Friday, December 21, 2007



Just a quick note to say Happy Holidays!

We just finished a five day cruise. On the five day we go to Cozumel & Grand Cayman, both are lovely places to visit. We didn't do much in Cozumel. Just went to an internet cafe and ate guacamole and drank mochas...not at the same time.

On Grand Cayman, we went to a beautiful beach called Smith's Cove. This was a half sand half volcanic rock beach with fantastic snorkeling. There were all kinds of fish there and a bunch of large coral heads. I think I saw an freaked me out and right after I saw it a leaf touched me and I screamed. Yes, I love the ocean but it still scares me. That means I respect the ocean!

Okay, well we're off on the Christmas nine day cruise. On Christmas Eve we'll be on Tortola, we're thinking about going snorkeling at Virgin Gorda or to the beach at Brewer's Bay. Either way I'll be in a swimsuit with a snorkel on my face.

For Christmas, we'll be on Antigua. I'm not sure what we'll do on Antigua. Maybe head to Nelson's Dockyard and Devil's Bridge and (surprise) a beach for some snorkeling!

For me Christmas will be a hot and humid affair where fir trees look weird and people insist on saying, "Happy Christmas, Mon!" I'll miss my Midwestern/New England Christmas but I won't be miserable!

Happy Christmas, Mon!

L & J

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Photos Blog

Hey Again...

I forgot to mention that Larrance and I have been playing a lot of hackey sack. Yes, that game with the little ball where you kick it with your foot and try to pass it to other people. Mike is a big hackey sack fan so we're trying it out. I think we're getting quite good. Soon I'll be named "All American Sports Phenom" of this cast...

Okay pics.. know who we are!

Our friend Mike and a Giant Larrance on Barbados

A grey day on Barbados

Caribbean Side and Beach of Pigeon Point

The Atlantic Side of Pigeon Point

Dramatic sky over Pigeon Point, St. Lucia

What’s Been Going On...


I know I haven’t written in a while so what have I been doing? Well....getting used to the new ship, settling into our schedule, and relaxing. Yes, relaxing!

The seas have been uncommonly rough for the last couple of cruises. I guess this might be due to the fact that we’re at the tail end of hurricane season or maybe the fish are revolting or maybe Neptune is angry....anyway the nights have been super rocky. I don’t know if it’s because this an older ship or because the seas are so rough but this is a creaky ship. We’re living on deck 4 again and at night I just listen to the ship creak and waves crash on the hull and our porthole. A couple of times I’ve been awoken by a big crash....I think it might be being woken up, but, those times feel like the ship is being tossed about by the ocean. Okay, ocean, we get it! You’re mighty!

On this ship they have chairs on deck 7, my favorite deck, so I’ve spent a lot of time out there reading and watching the flying fish and the moody waves. It’s so nice....lots of people nap out there which I find weird. I don’t mean they fall asleep in their chairs overcome with sleep as they’re reading - no - they take a chair and get some towels and make a bed and go to sleep. I feel like telling them they should go back to their rooms to get some rest but I refrain and let them slumber. So you can nap in a chair but let’s not make a bed, okay? Okay.

We’ve had some great snorkeling adventures. On the last five day cruise, we all went to West Cemetery Beach on Grand Cayman. It’s called Cementery Beach because it’s behind a cementery complete with graves! The snorkelling was crazy! Grand Cayman has a fringe reef meaning that it surrounds the island and is accessible directly off the beach. We walked in and about 5 feet out there were FISH! All kinds - I’m strarting to learn some of their names - Goat fish, Red Squirrel fish, Solider fish, Blue Tang, Yellow Tang, Grey Tang(?), Nassau Grouper, Grand Cayman Gamma and a huge lobster/crab thing.

While the snorkeling was great, the fish were super aggressive. They followed us or swam up to us..I got nipped at one point but no blood was drawn. I think that people might feed the fish and so to them we looked like a bunch of floating lunch ladies. Larrrance and I swam out to the larger reef that was waaaaay out - I’m getting to be a much stronger swimmer, I can keep up with L - and out there were some huge fish. The biggest was a like a 3 or 4 foot silver fish....which was great until it decided that I was a lunch lady....I can swim fast...away from overly friendly fish. Next time we’re going to bring our fins and go out a bit further and bring some fish mace.

