Travel, Arrival, and Meeting the Band- BLOG #2
Hey everyone! After a drawn-out day of travel, I finally made it to England and await my
first day of the contract tomorrow (11/13/17). I finally got some stomach butterflies on the way to the airport, realizing how long it would be before I returned to the states, let alone Utah (I'll stop in Florida once in the six month contract). It was an interesting day of layovers, repacking and a beautiful stroke of luck that eventually got me to the hotel, but overall smooth enough. After almost forgetting my backpack in my parent’s car when they dropped me off (I had a lot on my mind!), I was asked to go down to two carry-ons as three was too much to be carried onto the airplane, which including my tenor, clarinet and backpack. I elected to take everything out I needed for the flights and check my backpack, leaving my tenor and clarinet to take on the airplane, away from baggage transportation (though praying my camera would survive, packed tightly in my backpack). This is something I need to keep in mind for the future, maybe there's a carry-on sized luggage that would hold my clarinet plus my personal items (hint hint, family). Both flights flew easy, in fact, both flights had an empty seat next to me, which I found amusing as I thought that the third carry-on would fit no problem. However, I viewed having lots of room on long flights as a sign of early luck to the start of the cruise contract! My flight from JFK to England was so cozy with all the space, complimentary food and Samuel Adams (beer #1).
Fun fact, Delta gives out free chocolate truffle in honor of Veterans Day.
We flew into New York on a beautifully clear evening, after the sun had gone down, I can’t even remember the last time I flew into a city at night! It was like looking at a star-lit sky, with little lights stretching in all directions for miles, I was very impressed.
After arriving in England, I made my way to the bus transportation and hotel where I happened to run into the Trombone player of the show band I’ll be playing in, where he told me all sorts of quirks and stories about the boat. From the sound of it, he’s the only returning horn player from the previous contract, and the rhythm section is killer, they’ve been playing together for years. I thought this was something cool that Cunard tries to create, instead of hiring one band member at a time, and rotating people into the band individually, the goal is to have all musicians playing together all at once. That way everyone in the band goes on leave at the same time and starts their contract at the same time as well. This makes it so members can stay consistent throughout many years, if I end up staying with the same company these guys could be my colleagues for a while!
It seems like Cunard pretty much reserved an entire hotel for crew, staff and guests as well, I stayed at a hotel near the airport, and saw many people of many different nationalities milling around in the lobby areas. Upon seeing the musicians, I heard one of the crew scoff, “Americans” under her breath which I found amusing. It’s going to be very interesting to see how this melting pot will stir! We all were given three free meals as well, and if it’s any indication of what the food will be like on board, looks like a lot of rice and fried food…
As luck would have it again, I somehow ended up with my own room at the hotel, when many of the others had roommates. Whoever’s giving me this luck please keep it up! It gave me a nice day of privacy and quiet to get ready for the first day of work. In the evening I wanted to get out and have a beer, first one in England! I headed out to the local bar and funnily enough I ran into, you guessed it, the other cruise musicians. It was a great opportunity to meet and hang with pretty much the entire band (including the band leaders) I think I range anywhere from 10-30 years younger than most of the band members. Everyone seemed friendly and welcoming, and thought that Queen Victoria is a great boat to be on, including some of the guys that have worked 10+ years on various ships! I’m very glad I was able to meet them before the contract started, as it eased a lot of the tension of going alone. After a couple of beers however, I decided it was time to go to sleep seeing as I needed to get up at 5:30AM to go to Southampton!
This is the itinerary for the first cruise of my contract on Queen Victoria, ports include Southampton, Bruges, Amsterdam and Cherbourg, France
That’ll be all for this blog, I’ll be talking about my first day and embarkation on the next. Thanks to you who are reading! Please give it a thumbs up, like or share with anyone you'd think would find it interesting! If you’d like to ask me anything feel free to do so in the “Contact Me” box that should be in the bottom right of the website, I'll try to answer all questions (if appropriate 😉)
*Note* My blogs may end up behind my current time line, mainly due to being busy on the ship or having no internet! I'll do my best, but more on that in the next one 😉