As all of my students know, my wife and I take fairly frequent vacations, usually cruises. Cruises are our favorite form of vacation for several reasons. For what you get, a cruise vacation is surprisingly affordable, and the food is always very good. We almost always take either Carnival or Royal Caribbean, since they are the only two lines that use Galveston harbor, at least up until November of 2012, when Disney Cruise Lines came there. We haven’t been on any of the Disney ships, and since they are substantially more expensive than either Carnival or Royal Caribbean, we probably won’t bother.
One of the things that I like best about Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (as opposed to Carnival) is that they usually provide some upscale music. On the trip we did in January 2013, I got to hear a trio from Ukraine named Fleur De Lis, consisting of three young women on the violin, viola, and piano.
Of course, as a teacher, there were things I noticed that most people would not. The violinist, in particular, tended to allow the lower joint of her little finger to straighten out consistently in the upper positions, possibly because her hands were a bit small. Also, while the playing was quite good, the violin and viola were not particularly powerful instruments, and the piano tended to overwhelm the strings, since they played with no amplification. The sound was well-blended, and the playing was reasonably “tight” even though the bowing was not always consistent. There were a few passages, typically pizzacato, where the strings were essentially inaudible even from my front-row seat.
Despite all that (and the fact that live venues aboard a ship tend to be a bit noisy), I enjoyed the performances, which consisted mostly of show tunes with a few relatively obscure semi-classical arrangements tossed in. Nothing extremely difficult, but a pleasant sound.
I thought briefly about trying out for a cruise ship gig myself, but quickly dismissed the thought. Cruising is something my wife and I thoroughly enjoy, but we always get an outside cabin with a balcony, and usually pay a bit extra for a suite. Performers and other staff get to sail for free, and also get paid (but not very much), but the major drawback of that sort of gig is that the cabin is going to be a tiny inside cabin with twin bunk beds, and no windows. My wife assures me that would not be acceptable.