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About this blog

Singer and Guitarist working on various cruise ships around the world.

Entries in this blog

Having fun on board!

Fun on board the P&O Australia ships. Even on the smaller ships they have been able to utilize as much space as they can. Flying fox, rock climb, walk the plank, waterslides and so much more.  before i go on, i would love to know in the comments what you guys might have done on ships that you have been on that was fun! I know that when I worked for Carnival they were starting to install a bunch of cool ropes courses, and Royal Caribbean has so many extra activities. I have never been on a Royal but the ads i have seen makes it seem unreal.  But with P&O i wanted to check out some cool things to do and made a video about it.  Thanks for reading and watching. I would love to hear your thoughts on fun things onboard ships. CHEERS!    

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

Comedy Themed Cruise

This past weekend I got to go on another themed cruise. This was called the BIG LAUGH COMEDY FESTIVAL. It was a 4 day cruise on the P&O Pacific Explorer from Sydney to Moreton Island (outside of Brisbane) and back. I have been on "comedy" cruises before. Typically its your normal 1 or 2 comedy shows and a couple little workshops, but this one was different. This really was like a festival. On the 2 sea days it was wall to wall comedians, 14 total, converting some of the rooms into comedy clubs. There were big acts on the big stages, but then they also had more intimate rooms that were equally hilarious. These shows would go continually throughout the day so you have to pick your own schedule to try and see them all. Myself and another P&O employee did a live facebook broadcast on the ship: It was great to see it all come together and be an event that guests will never forget. I also got to perform and play music every night and it was a great time, and I gained a lot of fans. Ironically, I am not a comedian, but sometimes i get portrayed that way because I have a lot of banter with the guests as I am playing, and usually after a couple of drinks I can be quite funny. Thanks for reading my blog, I try to make a new post every week but would love to get some input from you guys (the readers) on any interesting ship topics you would like to read about? Cheers!

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

 

"not Elvis" Themed cruise!

So the reason this title is "not Elvis" is because the real theme is "Tribute to the King" This was a themed cruise I went on recently. Apparently the Presley Estate doesn't give out the rights to Elvis easily. Which I thought was funny because no matter how you wordplay it people are going to say Elvis. Check out the video and then come back to read more.  https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=7nbcLL6xmY8 I got on this cruise in a weird way... I thought I was on to play, and then found out there wasn't enough room for me, basically hearing that I am confirmed and then on a waiting list about 5 times... and then basically it worked out, although I wasn't there to play music, I was there to make a video of my experience for promotion on P&O Australia. This might sound like I'm complaining but really it was a great chance for me to check out other acts on board and it was really cool to see people diving in to being "Elvis"  Backstage getting pictures of the performers one of the impersonators was talking to me with a thick southern American Accent and then a flip of the switch had a super thick Australian accent. That blew my mind how well they get into character. The cruisers were also doing their part, dressing up, and screaming like teenagers at a real Elvis concert like the KING himself was singing in front of them. It was a really good experience. I am excited that P&O will be doing more themed cruises and cant wait to share more stories of these. Next cruise in 2 weeks is a full on comedy cruise! So stay tuned and keep cruising!

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

 

SHIP LIFE Q&A

I opened up my facebook and instagram to anyone with questions about ship life.  I got some great questions, and some silly questions, and of course questions that had nothing to do with ship life. So I made this video to answer those questions including... "do they have a morgue?" The biggest question of all is when people watch this video and they want to work on ships, I am a big fan of anyone wanting to work on ships because this has changed my life in so many amazing ways. So if you are interested or have a family member that might be interested don't hesitate to ask and I would be happy to point you in the right direction. Also if you have any questions yourselves please ask and I will do my best to answer them. enjoy  

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

What is your favorite port to LEAVE?

So there have been a lot of magical sail aways ports... Venice, Antigua, Auckland, Messina, Athens, Singapore, and probably even more that I haven't done yet. Today I wanted to talk about Sydney Australia. I have sailed away at this port over 30 times and it is always something amazing... Going under the Sydney Harbour bridge and passing the opera house. I posted a couple of cool video of the experience... Before you take a look at those, I would just love to know which are your favorite ports to sail away from? This one is edited       this one is an actual 360 video that you can move your cursor or phone around and see it like it is.        

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

 

Typical day in the life of a ship musician

So a lot of people wonder what happens behind the scenes on ships... the next few blog posts will be dedicated to giving you some insight to behind the scenes.... First of all if you haven't seen any of my videos on youtube... check them out   So there are 5 things that musicians on ships typically do during the day...  SLEEP NAP SNOOZE HIBERNATE REST Sensing a theme? Most musician find themselves staying out late at night, doing their job and then socializing and then resting the whole day to have the energy to do it again the next night. Being a singer, I usually hide away during the day to rest my voice. Not that we typically go hard and drink the night away but being social on the ships is more fun than the alternative, but there have been times during my contracts where I got so hooked on a TV series that I would finish my set at night and then hurry to my room to binge watch until the sun came out. There have been other times in my contracts where I would stay out all night learning new songs to perform the following night. There also have been times when I wanted to be productive and get up at a reasonable time, go to the gym, be healthy and get stuff done. When I started making videos on youtube I would find myself going around the ship more and being creative. Which is a much better thing than sleeping 12 hours a day. Stay tuned for a new blog post every week !!!  Ill see you next time and if you have any questions or suggestions for blog posts please let me know in the comments 🙂      

