March 9th, 2011, 9:35am
(DELETED so that I don't get fired)
Last night was a fun night. It was formal night, and Natalie invited me to go have a drink with the rest of the cast up in the schooner bar (deck 6, Starboard side, just forward of the South Pacific lounge). I poked my head out initially in standard dress blacks, but after seeing what everyone else was wearing I decided to go back belowdecks and break out the tux (pics to follow).
Spent the evening with the cast, who were in tuxes and evening gowns along with the rest of the passengers. There was a singer/pianist playing salsa in the bar, and then another four piece band down in the centrum also playing salsa. Guests were dancing everywhere . . . it was a fun night, between the drinks and the great music and great clothes.
So far, my favorite part of being in Latin America is the music -- not what I'm playing, but what is in the air around me. When you turn on the radio in the States, you generally get either stupid pop bullshit or stupid country bullshit. You can find that here, too, with cheesy Latin pop (current working term: L-pop), but turn the dial and you can usually find a great salsa band. The recorded music piped into the ship is not elevator music or lite rock, but is instead salsa, always with a full instrumentation of real musicians. Clave is in the air here, and I'm soaking it up.
Just finished my first time through the other full production show, "Full Access." It's the "rock" show, and there's a lot of good music. I don't care for the Madonna stuff as much, but there's some Blood Sweat and Tears, Queen, Sly Stone, etc. in it that's pretty good. The arrangement is less busy for the horns than the other show, and there are more pre-recorded bits which is too bad. I think if people knew how much music in "live" shows was prerecorded, they would be pissed.
We're on stage for this one though, which is nice. It gives us a chance to see the audience and cast. These two shows are not really aimed very well at the tastes of our mostly Central and South American passengers, so there's also a Tango show that has been added every Friday. The horn section doesn't play on it, but the Tango show is totally organic -- no click track, no pre-recorded stuff -- I'm going to check it out this week as I've heard it is quite excellent. I wish all the shows could be like that . . . but that's the bean counters at work.
Tomorrow's stop will be in Grand Cayman, and I'm hoping to get off the boat for the first time. There is apparently a hotel with a swim-up bar, private beach, and free internet that caters to crew . . . we'll see how it turns out. It's a tendering port, which means we have to take small boats into town from the ship instead of anchoring at a pier.
Jamaica was beautiful, by the way, as we were leaving. A storm was coming in over the moutains astern of us as we sailed out of Montego Bay . . . it made me wish I had a better camera. I got a couple good pictures but I don't know if they will come close to capturing the moment.