We also went to Long Bay on Tortola. This was not a snorkel day. Nope. This was a play in the huge crashing surf day. I didn’t go out far at all - it was so rough and the undertow was powerful. I practiced a bit of body surfing - which really means I got myself unafraid of the huge waves. This loss of fear was based on my feet being firmly on the ground at all it wasn’t body surfing so much as bobbing...but that’s a step in the right direction.

We also went to Pigeon Point on St. Lucia. Pigeon Point is lovely because on one side is the Carribean Sea and on the other is Atlantic Ocean. The Carribean is calm and lovely while the Atlantic is violent and dramatic. Last time we went there, the snorkeling was disappointing because it was so murky. This time was sooo different. The reef was small but filled with anenomes, coral and tons of fish. I saw a butterfly fish, rock fish, angel fish, parrot fish, damsel fish, yellow tang, and so much more. The whole cast went together and we were joined by Roman & Svetlana and Sasha. Roman and Svetlana are married and usually they are the ballroom couple in the JAR shows on the ship. Right now Svetlana is pregnant so Roman has a new temp partner, Sasha. They’re all from Belarus and lots of fun. We all spent some time together and some time apart. Larrance and I ended up on the Atlantic side to have lentil soup and cheese toasties and a Piton was a great day.

We’re looking forward to Christmas on the ship. We’re all doing a Secret Santa gift exchange and planning a little celebration in one of our rooms. We’ll all miss our families but overall I couldn’t be more grateful to have such a wonderful group of people with me on the ship!

More soon.....

Jen & Larrance

Friday, November 30, 2007

Thus Spake Larrance....

Larrance here. I thought I'd take a stab at a blog entry. It's the first of two sea days at the end of our first nine day cruise. Jen is in the gym working out and I'm just taking it easy. Our whole cast had to get up early today to attend a safety training where we learned about fire doors and other useful bits of information.

Our status on the ship continues to evolve. When we first got on two weeks ago we were simply guest entertainers who are basically passengers who happen to live here for 4 months with little or no access to crew parts of the ship. This is a change from last year when we were officially crew with passenger rights.

Not having access to crew areas is a problem because we become friends with other crew members but can't visit them in their quarters or get together for drinks in the crew bar. The safety officer told us this morning that living here for 4 months we need training above and beyond what normal passengers need.

Also, Second City cast members traditionally get involved in many crew activities such as helping out arranging parties and helping out in the crew store.

So, these problems obviously have come to the attention of the NCL corporate heads and they've now restored all crew access to us which is great.

The crew and staff on this ship have been amazingly friendly and warm to us and now we can join them and do things with them much easier.

We also, as a cast are doing our part to engage the passengers. We attended the VIP party and shmoozed and have taken many opportunities to talk to the other guests as well.

Our show was late in the cruise--day five of the nine day cruise. All the other entertainment on board has been of an exceptionally high calibre. A juggler named Edge puts on a fantastic performance and the JAR dance company has 3 very good and impressive shows with a talented cast.

The bar is set very high on this ship and even though our first cruise shows went very well (the five day was a young crowd) I was nervous for this weeks cruise. On a nine day cruise the average age of the passengers is much older and I was concerned that Second City comedy may not go over as well.

The 7:30 audience did seem to need to warm up to us but they did and the show went well. The 9:30 audience was with us from the get-go. We've been receiving a lot of positive feedback.

Our show features a lot of meaty relationship based scenes and a lot of improvisation including ending the show with 10 to 12 minute long improvised musical which is nice for me to have a more creative role in the main stage show.

It's a fun show and we have a great cast of all talented and good friends that have all worked with us in Maine many times as well.

Tonight we perform the fully improvised show in the lounge.

Yesterday we were in St. Lucia where we spent a few hours at Reduit Beach--swimming and playing frisbee.

Around 3:30 PM just after Jen and I had returned to the ship, as we were cleaning up we felt the ship rumble. My first thought was the they started the engines for some reason but I quickly realized that we were experiencing a fairly large earthquake. The buildings right at the port were swaying and I heard reports of merchandise tumbling in the shops.

Normally, when a ship is at sea an earthquake would go unnoticed but because we were docked we felt it on the ship pretty strongly. It lasted a good 60 seconds.

The captain came on the loudspeaker later in the day to assure the passengers that there was no damage to the ship.

This was my second earthquake. It was 7.3 on the Richter scale and the epicenter was only about 100 miles away near Maritinique.