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

8 years of working on ships

Since I started this blog back in 2011 working for Carnival Cruise Lines… I wanted to reflect a little about my time on ships. Although its only fair to say that over 8 years ago when I started ( Jan 2010 ) on the Carnival Freedom, I have actually only been on ships a total of 30 months ( 2 1/2 years) out of 8. The other 5 1/2 years I have been traveling and visiting all of the people I met on ships and playing gigs to cover that cost. This was my new life… driving, staying with friends/family, not really having a home. The opportunity for working with P&O Australia came in 2014 and I jumped at the opportunity to spend time down under.... little did I know it would be another life changing journey. P&O wanted to do an artist feature of me on their facebook and I made a video for them to highlight it. Check it out - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzfsDd2LDn0&t You never know where life will take you... you wouldn't even believe what my life was like before ships... (and ill get to that another time)  So get out there... cruise to exotic places and invite the musician to your town to play 😄

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

Food on Ships!

Working on P&O Australia recently I have been promoted to a new position. I have been classified as a "fly on" entertainer now, which means I come on for 1 or 2 cruises at a time to entertain the guests, and then I go home until my next short contract. It is a great position and gives me the ability to have more guest privileges. So I wanted to check out all of the restaurants on board and try the food out. I made a video about it too. FOOD ON SHIPS <- click to watch   The take away I get from this is that people are OVERLY critical when it comes to cruise ship food. To me, anything that you get on a ship in the middle of the ocean is going to be great. Maybe I appreciate it more because I used to eat in the crew and staff mess down below and that food would get very, well lets say not the best. So running around to these restaurants and even the ones that you do not have to pay extra money for, they are doing great things and making very tasty dishes. So next time you are on a cruise ship instead of being on the side that complains about every little thing, just enjoy it and look at it from the perspective of how much goes on behind the scenes in making the food for 3000 + people every day.  

Life changing story in St Thomas

This is not a blog about the port of St Thomas, the beautiful US Virgin Island, but more of some amazing advice from an individual living there. I was with a friend at a restaurant in St Thomas, the waiter came to us and you could tell he was from the States and not the Caribbean, so I just had to ask. "Where are you from?" He replied, "Philedelphia." Then he went on telling us how he used to be a school teacher but since all of the budget cuts in the school system he has not worked as a teacher for 3 years but waited tables in Philly to make ends meet. He then said something that will stick with me forever. "If I am going to wait tables, I might as well do it somewhere beautiful and in a place I will love to be all year long." He just blew my mind with that advice and I told myself that this world is far too beautiful to not enjoy it or love where I live. So I encourage everyone reading this… if you are not happy where you are, make a change! Life is not life unless you are happy!

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

Boat Drill... lets skip it... WRONG!

THE BOAT DRILL is probably one of the biggest buzz/fun kills after arriving at your final vacation destination. Why do we have them? Safety reasons no doubt. What about returning cruisers, sorry nothing can be done about it... It really has nothing to do with the cruise lines, only maritime (coast guard) regulations. Especially after that horrific accident on the Costa ship, it has become more important to follow. Luckily on some cruise lines, such as Carnival, you no longer need to bring your life jacket for that painful 25 - 30 minutes of standing and waiting in crowds or kids and drunk people. HERE IS THE SECRET way to avoid as much of the painfulness of that experience. Take your time getting to the muster station. Do not set course for that place until you hear the ship sound its whistle. At that point make your way to your spot and you will sit there in the front able to leave first in a mere 5 - 10 minutes. Please do not yell at or complain to the people working, because they are just doing their part of the job that sucks more than you having to be there. We do drills multiple times a months and have to be certified in being able to save you before saving ourselves! One couple I know tried to hide in their room, and were found skipping the drill and had to have an extra drill after they set sail, missing the sail away, and they were not happy. Room stewards do check rooms as part of their jobs to make sure everyone is clear in their section... I am just trying to make your vacation just a little more fun and a little less BOAT DRILL! Do you have good stories about boat drills you have done? I would love to hear them!

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

I missed the Ship! For Real (part 2)

