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Corinne enjoys life on the ocean waves

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Corinne enjoys life on the ocean waves

A YEAR ago Corinne Smith from Annan set off on a seven-month contract as a performer on a Caribbean cruise ship — not quite knowing what to expect. The 24-year-old has since been performing to audiences from around the world, as she gains skills and experiences that she hopes to one day take to a West End stage. In her own words, Corinne explains the highlights of working for the Carnival cruise line.

MY first year working on a cruise ship is nearly over. I am into my second contract and so far loving the experience.

Cruise ship life is way harder than I expected it to be – in a good way.
The rehearsals are so intense you don’t stop dancing from morning to night and you are constantly singing your solos and going over any harmonies you have.
I thought a singer on a cruise ship would walk on, sing ‘Goldfinger’ in a sparkly floor-length dress next to a piano and leave. I was wrong.
Carnival’s new style of shows are totally different.
One show night we are singing full ‘Epic Rock’ style, channelling our inner Bon Jovi, and the next is a ‘Latin Nights’ with salsa hips for days.
There are eight members of the cast, either a singer/dancer and dancer/singer, and four of each — two male and two female of each category.
We are required to do everything.
The dancers sing as much as the singers, and the singers dance as much as the dancers, which makes the shows very intense.
I never expected the shows to be half as challenging as what they actually are. You don’t stop from the minute the show starts.
Sometimes the costume changes can be more stressful than the actual show itself.

THEATRICAL . . . Corinne adopts a striking outfit for one of her performances
THEATRICAL . . . Corinne adopts a striking outfit for one of her performances

Not only that, if you are a new hire like I was it’s all the training you have to do which takes up most of your rehearsal time.
Then after all that is done you need to watch the shows at night so you can physically see what you will be doing the next six months.
There were a few things I didn’t think I would ever miss about land life, like a bedroom window, fast wifi and a home-cooked meal.
The luxury of being able to look outside and see what the weather is like is something I never even realised I took for granted.
I also never realised how fascinating a Scottish accent was to anyone not from Britain. They absolutely love our accents. Half the time they have no idea where we are actually from. I have had South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, of course; they see ginger hair, pale skin and assume I’m Irish.
They absolutely love Scotland and everyone has a connection to Scotland which is endearing.

DUET . . . Corinne and a colleague draw in the audience
DUET . . . Corinne and a colleague draw in the audience

There have been a lot of enjoyable and memorable moments working with Carnival.
Being based in America it’s rare we get British people, but after a show one night we were taking pictures and an older couple came up and said, ‘Are you frae Annan? I’m frae Dumfries’.
I never saw the couple again but I really appreciated a familiar accent.
Another enjoyable moment this year was when Carnival bought the famous Spike TV show ‘Lip Sync Battle’ which is being installed on most of the ships.
We opened it the other week and it was so much fun.
The guests absolutely loved it and the energy was amazing. Just a shame Channing Tatum wasn’t there!
As a musical theatre student at college the absolute goal is the West End and for me that still is something I would love to achieve.
Right now I am loving this job and the experiences I am gaining, not to mention all the beautiful places I get to visit — from Mexico to South America, New York, Canada, Bermuda and many more.
I think I would rather be here growing and developing my skills than taking the Megabus through the night from London weekly for auditions.
Although that is something I will be doing in the future, for now this is an absolute dream.”

GIRL GROUP . . . performing with other cast members on the ship
GIRL GROUP . . . performing with other cast members on the ship

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