My first earthquake was in Bar Harbor last year 2 minutes into the start of our show when the 4.6 magnitude quake just a few miles away (virtually underneath us) felt like a truck hit the building. It was a quick and sharp explosion. This one was longer and felt more like lateral vibrations through the ship.

This past week we also went to Brewer's Bay in Tortola. In Samana and Antigua, and Barbados we just took it easy and walked around the port. We'll plan excursions for future visits.

We're enjoying our second contract and have been settling in. I have good access to the grand piano and I also brought a full (medium) sized electric MIDI keyboard so I can get some work done on my music as well. Once I've settled in and remember I not just on a perennial vacation.

Jen will write more soon.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Home...Rehearsals...3 Day....5 Day


No photos to post this week but I'll have my act together by the end of the next cruise (9 days).

At this point Larrance and I have turned our house over to our winter tenant, Alix, traveled to Maryland (Larrance), St. Louis (Jen) and Omaha (L & J). After we finished visting family, we flew to Chicago for 3 days of rehearsals. We had a great rehearsal process as we were blessed with a fantastic cast (Rance, Deanna, Andy, Mike and us!) and a great director, Matt Craig. We had a lot of fun in rehearsal and it seemed almost effortless. Matt allowed us to create an improvised musical piece to close our Stardust show. While we were in Chicago we also saw our friends Rich & Rebecca Sohn, and played with them (and Mark Sutton) at the Annoyance Theater. The Annoyance Theater has moved into a new space up on Broadway by the Green Mill and it is a great space. They have a bar in the front and a theater in the back with offices on the second floor. The show was dirty and fun and fairly musical. One of our students/waitreses/interns, Sarah, has moved to Chicago so we saw her and took her out to dinner.

The day we flew to Miami we had to leave our apartment at 4am in the morning. We were staying in a "corporate" apartment just below our director so we all took a limo to the airport together. about 3:50am we're starting to get our luggage outside and Matt is already out there. We were told to leave the keys in the apartment and to leave the apt. door unlocked but of course the outer security door would still be locked. So Matt was outside and we brought out our first load of luggage and Matt held the door for us. As we went down the stairs, I looked back to see Matt letting the door slowly close and just as it clicked shut (with an audilbe click of the lock) Matt said, "you have your keys, right?" and Larrance said, "you didn't just really do that, did you?" We all panicked. Matt buzzed one of the apartments. Larrance ran to the door as the limo pulled up to the curb. Larrance asked for something sharp or flat and I gave him my debit card and he managed to jimmy the door open! Catastrophe averted!

We got to the airport and made our first flight to Cinn., OH. While we were there we had breakfast and sighted Tim Gunn!!! Yes, there he was walking through the airport looking dapper and handsome. It was very exciting. Beth approached him (usually against her rules but she loves him) and told him that we're all from Second City and that we appreciated his show. He'd heard of Second City and thanked her very warmly. Tim Gunn!!!!!

Our flight to Miami was delayed but we made it and the process of getting on the the ship was easier than anticpated. We checked in and began our on ship rehearsals...which is a tale I will tell next time on Jen & Larrance on a ship....I'll also have photos....



Saturday, October 27, 2007


Hello to Anyone who might still be checking this Blog....

We're going on another ship, the Norwegian Jewel, we sign-on on November 15th. I will once again be keeping a blog of all our ship adventures.

We closed IA for the season 2 weeks ago today. We had a great season. I know I promised to blog throughout the season but I just couldn't seem to get it together. Blogging on the ship is easy because I have set days that I can update (free computer access) so that gives me a deadline. During the season I can do it anytime so I don't do it....
Also everyday is kind of the same so I feel like there's not a lot to write about - there are many events but it's the same event over and over again. It goes like this: Larrance and I got to theater early to clean up from the night before and to answer the phone. We either get dinner our or eat what I made during the day. Then we warm-up and do 1 to 2 shows.
I know, I know. There's a lot that goes on so next year I'll just have to try it again. Maybe I'll give myself a deadline...

So Anyway...the ship blog will begin around Mid-November. Check it out!


Monday, May 28, 2007



So ImprovAcadia opened on Friday night to a sold out house! The first cast is Rebecca & Rich Sohn and me with Larrance on the keyes. The show went well and we had a good time. We tried a lot of the new improv games that we learned on the ship and brought back some old chesnuts.

