Author Topic: Cruise jobs  (Read 11746 times)

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LindsayCChamberlain

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Cruise jobs
« on: Oct 20, 2006, 02:35 pm »
I was wondering if anyone knew how to get onboard with propduction positions on a cruise ship as many cruiseliners have entertainment and theatres on the ship. Any information you may have is helpful.
Thanks

Mac Calder

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Re: Cruise jobs
« Reply #1 on: Oct 20, 2006, 05:46 pm »
Cruise shows generally run on a skeleton crew. They (as a general rule) will not employ "Stage Managers" - instead, they employ a couple of experianced all rounders as theatre technicians, and provide a couple of heavy lifters as stage hands (who usually have other duties on the ship like mopping the deck or whatever).

 Most cruises use as much automation as possible - that includes things like sound and lights being run by SMPT TimeCode so there is not much cuing involved.

So the way to get a cruise job is to become the best all rounder you can be, then send in resumes to all of the major cruise lines.

goldbird

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Re: Cruise jobs
« Reply #2 on: Oct 23, 2006, 10:36 pm »
Hi Lindsay,

  I agree with a lot of what Mac said.  I work for Carnival Cruise Lines as a Backstage Manager.  On my class of ship, we have 5 full-time technicians onboard, with another 8 pulled from other departments for the production shows.  I am refered to as the Stage Manager onboard, but what I do is a fair bit different from when I was working at an equity house.  I run the deck backstage during shows (ie, am in charge of a crew of 6 stage hands that do all the shifts, as well as safely calling in/out all the automated drops and stage lifts.  I also help with some quickchanges, while mainly keeping on eye on everyone's safety.  During the day, I'm responsible for prop maintnance and assisting with all rehearsals.  Most of the cruise lines do run SMPTE now, which means no light cues to call, although you can't really "stretch" a scene if you are having any technical problems, it's a full show stop.  I do know that some of the other cruise lines do have a Production Manager job onboard, which from the sounds of it is a mix of SM and PM of the theatre world.  I know that there is at least 1 other member here that works for Royal Carribean as a PM, so he might be able to tell you more about them.

  As for how to get involved, it does help if you are well rounded technically in all areas, and rigging knowlege is a big plus.  To apply, most of the top lines have websites.  Just go into the "jobs/employment" section, search for entertainment, and send in your resume.  There are a lot of online agencies out there, but I'd stick with sending the emails out.

  It's a fun life, albeit quite different from normal SMing.  If you have any questions, I'd be glad to answer them.

Tim

LindsayCChamberlain

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Re: Cruise jobs
« Reply #3 on: Nov 03, 2006, 12:58 am »
Thank you for your information. I just graduated from college with my degree in Arts Management, and am contracted with the Artist Repertory Theatre in Portland, OR through the end of the year. I'm just interested in seeing what else I can do with my abilities in the entertainment arena.

sfphoto

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Re: Cruise jobs
« Reply #4 on: Jan 16, 2007, 09:44 pm »
I just came home from my cruise job - working for RCCL as a "stage & production manager" - we have a sound, light, lounge tech, plus four full time stage staff.  Some of the larger ships have 2 venues (PM, sound and light positions doubled, 7 stage staff plus a rigger).  We'll use cast members or cruise staff to do spotlights as needed, but don't hire out from other areas of the ship.  It is part SM and PM - running and calling shows, doing admin work, taking care of the venues, dealing with guest entertainers, etc, etc.  I'll post a coroporate job description after I unpack  ;D

As far as a know, Princess and Disney also have full time SM/PM positions. When I was with NCL, we only had a sound, light, lounge and backstage tech.  One of these was given the "head tech" position. We hired 5 or 6 guys from the galley or cleaners at night to help with set changes, and a couple of cleaner or stateroom attendant guys to run spots for productions shows (the dancers ran spots the other nights).  The cast had their own company manager, who called production shows from the booth and dealt with cast issues only.

If you're seriously interested - this is the best way to apply
New Member Link: http://www.techjobcentral.net/ [nonactive]
or New Member Link: http://www.c-deck.com/ [nonactive]  (same company)
This is the hiring parter from most of the major cruise lines out there.  They basically screen you and send your info to the line, and if/when you get the job, are supposed to help you onto your first ship.