So on my last blog I told a story about almost missing the ship.. Part 2 is also a true story about about actually missing the ship. This is one of the craziest stories I have had while traveling. I can say that when it comes to traveling to your ship or a transfer of ships when working for ships the cruise lines will waste a LOT of money. It all started while I was working on the Carnival Legend. It was a nice ship but the same ports every week can drive you crazy. I asked for a transfer to the Carnival Freedom, a ship I worked on before with great ports. When the time came to transfer, the ships didn't dock at the same time in Florida so I couldn't easily make the switch so I suggested to be let off at Cozumel for 3 nights when the Freedom would dock, but they ignored my plan and this was their "genius plan"! I arrive from the Legend on a Sunday... take a long bus ride to Miami, staying in a hotel and catching an early flight to Cancun and then to Cozumel. All went as planned until I got to the tiny plane traveling to Cozumel, and they were running late, which was not good because I was cutting it close. The plane was scheduled to land at 3:30 CST and the ship was scheduled to leave at 4 CST (you do the math because I don't think they did) I landed at 3:50 got in a cab and rushed to the port 40 minutes away. 15 minutes from the dock I could see the ship leaving... WHAT NOW? Without a phone, I rushed to the closest WiFi hotspot and emailed my agent, (after ordering a drink :P) they told me to find a hotel and stay the night and they will figure it out the next day, so I did. I had to check out at 11am, and waited in the Lobby with wifi my only means of communication until 6pm when they wrote me saying stay another night. They finally contacted me the next day telling me to get on the next flight off Cozumel to Dallas to Miami and fly out Thursday morning (Thanksgiving day) to Panama (the country) I got into Miami at 1am, stayed in a hotel but had to be back at the airport at 4am. Needless to say I was exhausted... and in my exhaustion I left my laptop at security (which i picked up the following sunday) but when I arrived in Panama and waited for my luggage, it never came. They told me it was coming in on a later flight, which didn't work for me because the boat would have to leave. So I wrote down where they could send it... and to make an even long story longer SHORT... I didn't get my luggage until 4 weeks later when we arrived at Panama again. YEA so thats my missing the boat story.. it was a nice little vacation in Cozumel... but to think of how much money they wasted on flights and hotels is crazy! Anyone out there have any great stories of missing the ship? Comment below.. i would love to hear them! thanks for reading and check me out www.thedannyblack.com So I checked in again after wasting a day in a Lobby.

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

I missed the ship! Close Call (part 1)

Missing the ship! This is what all of us Cruisers and Crew all fear. You will hear in this blog one of the best close call missing the ship experience ever! Lets start out with a little background info about the ship. If it says back on board at 4:30 it means you need to be back at least in the line to get on ship at that time, and at 5:00 the ship will sail away. If your missing on the ship they will go into your room and find your passport and give it to the dock agent, and will help you figure out what to do next. On Carnival I have seen people miss the ship and have to pay for their own transportation to the next port, or back home. Usually the captain will let you on on the next port but will have to have a "chat" with you... One of the crew's favorite things to do is to go out on the deck and watch the late guests run and sometimes miss the ship. We even make bets and its sad, but also funny. After reading the post, I would love to hear some of your stories of your close calls in the comments section. My close call... this is a great story! In Cozumel, I was asked to join the golf pro and production singer in a round of golf 40 mins (boat ride) away from the island of Cozumel. We jumped on a tender (smaller boat) that was taking guests to the main land for excursions at no cost. They told us to be back at the dock to re board the tender no later than 3:30 because back on board the cruise was 4:30. We had a great day at a beautiful golf coarse. We arrived at the dock around 3:20 and noticed that no other guests were around and the boat was not around. After a few minutes we asked someone what happened to the tender, and they told us that it left an hour earlier because it was hot and all the guests were back early. So we sat there going... ummmmm uh oh! They told us a dock 2 miles down the beach might have a boat to take us back. So we ran as fast as we can down the beach with our golf clubs, hot, exhausted and mile down the beach we realized how we don't have time to make it. So now we are in the middle of the beach at 3:45 looking to the water (cruise ship out of site) going, we are so fired. (it is not a good thing to miss the ship as crew) We saw a guy with a boat on the beach and asked him if he would take us to Cozumel, and negotiated as much as we can, and he said he can get someone. He radioed a friend and we sat and waited and waited, and about 10 nerve wrecking minutes later he came to the beach, and we had to run out to the boat, in chest deep water, with our clubs over our heads. Climbed in the small boat and had them take us in a tiny boat through the ocean, with LARGE waves crashing and soaking us. We realized that we might make it, and we had our hopes up. Then we could see the ship in the distance, and still did not realize how far away we were from it we were more excited that we would actually make it. Finally it was 4:20 and we were about 10 minutes away, and bad news, they told us they had to drop us off at a dock that would be a 15 minute cab ride away from the port.. We said, "out of the question, we know the captain, radio him and he will allow us on the dock." They did not have the correct frequencies, and so we talked them in to dropping us off at a dock close by the ship at a private resort. We arrived, (paid the guy a painful $300) and jumped on the dock, with a security guard telling us we couldn't. It was 4:30 (back on board time) so we ran past the guard ignoring him... Now we are running again another mile to the ship and scared to arrive seeing the ship pulling away. We were all so exhausted that it almost felt hopeless. Finally we arrived at the ship at 4:50 with the crew pulling the last ramps away and luckily without hesitation the security was nice and let us on. So after a shower and a couple hours sleep it was back to work as usual. Wow, what a scary close call. Stay tuned for next weeks blog where I actually missed the ship... and what happened next! Also check out my website www.thedannyblack.com & like my page facebook.com/thedannyblackpage

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

So how hard does the crew really work?