For some reason, the opening this year wasn't as stressful as year past. I suppose it could be that Rich & Rebecca are a very relaxing presence or that we got to relax for four months on a floating town or that by this point we know what we're doing re: opening - whatever the reason the stress level was low. This actually made me a little nervous - I was like, "Where's the stress? This can't be good. Or can it?" Turns out to be good. Funny how stress can be a security blanket or a barometer of things "going right." I mean not really because it's not. You get it. Don't act like you don't. Okay then.

We also had two sold out houses on Saturday night and we had a great house last night. We're closed today!!! Day off for everyone!!! This definitely merits the use of exclamation points as Larrance usually doesn't get a day off but this year he does!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our dessert person, Cas, made Coconut Cupcakes for our dessert special. Please note I LOVE coconut cupcakes. I haven't eaten one (they're for theater!) but we did cut one up so everyone could taste it. Delicisasty = Delicious + tasty.

I think we're going hiking today or we might go to the Wyeth museum in Rockport/Camden. The hike is 30 minutes away and the museum is 90 minutes away so the hike might win.

We're trying to get some photos but here's one of the cast from last year - see if you can figure out who's who....

Here's a pic of Larrance at the piano...

So ImprovAcadia is open for season four - Yay!


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A time to go through our stuff


Well Larrance and I've been working on getting the house and the theater ready for season #4. We've been doing lots of cleaning and reorganizing.

We were worried that we were coming back to a very messy and unorganized house but we left it really neat and fairly organized. The funniest part is all the notes we left ourselves....notes that we forgot about....I just found one yesterday on the bar about what I need to buy for the theater/bar. I was so together before I left! I impress myself.

The house is very close to being ready for the summer of actors! We just have to finish tidying up the living room and dining room. And we have to move our room out to the summer bedroom aka the converted garage. Just last week it was so warm that we were thinking we might move soon but it's turned rather nasty and cold this week so we'll wait..

I've been continuing my workout regime here at home. I don't work out quite as frequently but I've been going for three times a week - walking, weights and jumping rope. I hope to continue this over the summer. I need to find a medium ground so my arms don't ache and feel like limp noodles during the shows.

We spent most of the day at the theater today getting orders - today we got about half of our beer and all of our food. So that meant that I had to reorganize the storage room. The storage room is also the dressing room so I had to make sure we had plenty of room for the actors and for all of our stuff. I also cleaned out the freezer and turned on the freezer in the bar/kitchen area. We have two freezers and two fridges. The two that are in the storage area are left on all winter to keep stuff....uh, cold. So I cleaned those out to prepare them for the new arrivals and turned on the one in the bar to get ready for Summer.

Sarah Marino (improv student, former waitress and all around swell gal) was helping me today and what a help she was! She washed all of the glass wear, cleaned the lobby and set-up the kitchen. She is fantastic. Sarah won't be working for us this summer because she's going to Chicago in July/August to take the i.O summer intensive. Chicago! Be good to her.
All of Sarah's help left me free to tackle some other projects which was great. I finally made order sheets for SYSCO (our food and paper products people). This involved tracking down all the SYSCO boxes and finding the item order number and writing it down. I also made a master order list of all the things we order from SYSCO and everyone else. As well as a master grocery shopping list. I've never done any of this - I always redid it everytime I had to order. How dumb is that? I know, super fracking dumb. So no more, now I have an order sheet! Yay for organization after 3 years. It took that long to sink-in but it did sink in. I'm like limestone!!!

So today the bar started looking like the bar again and we were once again serenaded by the soothing sounds of the freezer compressor. The dressing room/storage area looks wonderful. I've been on a big kick of going through everything....sorting drawers, baskets, stacks.....and I've managed to clear up a lot of junk. I feel much better about the house and the theater. At home I've gone throught my clothes again and done another purge. Being on the ship made me realize that I really do just live off of 1/3 of my clothes so good-bye other 1/3. I still need the other 2/3rd's as a security blanket. No, just kidding. I've gotten rid of another big pile of clothes and some shoes. gasp.

We're still working on filling one gap in the theater schedule. We have a two week gap at the end of the season. It looks like we might have it filled but we're waiting to hear. I hope so. Cross your everything and hope with me!!

So our list has shrunk to one page each....we open in just over a week and I think we're going to be ready. We just have to finish the house, the theater, get the rest of our orders in and flyer. We can do that.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Last Word?

