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TELSTAR47

Who Books The Onboard Bands?

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Just returned from a 10 night New Year cruise on Arcadia. The Headliners dancers and singers were excellent but we noticed they no longer had the support of a live orchestra, just backing tracks.  Who on earth books some of the 3/4 piece bands that play at various venues around the ship. One band we got was Peters Band and the sound was way below what you would get in a standard pub. So out of tune. Other bands slightly better but not anything like we used to get. You only had to look at peoples faces when they sang. On a previous cruise the keyboard player in a band was using pre recorded discs and was pretending to make out he was playing it. Come on P & O, check these bands a bit more carefully.angry.png

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Guest Solent Richard

Just returned from a 10 night New Year cruise on Arcadia. The Headliners dancers and singers were excellent but we noticed they no longer had the support of a live orchestra, just backing tracks.  Who on earth books some of the 3/4 piece bands that play at various venues around the ship. One band we got was Peters Band and the sound was way below what you would get in a standard pub. So out of tune. Other bands slightly better but not anything like we used to get. You only had to look at peoples faces when they sang. On a previous cruise the keyboard player in a band was using pre recorded discs and was pretending to make out he was playing it. Come on P & O, check these bands a bit more carefully.angry.png

 

Hi Telstar.

 

How many shows did the Headliners put on and were they all their performances without an orchestra?

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Guest Solent Richard

Just returned from a 10 night New Year cruise on Arcadia. The Headliners dancers and singers were excellent but we noticed they no longer had the support of a live orchestra, just backing tracks.  Who on earth books some of the 3/4 piece bands that play at various venues around the ship. One band we got was Peters Band and the sound was way below what you would get in a standard pub. So out of tune. Other bands slightly better but not anything like we used to get. You only had to look at peoples faces when they sang. On a previous cruise the keyboard player in a band was using pre recorded discs and was pretending to make out he was playing it. Come on P & O, check these bands a bit more carefully.angry.png

 

 

"On a previous cruise the keyboard player in a band was using pre recorded discs and was pretending to make out he was playing it.

 

It is now very rare to find a keyboard that doesn't have the facility to replicate sounds and music..

 

 

 

I certainly know the entertainer on a recent Viking River Cruise had so many accompaniments on his keyboard...

 

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I would say that the person who books the band is someone who doesnt have to listen to them….. There was one band who was doing the accompaniment on a cruise who were so loud you couldn't actually hear the singer… they were pretty dreadful and out of tune.

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Hi  I agree with ron;s assessment , it's about cost savings.  I spoke to a member of a lounge band and he said that the cruise line have always paid poorly but at least you got a free holiday.  In addition he said the best gigs (moneywise) was entertaining the crews on the North Sea oil rigs.

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Our last two cruises with P&O the bands have been good and in some cases excellent,some were the same bands that were on the ships on previous cruises up to 5 years ago. We very rarely go to the theater group shows anymore as we have seen the same shows many times so wouldn't know about live music. there was certainly a talented orchestra backing the cabaret acts in the theater. I wonder if the regular bands take a break around Christmas/new year ? 

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We had an excellent keyboardist/pianist on our last cruise in November called Stuart Anderson.

Furthermore on a former cruise when the Headliners were doing their interview session I asked the question about whether they were using a live band or a backing track and was assured that the music was always live. Even though we couldn't see the band they were playing under the stage. The main band was never playing elsewhere on the ship when the Headliners were performing.

However I do agree that some of the groups are not very good. With the abundance of excellent live musicians there is no need for inferior performers.

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Guest Solent Richard

We had an excellent keyboardist/pianist on our last cruise in November called Stuart Anderson.

Furthermore on a former cruise when the Headliners were doing their interview session I asked the question about whether they were using a live band or a backing track and was assured that the music was always live. Even though we couldn't see the band they were playing under the stage. The main band was never playing elsewhere on the ship when the Headliners were performing.

However I do agree that some of the groups are not very good. With the abundance of excellent live musicians there is no need for inferior performers.

 

Fair comment Tinkerbell.

 

One can't always see the live orchestra when a production show is performed.