I had a question come in about "Ship Life" for crew: Larry asked, "Do you get days off and how many hrs. a day does the crew work?" All positions for crew are different, but there is actually 3 different levels of workers on the ship. Crew, Staff, and Officers. Crew are like cabin stewards, servers, cleaners, and most people you do not see on the ship. Staff includes entertainment, sales and guest service positions, spa workers, and kids department. Officers are always the italian looking guys in formal white outfits. We all had different lifestyles in our little floating island... different places to eat, some places others couldn't go into, and hours/responsibilities aboard the ship. The "crew" definately works the most hours throughout the day, and when you see a cabin steward always working it is important to know that they do work hard, but not as much as you think they do. Most Guests see a steward and think that they are the same person, and always see them through out the day, but the stewards work about 5 - 6 hours a day with no full day off. They have a 12 hour period of time that they work but take time off in-between when the guests are back in their room. They do get time to get off the ship and enjoy many of the ports. Entertainment staff has it pretty easy only working about 5 hours but spread out throughout the day, and usually get a full day off a week. I would probably say some of the hardest workers on the ship are spa, guest services and shore excursions, and the kid watchers. They work about 8 - 10 hours a day everyday with very little breaks. So make sure your extra nice to these workers. Officers, well what can I say, they have it pretty easy... Large cabins, and work about 4 hour shifts a day driving the boat (which is a HUGE task) They can pretty much do what ever they want on the ship and above security in some cases. So as it looks like we are slaves on board ship, we are certainly not. Crew parties, night after night of crew bar until 2 am with $1.25 beer, and the rest of the night out on the front of the ship under the stars. Week after week of crew activities, games, and cheap excursions. Ship life is great in its moderation... working on board a ship for 9 months would be death, but 4 - 6 months is not so bad as long as you have a few months between the next contract. Hope this answered your question. if you have any questions about working on a ship please let me know, and stay tuned to my next blog which tells some nail bitting stories about getting to the ship too late!!! YIKES, I have some good ones.... so until then follow me on facebook www.facebook.com/thedannyblackpage (like the page and send me a message telling me you read this and ill send you some free downloads)

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

Top ways to sneak alcohol on ships! *Insider Info*

I worked on cruise ships for 2 years and I have hung out with a lot of guests in that time. I always hear stories about how they sneak their alcohol on the cruise ship. I always perk up and ask "how?" They always were reluctant to tell me because they though I would turn them in, and I would always assure them its out of my own curiosity because everyone does it a little different, some work, some do not... Here are the do's and dont's to sneak alcohol on cruise ships. Know that most cruise lines do not allow you to bring your own alcohol on board with exception to 1 bottle of wine per person. When bringing your luggage aboard the ship they x ray and have the right to remove your alcohol. DO: One of my favorites is using a mouth wash bottle and food coloring. Fill up your SCOPE with clear liquor and put some green food coloring in it to make it green. That works so well! Use a liquor with high alcohol percentage to maximize your buzz (drink responsibily) DO: Water bottles. This is a good trick, but you have to make it look like you just bought them, meaning putting them in a pack of six. They will check if it looks like it has been opened. Don't try using a clear bag and putting it in your clothes in your luggage, I have heard to many stories about people that lose their alcohol, and in some rare cases, they get kicked off of the ship at the guest's expense. Don't let security or workers aboard the ship see you pour your liquor or water bottles into their cups. It is best if you have it in a bag, or even "pre game" in your room before you go out. Don't buy their bottles of duty free alcohol thinking that its a good deal, because they won't even let you drink it until the cruise is over! There are many ways to sneak it on, but believe me that they are searching for alcohol to make you pay for theirs. Im not suggesting that you bring all the alcohol you need for the cruise, but bring enough to help cut your bar tab in half! Share with me some of your stories... i would love to hear them! Thanks 🙂 ( www.thedannyblack.com )

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

Im Back

I'm Back! After signing off the Carnival Magic in Barcelona in September, I traveled the States bringing the Vacation to the people. I have been performing all over the States and heading to Europe and Australia soon. I decided it was time to share more inside information with cruising, for all the new and old cruisers and people looking to work on ships. I love to help guests on which itineraries and excursions on ports, whether they should do them or not or how to save money in the process! Ill be writing once a week, giving information and answering questions. If you have any questions that you would like me to answer send me an email DannyBlack@me.com (attn: CruiseCrazies) also check out this video to see what cruise life is like when you work on a ship… Also you can check out my website www.thedannyblack.com to see where I will be live! ps… I am only sharing this information on my blog but I have been asked to start working on ROCK BOATs this fall, where I jump on a ship for a weekend and open for bigger bands, or play through out the ship each night. I will keep you updated on this information! THANKS and remember MAKE LIFE YOUR VACATION!

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

Weezer Cruise

So after working on cruises for a good while, I finally broke down and booked a cruise as a Guest. I am going on the Carnival Destiny for the Weezer (band) cruise on January 19th. I have not been on a ship that did a concert style cruise but I am looking forward to it. I will be only stopping at Cozumel (a place i have been more than my fair share) I am still on tour all around the country. My next stops are in Salt Lake, Denver, Saint Louis, Columbus, Boston, Albany, Long Island, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Vegas, Rochester NY, Williamsport PA, Toronto, and DETROIT (home) Then a full month in Florida. Sounds crazy I know. If your in those areas you can find out more on www.theDannyBlack.com I am officially back to writing about the ins and outs, behind the scenes, and crazy ship life stories. So stay tuned each week for more tales! Thanks for reading =*DB=