Well we’re back in Maine. We got home last Thursday and spent the weekend cleaning the house. I wanted to be done cleaning the house by Monday but honestly we left the house super clean ( I have no memory of doing this so maybe it was crazy cleaning aliens) so there’s not much of that to do. I still washed every surface in the kitchen including what I will now refer to as the mouse drawer. We have had a mouse attack one drawer over and over again. Everytime I remove everything bleach it all, bleach the drawer, bleach get the picture...but the mouse comes back. My mom suggested that “brick up the drawer” I think the mouse would just chew through the brick. Anyway there’s no more sign of Mr. Mouse so we’re good on that front.

So instead of cleaning we have our least favorite task at hand - organizing, sorting, deciding where stuff goes - boo! I’m a stacker by nature. A stacker is someone who organizes there lives in ever chaging fluxating stacks of paper. I need to change this but I must admit I love stacks. What looks better, more industrious than a table full of stacks? Oh, sure a neat file cabinet, well labeled and logically organized. I can’t do it and I married someone who also can’t do it. We’re going to try again...try to organize. Since we’re a month away from opening ImprovAcadia and having all the actors in our home we can’t just put our stuff wherever-we have to place it with the future in mind. I’m not mentally ready. I have Boat Brain.

Boat Brain was first brought to my attention by Andy. He told me that he stays up late even when he has to get up early. That he can’t make himself work. Now, this could be a case of Boat Brain mixed with Baby Brain but we’ll never know because Science doesn’t care!!! Here we suffer with Boat Brain. What is it? The urge to make breakfast last 3 hours, to take a nap even though you had 8 hours of sleep, to stare out the window while you blow on a cup of herbal tea, to watch a movie/tv show/public access show you’d never watch normally, to snorkel, to drink exotic and bizarre sodas, to lay around until you have to do something (which never really materializes). That’s Boat Brain some would call it denial but I call it Boat Brain.
We act like we have all the time in the world when we have a month. I think we have a minor case but still butts must be put in gear...4 wheel butt drive.

So the ship - we really liked living on a cruise ship despite the whole cruise ship thing. Even though the ship was gaudy and strange, there was always the beauty of the ocean. I never got tired of looking out my porthole or walking deck 7 or staring off the deck at the Great Outdoors. It just never got old.

I never got over my fear of a giant shark (as big as the ship) appearing and eating me but it didn’t stop me from getting in that water. I loved it. Even though I was scared of how small and relatively out of control I was in the water that was part of what I liked too. The fish were so fast, graceful, placid, toothy and here I was moderately tanned, somewhat toned and basically naked....a tiny beige speck with flippers and a mask and a tube to the was like I was floating in a salty marinade....but luckily none of them ate me. They did stare, follow and at times get alarmingly close but I was grateful to get a chance to really look at them even as I thought about taking flight back to the shore.

I think the same could be said of the passengers. I felt a bit out of my element on the ship but they were all happy as sea cucumbers. Or pick another sea creature...whatever. Again they stared, followed, pointed, at times pushed and when things got real strange they would glare or fawn depending on their dispositon and level of alcohol consumption. But they didn’t bite me even though I was floating in a giant hot pink/teal/orange marinade almost naked....but I was grateful to get a chance to really look at them even as I thought about taking flight back to the shore.

As many of you know, we’re going back onto an NCL ship in November. Next time we’ll be on the Jewel....sister to the Pearl. No bowling alley but private karoke rooms are available.
So we’ll be back to Maine in March which is great. Returning in March means we’ll be able to hold auditions and see our friends back in Maine before we all get into the Season. It also means we’ll get to snorkel more and more and more. I think I’m going to try “Discover Scuba”. Basically they let you try Scuba in a highly safe and moderated atmosphere and see if you want to pursue it...

So we have plans for our next cruising experience. We plan to find some sea turtles and get real with them. We demand to see a school of dolphins from the ship; followed by a White Shark leaping out of the water to eat a bunch of tourists; followed by a whale ballet; followed by a buffet of bread products.

If none of that happens, I think we’ll be happy with a bit of snorkeling, seeing some wildlife, drinking a few tropical drinkies and having a lot of free time. So we’ll look forward to our next adventure with The Second City and NCL.

I think I’m going to keep posting to this blog about our season at ImprovAcadia so keep checking back. I guess I’ll have to change the title...anyway I’m not sure if everyone knows what it’s like here in the Summer so I’ll show and tell you.


