When I started performing professionally, the cruise ships came calling. I did several wedding ceremonies on Carnival Cruises before realizing that it was not worth my time and effort to haul my monstrous instrument over bulk heads. It quickly lost its appeal, and land kept me quite grounded. When a company asked me to do a wedding a cruise ship, I thought that it would be nice to visit my old stomping grounds. Imagine the pictures against the ocean. This positive outlook quickly faded as the chaos unfolded. I have decided to present this in a loose list form as it was the same one that I texted to almost everyone that I know….
NIGHTMARE ON THE OEAN
1.) no signs for the proper terminal
2.) went to wrong garage
3.) groom didn’t know what terminal it was. He told me to “Follow the signs…”.
4.) get to elevator. No license. Had to go back to the 4th floor.
5.) get to security. Can’t board for two hours because of coast guard.
6.) boarded before the two hours but wasn’t allowed to leave security (second clearance) because of the K-9 unit. They had to smell my harp for drugs.
7.) the first dog came twice. Was not acceptable for some strange reason.
8.) I was there so long that I decided to play for tips. One of my songs was the Titanic…
9.) when the K-9 unit arrived, he didn’t even tell me it was okay to go. Security had to chase him and told me that he was a lazy ass.
10.) got on the ship. Coordinator assistant meets me. Two men have to carry my harp to the location because an elevator doesn’t go to the top deck.
11.) ceremony was on a top deck in the hot sun. I had to hide next to the officiant.
12.) keep in mind that the client wanted me to play over recorded music and during the speaking. I may have actually played for ten minutes.
12,) everyone leaves. There is no help to get me off the ship. I descended the same flight of stairs without any help. I get to the gang plank when officials stop me with an interrogation:
1.) are you crew? No.
2.) is this the ships property? All $32,000.00 of this instrument belong to me.
3.) you won’t fit in the elevators: I came in through those elevators.
They had to shut down the entire gangplank to escort me off the ship. One of the officials informed me that all of my problems were rooted in the fact that weddings were not allowed on the first turn back from Europe. However, this man was allowed because he was someone important.
13.) Returned to the place where I spent hours waiting for a damn dog. Security apologized to me again. Someone gave me a bottle of water. It was the first that I had all day.
14.) I finally returned to the first level of security. The ladies asked me how the wedding went because they watched my experiences on the camera and were horrified. We exchanged tales of woe as I made my departure back to the fourth floor garage across the street. Once everything was loaded, I heard my name. One of the security guards had chased me all the way to the fourth floor to give me my license. It had fallen from me without my knowledge and she figured that she could catch me because it would take me time to load. I could have given her my first born child as this was only the second time in the same day that my license tried to escape me. **For those of you that remember, I had to renew it last year prior to it being stolen. At this point, maybe I just don’t need one…..moving on.
I told the company that I was representing that the overtime fee needed to be raised due to the trauma that I had to endure and she agreed. I now have to pay for therapy, massages, and alcohol; not necessarily in that order. Chances are very high that I will not step foot on a ship to perform again. If I do, it will be because they have agreed to cover my mortgage….the remaining balance.