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

Returning Home for Vacation After Working Onboard for 5 Months

Hi Everyone, Coming home from being on a cruise ship for 5 months is always different. You do not realize the differences of living on ships and living on land. Communication is completely different. Having a cell phone and texting is foreign to me again, and being connected online all the time without paying for it is amazing. However paying $3.75 a gallon for gas might be enough to send me back out on the sea. For ship crew vacation is sitting at home for a week and not anywhere tropical or scenic. It is relaxing to sit in one spot catch up with friends and family. As for me and entertaining, my vacation is short lived. I am planning shows and tours all over the States from October to mid December. The locations are on my website (and below). The shows will be very entertaining, if you can make it that would be great! My next venture might be an Australian cruise line in January.. (P & O) It will include more exciting BLOGS from the Australian coast! Thanks for reading! =*DB= THE DANNY BLACK FALL BACK TOUR Plymouth, MI ---------------- Sun. Oct 2 Minneapolis, MN ------------ Fri. Oct 7 Chicago, IL ------------------ Sat. Oct 8 St. Louis, MO --------------- Sun. Oct 9 Atlanta, GA ------------------ Tues. Oct 11 Charlotte, NC --------------- Wed. Oct 12 Raleigh, NC ----------------- Thurs. Oct 13 Washington D.C. ------------ Fri. Oct 14 Williamsport, PA ------------- Sat. Oct 15 Philadelphia, PA ------------- Sun. Oct 16 New York, NY (NJ) ---------- Mon. Oct 17 Boston, MA ------------------ Tues. Oct

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

Questions for a Shipboard Entertainer: Gaining weight, the food, contracts, perks, and shopping!

Hi everyone! Many people are fascinated about working aboard a modern day cruise ship. And I must say, it's a very cool gig. As soon as guests find out that I work aboard the ship, I am asked a wide range of questions.....I've been asked pretty much everything .... ranging from my personal experiences, how life really is at sea, crew contract questions, salary, food, perks, and more. I received some questions from CruiseCrazies members and I have compiled them below, along with my answers. I hope you enjoy, and please keep those questions coming! Q: Living on a cruise ship, how do you prevent the weight gain??? A: Most crew while living on the ship do not eat as much as the guests. We have certain dining times and do not have food everywhere we turn like the guests have. With the ships being so large we are also walking a lot daily (no cars) and we walk long distances at the ports. The only part crew find hard to avoid with gaining weight is drinking alcohol when they get off their shift and go to the crew bar. If this happens every night you will tend to see some weight gain. Q: Do you ever get to eat the same food as the passengers? A: In my position on this ship like other staff positions we get to have guest privileges and are allowed to eat where the guests eat but only during lunch and breakfast. If someone has family on board visiting, you can arrange to join them in the formal dining room. Q: What is the most common duration of contracts for shipboard employees? How does that work? A: For entertainment, most contracts are around 6 months. Some other positions such as spa have to join for 9 months on their first contract. Sometimes you can extend your contract but it is up to the head office to allow it. Q: What are the perks for working aboard a Carnival Cruise Lines ship? A: There are a lot of perks working with Carnival. Just being able to travel the world bringing your friend and family on board at a discount rate and meeting a lot of new people every week. Q: Is shopping onboard or in the ports really less expensive?? A: When buying something on a cruise ship it is always better to wait until later in the cruise when they have big deals... You might find a watch or necklace that you buy for $75 on the first day, that the second to last day it would be $40. When buying at the ports you just need to buy what you like but remember that you do not want to over pack on the way home if you are flying! Thanks for reading! *DB

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

Cruising with Hurricanes and Rough Seas

With the topic of hurricanes in the weather, many people ask what cruise ships do in a hurricane situation. Cruise ships always stay clear of rough weather as much as possible, this could result in different ports than on the schedule, or even sea days. The captain of the ship will always do what is safest. When I was on the Carnival Legend our port schedules were Isle Rotaan, Belize, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman. There were times when a hurricane was brewing around Isle Rotaan and Belize, or the port would be destroyed from the storm. In these circumstances we would always stay where the weather was best, or where the ports would be safest. Guests would sometimes be mad but would rather have a good day at a port than bad weather in unsafe conditions. When it comes to rough seas, I have been through some crazy conditions where things in my room fall over. Luckily I do not get sea sick, but when the ship is rocky, the ship is quiet. People are usually sick in their rooms, but the best want to over come that sickness, is not to be cooped up in your room but out in the open air. It is near impossible to avoid rough seas, but typically last for 8 hours. I rarely get to see storms living on ships, because we avoid them at all costs. But when we do go through a storm, I am always the first one out ready to watch. They are always amazing to watch at sea. Thanks! *DB=