Sunday, April 8, 2007

Five Days and Counting on My Fingers!

Well, we just finished our last nine day cruise of this contract. We have five more days to go....well, really six if you count our sign-off day...but I don’t so, 5.

This last cruise set an NCL record for most passengers ever on an NCL ship. There were 2,900 passengers, 800 of which were kids. The ship was soooo crowded. We were all banned from restaurants and only allowed in the Garden Cafe at non peak times. That was okay because if you wanted to go to a restaurant you either had to go at 5pm or 9pm. So we spent the week eating quick meals in the Garden Cafe.

Our shows were well attended and overall the passengers were friendly and complimentary. We did a workshop for the 10-12 year olds at the Kid’s Club. The kids were pretty great and the Youth Counselors were grateful for the break. We divided the kids into three groups and taught each group an improv game that they performed for one another. The older girls were a bit frustrating as they were very concerned with putting their hair over their faces and allowing the boys to walk all over them. I was like, you need to listen to some Helen Reddy - Hear me Roar!

Larrance and I were both fighting off a cold this week so we didn’t do much in Dominica which was a shame but it was more important to rest.

In Barbados, we went to the Malibu distillery and toured the site and then hung out on the beach. Then we ate Bajan fish fritters with spicy mustard sauce! We also drank coke with Malibu rum- oh, it was delicious. The beach was lovely and the tour was extra fun because we got to wear hard hats!

All of us in Hard Hats


Malibu beach

View of Pearl from Malibu

A Bird...trying to steal our lunch!

We went to Anse Chastanet again. It’d been raining for five days straight in St. Lucia so the water was a bit murkier than the last time. We saw several small jellyfish which we think were washed in from the rain. Still, the snorkeling was great..a little scary at'd look up or down and there was a jellyfish floating by. They looked dreamy. I also saw an black and yellow striped fish that was the size of my pinky nail and it kept swimming towards me. Infact all the black and yellow striped fish kept swimming very close to us. We also saw these enormous blue on top, white/silver on the bottom Gar like fish. They stared and followed. I think they want to sample my goods!!!
We took an underwater camera and we’lll have those photos developed when we get off the ship. We had lunch there and tried, for the first time, Banana ketchup. It was delicious. If you’re ever on St. Lucia, try it.
We also tried Sorrel Shandys - try those too.

Martin in the van to Anse Chastanet

The view from my beach towel


Sorrel Shandy cover shot by yours truly

Antigua was an easy day. We walked around and ate some pizza. We did discover that our debit cards have stopped working. Mine had expired in the middle of March but I’d called the bank and asked them to extend the expirationn date. They said that was no problem. Well, I went to use it and it wouldn’t work. So I called the bank and they said, “No, we can’t do that and we never could’ve done that and you’re totally screwed. Hah, ha, ha.” Okay, they didn’t say that, but very close. So we couldn’t buy any more hot sauce - we were planning to buy 4 more bottles. This turns out to be a good thing since half of one of our suitcases is hot sauce. No, I’m not kidding.

It was Good Friday when we were on Tortola so almost everything was closed. We went out to lunch and wandered around Tortola. We chatted with a gentleman who was about to leave on a week long trip on a small yacht. He was very friendly and we both hoped he would kidnap us but no such luck.

We returned to the ship for our last day and a half of sea time. I’ve never minded Sea Days but lately I’ve been so very antsy. I’m no longer charmed by hours and hours of free time. I’m ready to get off of this ship. Nothing really relieves this feeling - working out, seeing a show, reading, watching a movie - nothing. I’m lucky because I didn’t really feel this way until now. This has been a great experience for both of us. The other night we were having coffee and discussing all the things we want to do when we come back. Oh, that’s right, you might know....we’re going to be on the NCL Jewel in November.
We’ll sign-on around Nov. 8/9th and get off in March around the same date. I think it will be a great thing to do right after our season. Our itinerary will be similar to this one. We’ll go to Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Tortola, Samana, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, and Barbados. Yay!

After we sign-off the ship, we’re going to Baltimore to visit Larrance’s family. Then we’ll stop and see Sinclair and Sue and then home! When we get home we’ll have five weeks before we open for season four. I’m almost finished with the schedule - I have one slot to fill, one to confirm, and one that’s almost confirmed. It’s taken a long time and been difficult to do from the ship. Next year we’ll be able to hold auditions in March so I won’t have to do any of this from the ship....

