work out well for experience.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
MrHyde
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One thing that has not been mentioned, is that a decision to perform on a cruise ship as "staff" rather than as "guest performer" with "full passenger status" is that it makes it harder for other performers in the future.

How hard is it to pitch a restaurant venue for a decent fee when they have had "magicians" willing to do the gig for a meal and tips.

Work on your act, work on your marketing and you'll be invited to cruise on the worlds best ships.
Tony Brent
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Orlando, Florida
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I can promise you that you will not be treated with the same amount of respect if you work for them as a staff member as opposed to being an entertainer. I turned down Carnival years ago for that reason. They wanted me to host games, etc. It's a way of saving money for them of course. If you do the gig, don't tell other bookers that you were on the staff, simply say that you performed for Carnival Cruise Lines.

Tony Brent
Outta Control Magic Show
Orlando, Florida
NJJ
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Something else you might like to consider is: When you are not performing you will be stuck on what sounds like a crummy cruise ship.

Consider the lifestyle choice as well as the professional decision.
Eric Leclerc
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Ottawa Ontario
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Thanks for all the input guys. Trust me I have thought of this carefully. Like I said I am at a time where I can do this in my life. I think the experience will be worth it.

Someone asked how I got the gig, well that's another reason why I am taking it. This kind of thing is unheard of but an American magician friend of mine referred me. He sold me to the director. I know it sounds unlikely but I was VERY lucky. My friend said he enjoyed it, but he did it just for the money.

Anyways I am leaving in a week, August 15th.... Looking forward to it. Even though I think a lot of things won’t be how I expected originally, that's fine with me. I'll be doing what I love...

I'll definitely keep you posted once I get on.. Stay tuned
Michael Messing
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Knoxville, TN
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Hello Eric,

Believe it or not, the way you got the job is quite normal for the cruise industry. It is very common for cruise lines entertainment directors to take the recommendations of a performer or agent they trust. That's the way I got my cruise job and that's the way most of my friends who worked cruises got their first job.

Michael
wizardofsorts
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Chicago, IL
935 Posts

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Eric,
Please keep us posted if you can on how it goes. Best of luck.

Edd
Edd Fairman, Wizard of Sorts is a corporate magician available for your next trade show, hospitality suite, client luncheon, or company event. http://www.wizardofsorts.com
todsky
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www.magicstore.ca
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Eric, about that shady cruise ship, I can see advantages and disadvantages. Advantage: no chance of getting a sunburn. Disadvantage: no chance of getting a tan. It all comes down to your skin type.
Todsky's Magic Shop: over 15,000 tricks, books, DVD s and Card decks. www.magicstore.ca
Eric Leclerc
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Ottawa Ontario
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Well I am here...sitting in the Bahamas... in between trips... Here is what I have experienced so far.

The cruise is a one-day cruise...from Fort Lauderdale to the Bahamas and back. I call 2 bingoes a day...(15 minutes each) and do my 20 minute show. That’s 50 minutes work a day... I AM BORED. I chill with the guests and sit in my cabin all day. (Coming up with some very good ideas magic wise)

The staff: very friendly, I lucked out, the cruise/entertainment director for Holland and NCL took a 2 month job as cruise director for my ship. Great contact already made...and I have been here 6 days. His connection alone is worth my 3 months here. There are 450 crew staff on the boat, and only 15 girls!!! Aaargh!! And they all have boyfriends on board.

I am the only white person on the boat (besides the cruise director) I haven’t found that to be a problem. But I feel people look at me like "why do you need to work on this ship? The “You are white, you are rich” kinda thing... feels weird. But I am very polite and friendly towards everyone so that barrier has quickly been abolished.

About the bingo calling arguments we had earlier. I like it. I joke with people... its very entertaining to call out a bingo... finding something to say about each number can be hilarious...plus come show time... they know me. They know I am funny and personable. I don't see it as "Oh this bingo caller is now going to do little tricks for us" I tell them I am a magician before the bingo and to come see the show at night. It works out great. My ego is ok with that.... However I DO KNOW a lot of magicians who think this would be beneath them.

Anyways...

The only shady part....

THE STAGE... wow wow wow... never would I of imagined to perform on a stage like that. It’s a round stage, same level as the crowd. COMPLETELY surrounded... and I can touch the ceiling without my arm being fully extended. Took a lot of adapting but I got a solid routine down...

Overall... I think it will be an amazing experience if I don't die of boredom before my return. So it wasn’t that shady after all.

Write me some stuff. Keep me sane fellow magi!

Peace! Out for now.
Eric Leclerc
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Inner circle
Ottawa Ontario
1185 Posts

Profile of Eric Leclerc
Why was the last post deleted?? I don't get it....
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