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

Carnival's Red Frog Pub, Onboard Crew Food, and Port Manning

Hey CruiseCrazies, People often ask about life on board, different dramas, and annoyances of the job! But before I get into that subject, I will recap the last couple of weeks onboard the Carnival Magic. I have had family on board and will have friends and family visiting for just about the rest of the cruises that I have left until December 11th. The Red Frog has been packed just about every night I play. People are all around the stage dancing and having a great time... It wears me down but makes for a fun night. I had Kiss FM from Pennsylvania come do an interview with me for their morning show, and do some introductions while I played live. It was a crazy night! Just about any night I do my 80's medley of songs the bar will get crazy! I am starting to plan my 2012 schedule, mainly touring throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, and England. Now getting into some of the "Ship Life" life. Living on a ship traveling around singing is a dream job, and it would be crazy for me to have any complaints, but with every job there are a couple of things that get you upset. Port Manning is something every crew has to be on once in a while, just to keep you on the ship for about a week without getting off at the ports to make sure in case of an onboard emergency happened while at port there is enough crew to keep it under control. Onboard this ship they do it every 21 days, which is absurd. My last ships it was once every 2 months. I do not understand the change on this ship but it is high up on the irritating ship life list. The food here for crew will be the top 3 for any crew member. They do not give us very much variety for food just a cafeteria style that gets old very very fast! When it comes to crew and drama, I try to be friends with every one and not get to involved in the drama... it could make for a looooooong contract when you do that! I have another blog for Q & A coming up. I will be answering a bunch of your questions, so please post them as a reply to this blog post, or send them to Jason directly....He's going to create a list of questions from CruiseCrazies members! Hope this was entertaining to read. Thanks for reading! -*DB-

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

Carnival Cruise Ports in the Western and Central Caribbean

In the first Carnival Cruise Ports blog I covered the Eastern Caribbean so now I will continue on with the western Caribbean and central ports. Let us begin with Jamaica. Jamaica is a place I have been a bunch of times and have probably climbed the falls so many times. It is an easy place to get to. If you get off the ship and pass the main gate you can find a cab driver that will drop you off at the falls for a total of $15 per cab. They will also pick you up at a certain time to take you back. When you get to the falls you can walk in and pay $15 each and walk down to the base of the falls. I would recommend either bringing water shoes or renting them for $8. As you are walking down to the base you can find places to rent a lock to put your things in... if you bring your own combination lock or lock with key you can just use the bin absolutely free. The price for the lock which will fit up to 5 peoples things is about $8 but when you return the lock you get $3 back. Try to get there around 10 and head back to the ship an hour before back on board. The other things to do in Jamaica is zip line, bob sled and the ski lift to the top. In all honesty, for the prices of the zip line, bob sled, and that mandatory ski lift to the top it is not worth the price. Not enough lines in the zip line, and the bob sled is about 2 mins long. Grand Cayman: Grand Cayman has a couple great places to see. One of my favorites for the golfers or wanna be golfers, the golf course is beautiful with many ocean views, and huge iguanas roaming around. If you do the sting ray tour you will love it, but i would recommend going to the beach after that part of the tour and not go to the turtle farm or "hell" which are big tourist traps. Cozumel: I love the food and beaches in Cozumel. I think most people go to Cozumel to party at Senior Frogs, Fat Tuesday's or Three Amigos. If you head 15 mins by cab you can see Paradise beach, which has a lot of great spots to relax and have fun on the beach side. If you find it online, you might be able to pre negotiate a good deal to spend the day there. The Twister tour to Paradise that the ship offers is a great deal. You would enjoy that. If you're looking for a great restaurant in the main town, have a cab driver take you to El Abullo Geraldo, it has great food for low prices. Key West: On of my favorite things to do in Key West, is to rent a moped scooter and travel all around and see it all. Scooter rental is around $35 for 4 hours, and $50 for the whole day. Isla Roatan, Honduras: This is a great beach port, and some great snorkeling areas. If you want to get away and see the island, you can hire a cab to take you around with a car of 4 you would pay roughly $100 for a tour. Belize: Many ships are pulling away from this place because of the inconvenience and the port fees. I am not a big fan of the Belize port, so if you're looking for relaxation, stay on the ship. If you are a scuba diver there are some great scuba areas where you can swim with sharks. If you see cave tubing in the excursion itinerary, it sounds a lot more exciting than it is. You lay in on a tube and drift down a river and under some dark caves chained up with several others. It is uncomfortable and not worth the 2 hours of travel time. Costa Maya: If you travel to Costa Maya and are interested in great Mayan ruin tour this is a fabulous port for that. If you're looking for fun in the sun, right off of the boat there is a great pool area with a bar built into it. Costa Rica: Two great things to do in Costa Rica; If you get off of the ship you can walk through the cheap souvenir area and find a good tour place at the back of the main port building and get a group of 8 people or more and be able to go zip lining, beach, and canal tour that is pretty fun, for about $45 each person. The zip lining is my favorite here. Another exciting excursion here is the river rafting, you will love this tour. It is fun, memorable and safe. This will be roughly $60 per person but you need at least 6 people on your raft. Panama: If you come to Panama, you must take a tour to Panama City which is an amazing New York like city that will blow your mind. The city is about an hour and a half away so you would need to get off the ship, find a tour guide and negotiate a good price. They will also stop at the Pacific side of the Panama Canal locks, which is the best part of the canal. You could get a full cab and pay about $50 per person to see it all. Have the driver take you to the high end peninsula where there are some great restaurants and beautiful views of the city. An honorable mention for Mexico which is on the western side, Ensenada, not the greatest port off the ship, but if you like to golf you must check out the golf course that is 45 mins off the port. It is the most beautiful course I have played at with the back 9 holes on the side of the ocean with giant cliffs and ocean breezes. That does it for the Caribbean Ports that I have been to. I hope you enjoyed my take on what to do at these ports. Stay tuned for my next blog more in depth with ship life. Thanks for reading. -*DB-