For Canadians
New Member Link: http://www.cruiseshipemployment.ca/ [nonactive]

I can't think of any "new hires" I've met in the past couple of years who did'nt come from either of these agencies (exception a couple from the UK and one from India)

ljh007

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Re: Cruise jobs
« Reply #5 on: Jan 20, 2007, 10:51 am »
If you're also a carpenter, you might consider joining a cruise gig by working with a company that builds sets for ships. You might build a set and then join it on a voyage. Because the set building companies work so closely and frequently with the cruise companies, they ships sometimes contact the shops when they're seeking show crew. But this mostly relates to carpenters and techs. A company called River City Scenic in Cincinnati, Ohio is a major company like this. www.rivercityscenic.com

sfphoto

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Re: Cruise jobs
« Reply #6 on: Jan 21, 2007, 12:03 am »
I LOVE the River City Scenic guys!  RCCL uses them almost exclusively to build and maintain shows - New Member Link: http://www.rivercityscenic.com/current_projects.htm [nonactive] (I was on the Radiance of the Seas for the show install of "City of Dreams" early last year - that was an experience!)

Here's the position description for a cruise line Stage & Production Manager
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

All duties and responsibilities are to be performed in accordance with Royal Caribbean
International’s Gold Anchor Standards, SQM standards, USPH guidelines, environmental
and safety policies.

Each shipboard employee may be required to perform all functions in various venues and
throughout the ship.

1.   In accordance with Royal Caribbean International’s philosophy of Anchored in
      Excellence, each employee conducts oneself in a professional and courteous
      manner at all times.  This consists of physical and verbal interactions with guests
      or fellow shipboard employees and/or in the presence of guest contact and crew
      areas.

2.   Coordinates production plans and directs activities of stage crew and performers
   during rehearsals and performance.  Establishes and oversees all showroom sound
   and light pre-sets, cast pre-sets, stage crew pre-sets and all post performance
   “put-away.” 

3.   Coordinates with the Cruise Director, the performances and usage of the main
   showroom and other entertainment lounges to ensure consistent technical
   support of all meetings, activities and entertainment for special group functions
   such as but not limited to charters, affinity, promotional, incentive, presentations,
   and various theme night arrangements.

4.   Confers with Producer and Shoreside Entertainment Manager concerning
   production plans.

5.   Manages the theatrical program in accordance with department standard
   operating procedures.  Assigns duties, responsibilities and workstations to
   employees. Observes and evaluates employees and work procedures to
   ensure quality standards and service is met.  Initiates personnel actions
   such as new hire requests and discharges, to ensure proper staffing.
   Approves overtime needs.

6.   Manages the financial aspects of the theatrical program operation, including
   the successful identification of expense reduction through cost efficiencies
   and revenue growth through promotional and up-selling activities.
   Ensures the continuous and accurate participation of the theatrical operation.

7.   Manages the stage crew staff engaged in placing scenery and properties.
   Provides on-the-job training to staff members to strengthen their current
   performance and preparation for possible advancement.  Notifies Cruise
   Director regarding work schedules and time records.

8.   Arranges conference times for cast, crew, and Stage Director, and
   disseminates general information about production. 

9.   Schedules, attends and oversees all rehearsals in conjunction with the Dance
   Captain, Bandleader and/or onboard technical staff, combined or individually.
   Attends all performances, call show cues, check sign-in, check stage, start show.
   Prepares show reports.

10.   Reads script during each performance and gives cues for curtain, lights, sound
   effects, pyrotechnics and prompting performers.

11.   Interprets stage set diagrams to determine stage layout.  Devises emergency
   substitutes for stage equipment or properties.

12.   Assembles and maintains the Prompt Book.  Keeps accurate records of
   playing text, cue sheet, plots and all stage related correspondence.  Compiles
   cue words and phrases to form prompt book. 

13.   Instructs understudy, replacement, or extra.

14.   Calls performers at specified interval before curtain time.

15.   Operates production equipment to transmit or record performance.

16.   Maintains quality of all show props, sets, pyrotechnics, and sound and
   light equipment.  Maintains equipment inventory.  Establishes weekly
   maintenance schedules.  Notifies Cruise Director of all maintenance
   activities and needs. Prepares associated paperwork and forwards
   malfunctioning equipment ashore for repairs.  Follows-up with shoreside
   staff to ensure repairs are completed and returned to the vessel in a timely
   basis.  Maintains proper repair logs and records.

17.   Attends meetings, training activities, courses and all other work-related
   activities as required.

18.   Performs related duties as required.  This position description in no way
   states or implies that these are the only duties to be performed by the shipboard
   employee occupying this position.  Shipboard employees will be required to
   perform any other job-related duties assigned by their supervisor or management.