 

You certainly see them when there are visiting singers/musicians on stage.

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Some of the bands I have seen on ships have been nothing less than appalling whilst others have been excellent. Now whilst I agree that what one person likes another will not I do think the standard on MSC ships is excellent and I say that having travelled on most of the well known cruise lines. I do love the way that a 5/7 piece group has in todays world become an 'orchestra'. 

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Guest Solent Richard

Some of the bands I have seen on ships have been nothing less than appalling whilst others have been excellent. Now whilst I agree that what one person likes another will not I do think the standard on MSC ships is excellent and I say that having travelled on most of the well known cruise lines. I do love the way that a 5/7 piece group has in todays world become an 'orchestra'. 

 

Nice one OWT.

 

There is of course  a massive gulf between the culture on board an MSC ship and a Cunard one and, not having, or wanting to, cruise with MSC I have no way of telling the numbers of musicians in individual groups playing aboard their ships.

 

What I do know is that Cunard call their two main purveyors of music 'orchestras' and quite rightly so. 

 

In the wider sense, "orchestra" generally implies a wider range of instruments, and probably of members, than a "band".

 

"Orchestra" also usually evokes an image of a more sophisticated style of music, while "band" implies a more "pop culture" ensemble.

 

Now that 'sophistication' and 'pop culture' analogy is also, in my opinion, more than representative of the difference between those two cruise lines.

 

Depending of course on other qualifiers used to describe the group, the terms "band", "orchestra" and more generic "ensemble" may be  used almost completely interchangeably.

 

Electric Light Orchestra and The Duke Ellington Dance band spring to mind.

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Guest Solent Richard

And so bacd to topic.

 

Who books the musicians?

 

Well it is the cruise companies who get them from an agency.

 

No different from the way they recruit the guest singers, comedians, lecturers etc.

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In reply to Solent Richards question the Headliners did around five shows. Orchestra consisted of a pianist, drummer, bass guitar and I think, three on brass. No lead guitar. They certainly did not provide the backing. The Headliners did a Queen tribute with sound alike Brian May guitar which certainly was a backing track. The only time the orchestra were on stage was with a singer and Tom O' Conner, and he only sang one song. Whenever there is an orchestra backing the cruise director always asks for a round of applause after the show for them. This time nothing. ohmy.png

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Hi Cruisedirector,

I agree regarding the quality of MSC entertainment. On the MSC ships I have sailed on it has certainly been of a high standard. In the review of my Splendida cruise last year I said they provided some of the best shows I have ever seen at sea. Aztec, Pyramid of Mystery, was truly a remarkable production and I have yet to see better on any of the many cruise lines I have cruised with. The other thing I enjoy about MSC  is not having to put up with 'tribute' acts of which some I have seen are more of a discourtesy than tribute to the original. 

OWT

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It is no longer the policy of P&O, in line with several other companies, to use live music to back production shows i.e Headliners. Unfortunately, this is all now done with tracks on all of their ships.

 

On the recent first sector of the Arcadia World Cruise the musicians were all excellent.

 

Inspiration provided a wide range of styles, something for everyone, including great strict tempo for dancing, and their singer has a great personality

 

The Sunshine Band also had a varied repertoire and Judy is a most versatile musician playing a variety of instrument. Occasionally there can be a language issue when she is singing (but her English is far superior to my Hungarian!)

 

In the Amethyst Duo we enjoyed lovely gentle singing and exceptional guitar expertise

 

John Wright is a most accomplished Cocktail pianist who was a pleasure to listen to.

 

Chris ????, who frequently played in the Spinnaker, Bar was also excellent.

 

Lastly the Arcadia Orchestra under Ray Lemond was a group of extremely talented musicians who rose to the challenge of providing backing, with very little rehearsal, for the numerous singers who used their services.

 

Certainly no complaints from us on the standard of music on this cruise. Well done to all.

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PS 

I would agree that Tribute acts are not my cup of tea. Would rather listen to a good singer singing as him/herself. Also please, please , please will the Sinatra / Matt Munro Tribute on this recent cruise dispense with the annoying habit of holding his head to one side ALL the time.

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