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

Carnival Cruise Ports in the Eastern Caribbean

For this blog, I am going to go over a bunch of Caribbean cruise ports, talk about some of my favorite things at each port and things you must do. Eastern Caribbean: The eastern Caribbean is my favorite part of the Caribbean. The best beaches and sites for pictures and sailing around. Starting with Puerto Rico: Sailing into San Juan is one of my favorite parts of this port. You must get outside and see the sail in and sail away. Get a front row seat at the front of the boat. As far as what to do in San Juan, I would suggest seeing the Forts and walking around the city, possibly hire a cab to give you a grand tour. Depending on the time of year I could suggest the tour to see the Glowing water canoe tour. It is rather far away, but if you're in San Juan during the night and in the winter time, it is a must see.   St. Thomas: What a great port, one of the best for snorkeling, I would suggest to get off the boat, and take the water taxi to St. Johns island, and Snorkel there. You can also hit some other beaches on the other side of St Thomas which would give you some great sights of the island. If you are a golfer, you would love the golf course in St. Thomas, it is a little expensive, but much worth the price to see some great spots on this island that no one else sees.   St. Maartin: I have not been to St. Maartin a lot, but when i was there, I would recommend renting a jeep outside the ship, you can talk them down to $40 for the day, but there will be an extra fee of $10 after you agree to that price so don't be shocked. Take that jeep all over, especially the beach next to the airport. It is quite a sight to see 747's landing almost on top of you, or when they take off they will blow you into the water. Also venture on both sides of St. Maartin, the dutch side, and the french side. You will love the views while driving in a jeep with the top down. Antigua: If you're looking for the best beach, you have found it here. My personal favorite (Valley Church Beach) You can take a cab, for $30 total in your group and they will also wait there and take you back when you're ready. This beach is beautiful. This port is also another favorite for sailing away and watching the landscape as the boat sails away. St. Lucia: This island has fantastic landscape. I have some pictures that you wouldn't believe. Some fun places to go here are the mud volcano, where you can cover yourself with mud and it is rather refreshing, the zip line tour here is also fun if you are into excitement.   St. Kitts: St. Kitts is not one of my favorite ports, but it does have a couple of great beaches to see. It is a very small island, and not entirely the safest place to be. Tortola: Tortola has 2 places I would recommend. One of the best beaches with amazing waves that you can boogie board or surf (inexpensive rental too). It is called Josiah's Bay... It is a CREW SECRET. You will not find guests at this beach. The Virgin Gorda is another place you might want to visit. You can get off the ship and take a water taxi across and walk right in. When the water taxi drops you off you have to pay for a cab to take you up the hill... It is a long walk otherwise. Virgina Gorda is a few beaches that are surrounded by giant boulders, and to get from one beach to the other you have to climb through caves. It is pretty neat, and the water is crystal clear. Nassau: Nassau is one of those bahama ports that you either go to the beach, or you go to Atlantis. The Atlantis water park is not all that bad though, but for the price $130 each, it is not worth it. However, there is a loophole! If you get a room at the hotel, it will cost around $200 for the night at the cheapest rate, which will get you 4 passes to the water part. That is a steal, and when you are done, you just check out! I just realized that this Blog is turning into a short novel, so I will save Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Key West, Isle Rotaan, Belize, Costa Maya, Costa Rica, Panama, and Ensenada (other side of Mexico) for the next one. Then I will start getting into the juicy crew life posts. You won't want to miss those. Thanks for reading! -*DB-

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

Carnival Magic Cruise Ports - Part 2

Cruise Ports - Part 2: In part 2 of this blog I will be discussing more Mediterranean ports. Let us begin this series with Livorno. Livorno is a great port with a lot of great places to see. Two places I would recommend going to are Pisa & Florence. You would think that seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa might not be all that special but it is one of those amazing sights that makes you feel like you have crossed something off of your list. Florence is another beautiful place but is rather far from the port. Florence is a place where you just take in the atmosphere of an old city. You can take a bus from the city of Livorno to the train station and then head to Pisa for around $15 total. Taking a train to Florence would be like $25 total. The next destination to review is Venice. One of the most romantic and beautiful ports to sail in and away from. Make sure you are on the front of the ship watching us pull into or away from the city. When you are in Venice, I would recommend walking to most of the places. If you can not walk to well I would tell you to take a water taxi to St. Marks Square. The bell tower in St. Marks Square is the bell tower which you can take an elevator to the top for $12. You can get the best view of the whole city from the top. The best time of day to do this would be 6:30pm before they close the elevators. Around 5 pm you can take a Gondola ride. You will see the drivers all around the city, wearing the same outfits. They charge $90 for 30 minutes and up to 6 people per trip. In the evening you should take a stroll to the west side of the city and get some amazing pizza by the water. The next port is Dubrovnik, Croatia. This is a great port to walk around and see some amazing sights of the old city. You can walk to the bus stop and get a ride to the city. If you like excitement, I would recommend getting jet skis here and taking them all over. There are a lot of beautiful pictures you will take in Dubrovnik. Messina and Naples are not all that exciting of ports in my opinion. I have yet to discover much to do. Mt. Edna (the volcano) would be my only suggestion for an excursion in Messina, other than that I would recommend walking around the town or staying on the boat and resting up because you are on vacation! Naples has Pompei and Capri. Capri is what I would suggest to see out of Naples. You can take a chair to the top of the mountain and get a great perspective of the area. Pompei is good if you like old ruins and interested in history. I hope those are good suggestions for you guys. We also have Marseilles, Savona, and Palma De Mallorca, but I have not done anything in these ports that I can write about. Next week I will talk about my favorite Caribbean Ports and activities, and the blog after that I will get more into ship life, behind the scenes, even some of the drama (which is what many people have been requesting). Thanks for reading! -*DB