QUALIFICATIONS


Minimum hiring, language and physical requirements to perform the job.

Hiring Requirements:
•   Minimum 5 years show stage management experience in Broadway
   and Vegas style productions in professional theatre or equivalent.
•   Knowledge of sound, light, pyrotechnics, and rigging.
•   Knowledge of music and dance as it pertains to theatrical performances.
•   Knowledge of international theatrical production preferred.
•   Demonstrated aptitude for the financial aspects of a theatrical operation,
   including the successful identification of expense reduction through cost
   efficiencies and revenue growth through promotional and up-selling activities.
   Demonstrated aptitude for the management of headcount within assigned
   area, as it relates to and supports the business needs of the vessel.
•   Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal
   service including needs assessment, problem resolution and achievement
   of quality service standards.
•   Knowledge of policies and practices involved in the human resources
   function. Ability to manage the international staff in a positive and productive
   manner by motivating, developing and managing employees as they work.
   Ability to utilize and administer the disciplinary action process through
   coaching and counseling to improve performance or terminate employment.

Mac Calder

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Re: Cruise jobs
« Reply #7 on: Jan 21, 2007, 04:42 am »
That is a pretty thorough PD for the job - and it puts the correct amount of emphasis on HR type work - It seems that ships have 10 times the paperwork of any other SM job - my stint, I had a small office, maybe 3m x 5m which seemed to be overflowing with paperwork.

I was also approached by one of the activities coordinators about giving back stage tours twice a week, small group of 10 or so patrons, which was great fun.

The biggest pain in the rear end is usually when you are mounting a new show. Usually it will be coming from another ship, or everything has been rehearsed in a space off ship and designed purely on paper. That is dangerous because certain facts are often not visible on paper, which can result in sets not fitting, or lighting design being up the creek, and you are on a much tighter time frame than a standard show - maybe 1 tech and 1 dress and a day to fit up. And if something is left behind on dock, you have to try and get that item to your next port of call without blowing the budget...

During the run though - If I did not sleep till 9 and get an afternoon siesta, well, it was considered a busy day.

LiLz

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Re: Cruise jobs
« Reply #8 on: Jan 21, 2007, 02:21 pm »
Hi, Tim ... Which ships were you with on the Carnival line?  A good friend of mine works with Carnival ... I wonder if we have a common acquaintance ... he started with the Paradise out of Long Beach and is now on the Valor out of Miami.

Lilz

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Re: Cruise jobs
« Reply #9 on: Jan 21, 2007, 04:28 pm »
Mac, sounds like a pretty nice life once the shows up! Which cruise provider were you with?

Sam x
Sam x

goldbird

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Re: Cruise jobs
« Reply #10 on: Jan 21, 2007, 10:38 pm »
Hi Lilz,

  I started with the Glory out of Cape Canaveral, and now have been on the Conquest out of Galveston for a couple contracts.  We do, however, sometimes dock with the Valor in Grand Caymen and Cozumel, and we would definitely know some of the same people.



  Just to give a little more info in regards to Carnival, they have what they refer to as a "Sr. Tech" position.  This person is one of the technicians that is promoted to handle a lot of the same management responsibilities that sfphoto mentioned.  The structure is a little different, with this postion being mostly equal to the Dance Captain and the Musical Director.  Both times that I've done this job in addition to being Backstage Manager, it was much like Stage Managing, but as Sfphoto and Mac mentioned, with a fair amount more HR and paperwork.

Tim

Mac Calder

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Re: Cruise jobs
« Reply #11 on: Jan 22, 2007, 01:38 am »
Mac, sounds like a pretty nice life once the shows up! Which cruise provider were you with?

Sam x

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sfphoto

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Re: Cruise jobs
« Reply #12 on: Jan 22, 2007, 01:28 pm »
Check out this recruitment video for Royal Caribbean

New Member Link: http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=696243988 [nonactive]

This was filmed on Voyager of the Seas - and the Stage Mananger is Bill, who also posts here sometimes

I actually like putting in new shows.  RCCL send a heap of people on install - show director, choreographers, producuer, set, lighting and costume designers, musical director, at least 6 carps, show control programmer, 4 seamstresses, sound designer, etc., plus the onboard staff.  They'll take two weeks to mount 2 shows, so Day 1 of week one the 2nd show is loaded in and started to be built after regular shows, while the 1st show is rehearsed by the cast and crew in the mornings and afternoons to be performed at the end of that cruise- and normal activities and shows still go on for the passengers on that cruise!  The theater runs 24/7 till both shows are up and running.