A while ago I’d promised a photo tour of the ship and I took the photos but uploading all of them would take a long time. So I’ll post that when we get to Balitmore and I have access to free and unlimited high speed internet. Look for that next week...

Well I’ll write again when we’re all done and off the ship....


Friday, March 30, 2007

Playa del Carmen

Hey - not a lot to say. We're almost finished.

We were joined by our new castmate, Martin, in Mexico. He played in the improv show with us and it was much fun. Welcome, Martin!

We met some friends from Maine, Michelle & Danny, in Playa del Carmen. So here's a photo of them and many more from Playa del Carmen and the ship. Enjoy!


Sunday, March 25, 2007

2.5 Weeks...

Hi! Well it’s weird to say but we’re almost done here. We have a five day, a nine day and a five day left. This last cruise we didn’t do much. We took it very easy. I think we’re conserving our energy for the last big push. What we did do was great....

I already blogged about our trip to the Emerald Pool on Dominica but here are some photos.....

All of us in the van....

Heather with the “tree monkey”


Self-Portrait in Rainforest

View of Emerald Pool from above

At the Emerald Pool

Nice to be Nice Sign aka home of the rhyming, screaming, laughing fruit guy

Mr. Nice with Heather who’s like a feather and controls the weather...ahahahah!

In Barbados we went back to the church to see if the organ was being played.

No luck so we wandered around bought some presents and ate at Chefette’s.

In Antigua we did the same...well almost. Bought some presents, drank some wine, ate some pizza and drank some Ting!

On Tortola we got up very early (because the ship leaves Tortola at 1pm and we have to be onboard by noon) and headed off to Brewer’s Bay. I have never had this experience before....we arrived at the beach to other person sitting on this huge beach! It was incredible.

There were Pelicans everywhere dive bombing the water and hanging out on the rocks. The beach was made up of very soft fine sand and there was only one other person on the beach!!!! In the water there were two other was amazing. The snorkeling was great. Lots of really big (3 to 4 ft) parrot fish, angel fish, grouper and a bunch of other stuff. I really need to get that reef fish book so I can start identifying these fish.

Tortola cow we saw on they way...

Brewer’s Bay - one person!

Brewer’s Bay looking down the beach

Looking out of Brewer’s Bay

Pelicans of Brewer’s Bay

L with Ting!

I got an underwater camera in Miami today so I’m going to take some photos and then I’ll be able to identify all the fish!!!

Now we’re off to Cozumel and Belize. In Cozumel we’re going to take the ferry over to Playa del Carmen to meet some friends from Bar Harbor. Michelle, who hosts my knitting group, and her boyfriend, Danny, just happen to be vacationing in Mexico. I love meeting people I know in places I don’t know.

In Cozumel, we’ll also be joined by our new cast member, Martin. Yay!

For the last couple of months our Cruise Director has been Clint Wells and he did a great job. He was easy to work with and always pleasant to chat with. He signed off today and we’re getting a new Cruise Director named Simon. I’ve heard great things about Simon so I’ll look forward to getting to know him. We also got a new Captain this week. And next week we get a new Hotel Director and a new Assistant Cruise Director. It’s strange to have all this turnover so late in our contract but then I’m reminded that it’s not all about me. Good luck, Clint! Have a great vacation!

2.5 weeks and counting.....


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Blah, Blah, Blah...

Ahoy Mateys!

Well we did our first five day cruise without Andy and as a 4 person ensemble. Since Andy left a week earlier than planned, we had to restructure the show for four people. So this meant that we had a bit of extra rehearsal and we got to do some new scenes or scenes we’re not normally in...this version of the show ran for the last cruise and this nine day cruise. Even though we missed Andy, the shows went very well. At the end of this nine day cruise, Martin will join us and we’ll be back to our original show.

Speaking of Andy, Heather gave birth yesterday (3/18/07) to a baby girl!!! All are well and after I get permission from Andy, I’ll post a photo of the little bugger. Yay!!! Baby!!!

The last five day cruise was pretty uneventful. (I just realized that I now measure my life in five and nine day increments. Okay.) Larrance and I had lunch with Tommy, from the Cruise Staff, at Pancho’s Backyard. Pancho’s was recommended by Sue Salvi and it’s fantastic. I recommended the Enchiladas Verde. It was Tommy’s last cruise so we had a nice lunch togehter to wish him farewell.....then we just wandered around Cozumel.