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

Carnival Magic Cruise Ports - Part 1

Cruise Ports - Part 1: I am going to do a series of Blogs covering all the ports that the Carnival Magic goes through, and also most of the ports in the Caribbean that ships typically sail to. This will be a guide of things to look for at each port. Let us begin with Monaco/Monte Carlo France. This is one of the most beautiful ports you will see in Europe in my opinion. There are big yachts and many things to see. I would recommend walking around the city or getting a tour of the city. Nice and Eze are cities near by that are beautiful as well. I would recommend taking an excursion to see those places, or do your homework before and take the train there. Rome is the next destination on this Blog. There is a lot to see in Rome, but in fact you can see it all in 5 hours for $35 each person. Just take the local train for an hour ride, get off and see the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevey Fountain, Pantheon, and the Vatican. There is one more place people talk about seeing, the Spanish steps. I would not recommend this site, only because it is not worth the time to get there. The secret of the Colosseum is to go to the Roman Forum across the street of the Colosseum and you can get your ticket in the Forum and it will also get you into the Colosseum without waiting in the crazy long line! By the time you get to the Vatican there is less people around and much easier to see inside. You can hire a guide to tour you through it all, but after you have seen the rest of Rome you might not be wanting a tour. If you have any questions about those ports, please let me know. I will give info on Livorno, Venice, Croatia, Messina, and Naples on the next Blog! Thanks for reading. -*DB-

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

Frequently Asked Questions on Ship Life

I get asked a ton of questions every day by guests on the ship. Most of them are the same questions. I was able to compile a list of 10 questions that are asked most frequently. Q: How long have you been working on Ships? A: I have been working on ships since end of January 2010. I did a 6 month contract on the Carnival Freedom... I subbed in for someone on the Paradise out of LA for a couple weeks. Then I did 2 months on the Carnival Legend followed by 4 months back on the Carnival Freedom. 5 weeks after I flew to Europe for this current ship (Carnival Magic) Q: How did you get into working on ships? A: For me I saw an Ad in Craigslist working through an Agency that can put me on any cruise line. Landau.com is the company. It is expensive 15% is their fee but they do a good job. Another way to apply is to go to a cruise line's website and look for their application link! Q: Do you live on Deck 0 or below and share a room with others? A: While all ships and positions give different accommodations, I personally have been on a ship that was below sea level, and a room on the 4th floor.. My room on this ship is level 6 above the Disco. My position grants me my own room which rocks! The most roommates any crew has is 1. Some rooms join at the bathroom and shower, so 2 people might share that with 2 other people. Q: Can you get off the ship? A: Amazingly people ask this question a lot, and the answer is yes. All crew can get off the ship, most positions have their schedule during a port time. There is no reason for me to play while the guests are off the ship so I can get off the ship every port! Q: What do you do when you are not playing? A: When I am not playing, I am probably sleeping! haha most of the time, if I am not out at a Port using internet, I will be working on some side projects, video editing commercials for companies who hire me back in the States, writing songs, learning new covers, watching movies, working out, or talking with guests. Always trying to fill my time with something constructive. Q: What is next for me? A: I am not certain what I will be doing after this ship. I will have offers on other ships, but I have a few great opportunities and shows all around the US and other countries. Q: Do you get Free Internet on the Ship? A: The answer is No but it is at a discounted rate of what the guests pay. We pay per minute, and you can tell when you see a wifi hot spot in a port and all the crew is gathered around it! Q: Being away for so long, do you miss your friends and family? A: I have great friends and a spectacular family (not married or have kids of my own) but being away from them is hard but thanks to facebook, skype, and email, I can keep track of them and keep in touch! It also makes it that much better to see them when I get home, or when they come to visit. Q: How long is the turn over from cruise to cruise? A: There is no break between cruises. When the guests leave the ship a couple hours later new guests arrive and we leave that day! It is amazing how they can get everything set for the new cruise so quickly. Q: What is my favorite cruise destination? A: My favorite cruise destination would have to be the Eastern Caribbean. The islands in the Eastern Caribbean are beautiful and the beaches are incredible. Puerto Rico, St Thomas, St Maartin, St Lucia, Antigua, Tortola are all my favorite ports! Georgous! If you have any questions just ask! I would love to answer some questions that I have not answered here! Thanks for reading... - DB-

whereisDannyBlack

whereisDannyBlack

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