#TBT: Alaska ’09 – Part 8 of 9

Part 8 of 9: Performing on the Cruise Ship!

In August of 2009, I (Sharon) deserted my husband Joe and our puppy Dobby (at the time we had had her for about a month and a half) to go on a cruise to Alaska with the choir of which I was a member at the time (we were booked to sing on the ship). Some of my writing style has changed since 2009, some of my snark is exactly the same and heaven knows that cameras and photos have improved in the past 8 years, but here is the trip report I wrote about those adventures…the good, the bad and the ugly! To get up-to-date on the trip:

Part 1 – Arriving in Vancouver
Part 2 – On board and getting my bearings
Part 3 – Rehearsals and relaxing
Part 4 – Juneau – Nature Trails & Humpback Whales
Part 5 – Skagway – Walking on A Glacier and Taking A Train Ride to Canada
Part 6 – Day at Sea – Hangin’ Around the Ship, Enjoyin’ Doing’ Not much…
Part 7 – Ketchikan – Salmon Fishing!

Another day at sea, this time on our way back to Vancouver so we could disembark for good and go home.

We were scheduled for a 2-hour technical rehearsal at 8am so I set my alarm for 6:45am and woke up at 5:30am. Argh! I figured it was a good thing though…I’d have to wake up early to disembark on Saturday and with Florida being 3 or 4 hours ahead, it gave me the opportunity to get closer to an Eastern Time sleep schedule.

I had ordered some whole wheat toast, a grapefruit half and coffee from room service and then off I went to the rehearsal.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe still had Gabriel the piano player from 8a to 9a and then our bass player and drummer arrived at 9a. We did 2 complete (or near-complete, time allowing) run throughs, including soloists (all of whom totally rocked!). We sounded good and we hoped to get a good audience. Unfortunately, we were disappointed to find out that, due to their company policy, Holland America would not advertise our show in any way, shape or form…not in their daily booklet, nor via announcement, so our audience was going to only be based on the word of mouth we generated (and the flyers some of the Sing Live people handed out and left on tables and in mailboxes). Awesomesauce (she said sarcastically).

I had an appointment at the spa for a foot and leg massage at 11am, which was provided by Patricia from Jamaica. I didn’t have anything else on my agenda until we needed to be around for our concert, so I went back to my chair, caught up on some blogging and watched the outside world go by. I also spent some more time doing the jigsaw puzzle and *almost* catching a nap (I think I actually did sleep for about 20 minutes but then Jessie woke me up…GRRRRR…good thing I like her, LOL!).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
With a 3:00pm concert, we were told to meet in our formal attire (which is what we were going to sing in) at A Deck by the forward elevators at 2:25pm. I wound up getting there WAY early…2:10pm or so and there was NOBODY there. Nor was there anyplace to sit. So I went back up to Deck 1, where they was at least a bench. Some others got there a few minutes after me and once we had a big group, we took a bunch of pictures on the bench, on the stair landing, etc. Anyway, at 2:24pm, we went downstairs to A Deck to meet our conductor and one of the ship’s crew, who brought us “backstage” to access the stage area of the Vista Lounge.

3 o’clock finally came and our show went off without a hitch. We’re sure we lost potential audience members because of the lack of advertising (AND we were up against Bingo and 3pm High Tea) but still managed to get probably between 150 and 200 people in the house. We didn’t care though…we just had a good time singing!

Once the show was over, I went back to my cabin so I could put “real” clothes on again. I then tried to take a nap but it never did happen. Pity.

Dinner was going to be a “special” one because it was our last night. The meal began at 7:30pm instead of 8pm and the menu had more limited, but generally more fancy choices (oxtail soup, duck breast, etc.) We each got a paper chef’s hat with the menu written on a separate piece of paper that was stuck into the hat – those who put the hat on (not everyone did) looked simply lovely!

As part of the “special” meal, the servers put on some little shows for us for different parts of the meal…even for the napkins!

We all lingered after dinner – it was the last time we would all be together and it was REALLY hard to say goodbye to so many of my new friends. Jessie had mentioned that a bunch of people were going to the piano bar, in case I wanted to come. I was already tired but figured I would have PLENTY of time to sleep on Saturday, between the bus ride back to Seattle and the 5+ hours on the red eye home. So after going back to the Explorations Cafe to check in our flight electronically, off I went. The woman at the piano was very good…she had a nice, contralto voice and knew a LOT of songs. Apparently a lot of people had been visiting her all week long because she knew just about EVERYONE in the place and had written a “final evening” song that mentioned all of her “regulars”, including most of our choir people (although I hadn’t gone to the piano bar all week, she recognized me as soon as I walked in because she had gone to our concert). Anyway, there were about a half-dozen of us from the choir at any given time, until they closed up shop at 1:30am…when the last 5 of us (me, Nancy, Anne, Jane and John – who had been falling asleep on his barstool for the last hour, LOL) finally called it a night. With my alarm set for 6:30am, I was (not surprisingly) asleep before my head even hit the pillow.

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