The Cunard Adventure Begins! BLOG #1


Kenny Fong

Hey everyone! Welcome to my website, and welcome to the first entry of my travel blog! As many of you may know, I’ve decided to uproot my current life in Utah and start a new chapter aboard Cunard’s Queen Victoria. I’ll be playing saxophone (and doubles) as a part of their on board show band, entertaining passengers with Broadway theater acts as well as backing guest entertainers. I thought a blog would be a great way to document my experience of #shiplife, start to finish, not only for my own records, but for my family and friends who are interested in keeping up with my life as I tackle a new exciting challenge.

I thought for my first blog I'd answer the most common questions I’ve been asked lately, as well as talk about the quick journey to my departure date (11/11/17)

 

Why work on a cruise?

I’ve honestly thought about working on a cruise ship for a while now, I know a few people who have worked on some lines in the past, and to me it sounded like a great gig. For starters, I’ll be performing music as my job, which an incredible opportunity to fine tune and improve my musical craft not only on saxophone, but on flute and clarinet too as I’ll be performing for a live audience 5-6 nights a week, with constantly changing material. The cool part about working on board a ship is that everything is covered. Ship food is free, a crew cabin is provided, even transportation to and from the boat is included (which for me is a flight out to England!).

How did I land the job?

This can be different for anyone interested in similar work, you can contact a specific cruise line and audition directly, or (as I did) audition with a talent agency. Since this was my first time trying to find work on a cruise, I decided the best option was to get all the help I could get. The agency I approached is called Proship, a company located in Canada that represents about 40 cruise lines. My audition took place with a phone call on a Wednesday afternoon at 11am where I spoke with a representative on instructions for the audition process. He told me he’d send me PDFs of multiple charts, for multiple instruments, as well as the Mp3’s that go along with them and call back in an hour. Lots and lots of sight reading! One hour to prepare about 10 pieces of music for the audition, thank goodness I've always been decent at reading music. At 12pm, they called back and we started the audition over the phone, video recording in entirety start to finish.

Since Proship represents so many cruise ships, they then accessed my strengths as an individual performer and presented them to who they thought would fit with best, eventually it would be Cunard who offered a contract.

Am I allowed to get off the boat?

Yes! From what I understand, entertainers are on board to entertain the guests, therefore when they are off the boat in port, I will be allowed to as well, unless I am needed for an on board safety procedure such as in-port-manning. For that reason I'm grateful that Queen Victoria goes to multiple locations (Southampton, England will always be the home port).

What am I most excited for?

The travel! My father told me I’ll be going to about 44 countries on my contract, I think maybe I’ve been to 5 or 6 of those countries. This a great way for me see the world, and I can’t wait to get started.

I’m also excited to practice and get better musically, as well as meet new people from around the world, and perhaps most importantly, sample food from all over the world! I’m guessing that most of my paycheck will be going to port food and excursions.

What am I not excited for?

Every job is bound to have cons, this is no different. For starters, I will be living on a boat for a long period of time, isolated from my family and friends back home, and while I’ve vacationed on cruises, living on one for six months will surely be a different experience. On top of that, I will most likely have to share a small room with another employee (probably another musician) which could make things hard seeing as I enjoy my alone time. I’ve also heard sea days can be extremely rough, when everyone including passengers and crew are aboard the ship, limiting the already small amount of space available, and where I'm allowed to go. However, overall, I think I’ll be able to tough out the difficult living conditions for the opportunity to travel the world and perform music for a living.

 

As of today, I have one week until my contract begins! I could have done a lot more to prepare, but I ultimately feel ready to go. Everything started to feel very real when I saw my flight and hotel plans about a week ago, finally felt like it was actually happening. Thankfully my parents let me move home for a bit before, allowing all my belongings to be in one place while I get ready and when I leave. I’m trying to pack light, but trying to pack a rain coat, parka, suit and a tuxedo alone takes up a lot of room in a suitcase! I can already tell the traveling is going to be rough, lugging my suitcase around airports as well as three instruments… hopefully it’s all worth it!

That’s all for this BLOG! I'm very excited for a new adventure, and if you wish to stay connected with my experience of a first timer working on a ship, feel free to subscribe, or email myself or my parents to stay involved. Feel free to ask questions, I will try to answer any and all. Expect lots of pictures! You can find me on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube (links on website). I’d like to do at least 2 years of work, and then see if I want to continue after that. I for one am curious about the embarkation process, crew life and holidays on board the ship, and I will most likely write a separate blog about each.

Look for my next BLOG! The next post should come after I’m aboard Queen Victoria!

Bon Voyage!

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