I've also done a 'take out' ship - the NCL Sun.  LONGEST days ever - I think we slept an average of 3-5 hours per night for the first month.  Working rehearsals around an unfinshed ship and theater, around shipyard people welding, carpet laying, no a/c or water sometimes.  Great shows, but not the best company/living conditions/morale at the time.

My 'average' work week is about 60-65 hours.  Mornings are for paperwork, meetings, training, cast rehearsals.  Afternoons are entertainer rehearsals and/or getting off in ports, evenings there's normally two shows.  Every night - 7 days a week for the length of the contract. 

uersel

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Re: Cruise jobs
« Reply #13 on: Feb 19, 2007, 08:16 pm »
I've also done a 'take out' ship - the NCL Sun.  LONGEST days ever - I think we slept an average of 3-5 hours per night for the first month.  Working rehearsals around an unfinshed ship and theater, around shipyard people welding, carpet laying, no a/c or water sometimes.  Great shows, but not the best company/living conditions/morale at the time. 

Sounds a lot like my first one and a half months at the shipyard of Bremerhaven on the a'rosa blu (formerly known as crown princess and now cruising as aida blu) I started my professional theatre-career as a stagemanager/stagetechnician during the rebuild of this ship in 2002 and was on cruise on it for almost one and a half year.

We were a theatre-crew of one stagemanager/tech (me) one sound-tech, one light-tech and one dresser (wich did also wigs and make-up). On the shows we had two philipinos running the spot-lights. On stage there were 8 dancers, 8 musicians and 6 soloist. Head of our theatre-department was a company manager who was also our artistic director. We were running about 8 different musical-gala-shows (on a two week schedule) in our 800-seat-theatre plus 2 shows a week on deck, plus farewell-show every turnover and guest-entertainers.
As I was the only stage-tech my regular day looked about like that:
Getting out of bed for breakfast at latest half nine at ten starting to take down and store (on almost NO storage room) the remaining set of last evenings show (earlier start not possible caus the theatre is used as gathering area for shore-excursions).
Then usually having a short lunch break and after that setting up the stage for the rehearsal and/or evening show, sometimes for larger setpieces with help of the sound- or light-techs, but mainly be myself.
In late afternoon: rehearsals and after that show-preset, then dinner and evening show at nine. After the show gathering all the props and small setpieces, throwing out the last performers out of the backstage area and locking it. Usually I finished work at about eleven at night... and luckily headed directly to the crew-bar having party ;D (if I had bad luck I had to help out the sound-techs (there was one for the teatre an another one for the various bars) with hauling some equipment around the ship :( )
During the evening shows I did mainly sort of backstage management, smaller setchanges, helped  with costum-changes, switched batterys in mics, ... There was no calling at all. Sound and light operated their cues on their own.

I really loved the time on cruise even sharing a small cabine with some unknown person was ok. I met a lot of cool people, learned a lot and saw lots of interesting places....  Yes, it was possible to get ashore even with this working times. Not in the first half year, but after a while I learned two deal with the job and the ships people and I managed it (hey, I'm a stagemanager ;) ) to get me sometimes a day or even a night "off"  8)
Es gibt immer einen Tunnel am Ende des Lichts.
There is always a tunnel at the end of the light.
(Die Aronauten)

opheliamuse

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Re: Cruise jobs
« Reply #14 on: Nov 20, 2007, 03:49 pm »
I recently got an offer a stage staff position with RCCL, and I'll be heading off at some point in the new year but don't know exactly when/and or what ship I'll be on. Back around May I sent in my resume via email to castingspecialist@rccl.com (the contact address that was on the Royal Caribbean Productions website) and in September I got a call asking about interviewing me and the rest, as they say, is history. I had two telephone interviews and then a follow-up call. Part of my hiring was done through a hiring agency in Canada just outside Toronto (which was the first place to phone me so RCCL productions sent them my info, etc), so one interview with them and then a second with RCCL Productions. All the calls and interviews and offer all happened within about two weeks. I got my passport, criminal record check, and my physical is coming up this week. Once I get all the paperwork done and copies sent in; I'll be recieving a more clear point of depature, date I have to be there, and what ship I'll be living and working on for the following six months.
« Last Edit: Nov 20, 2007, 03:56 pm by opheliamuse »

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