I should mention that the last five day cruise was the height of Spring Break. The ship was overrun with screaming, drunk, half-nude late teens to early twenty year olds. They would spend the whole day drinking and hanging around the pool except when we were in port. Then they’d go ashore to scream, drink, and scream some more. To me they looked like a pack of drunk monkeys. Turns out those drunk monkeys made a pretty good audience - they loved the Stardust show and our second “adult humour” improv show was super packed. We do our improv show in the Spinnaker bar and it seats 360 - I’m almost sure there were 700 screaming, drunk, half-clad, get the picture. It felt like we were doing a show in the Thunderdome. But they loved us, they even loved me when I yelled at them to move and threatened to step on their drunk fingers. It was unconditional, drunk, screaming love.

Belize was a ship day. Belize is entering the beginning of its hottest season so sometimes the idea of going ashore without the promise of the ocean or a lake is out of the question.

At the end of the cruise, I got a sllight case of illness. I was awoke in the middle of the night and it lasted for about 24 hours. I feel fine now. I don’t recommend being sick on a ship. The motion of the ship made it even worse.

Now we’re on our next to last nine day cruise....all this time I’ve been working on the schedule for our next season. I’m two hundred pages away from finishing War & Peace. And I have bulging biceps from being in the gym. Well not bulging but slightly defined.

Today we were in Dominica. At breakfast we met up wtih Heather & Katherine, two of the dancers, and we decided to join forces to go to the Emerald Pool Waterfall. The whole group consisted of Heather, Brent (tech director & Heather’s boyfriend), Katherine, Michael, Larrance and me. The Emerald Pool is accessed through a short walk through the rainforest - we timed our visit just right so that one of the cruise ship excursion groups was leaving as we were arriving - so we had the pool all to our selves. The water was cold, fresh and green due to all the algae. It was lovely. I’ll post some pictures on Sunday. We stayed about an hour and just as we were leaving another excursion group (from the Pearl) was coming down. Perfect timing!

From there we went to the “It’s Nice to be Nice” fruit stand. We met Mr. Nice who was a rhyming, fruit selling, business card giving Dominican. He rhymed at us from the moment we got out of the taxi. He had a selection of bananas, pineapples, cocoa beans, raw cocoa, coconuts, grapefruit, boiled banana, salt fish and coconut candy on his table. As well as a bunch of machetes....

The first thing he said to us was, “Okay. You do what you need to do yourself. And I’ll do what I need to do myself. Yourself. Myself. Do what you need to do....YOURSELF. Your. Self. My.Self.”

I was a bit worried that we were going to be in a for an uncomfortable time but then he laid eyes on Heather and his whole mood lightened. Heather had found the coconut candy in a pan - shredded coconut, sugar, water, nutmeg, cinnamon boiled into a candy - and we were set. He loved rhyming her name - Heather is a like a feather,who controls the weather, she wears leather, that’s Heather.” He was stumped by Jen and especially by Larrance. For Larrance he was said, “Larrance? Larrance is like....Larrance.” I’m not kidding. So back to the coconut candy - that stuff was good on everything but it was especially good eaten with a freshly roasted (baked?) cocoa bean or pair all of that with a banana = heaven. So good. The pineapple was sweet and very fresh - like right off the plant by his house. Pineapples grow out of the ground like a shrub...or sort of like an aloe....I thought they came from trees...but no. The stop at “It’s Nice to be Nice” was a bit surreal but worth the time and the small amount of cash.

It was really nice to spend time with Heather, Brent & Katherine. We’ve chatted over drinks but this was our first outing. I hope we can get in a couple more before we have to leave in less than a month!!!

We have plans for the rest of this nine day but I’ll post about those on Sunday.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Getting Down To It.....


Well it’s been an eventful nine day cruise.....Andy had a visitor, Paul, on the ship this week and it was Andy’s last nine day so there was much adventure to be had. As it turns out, this was Andy’s last cruise for this contract.
His baby is going to be born sometime during this next week so Andy’s signing off today. This is a boo and a yay all at once. We’ll miss him but we’re excited to meet his baby.

More about our adventures...

We started the week off with a whale watch in Dominica. We were there bright and early but the whales must have all had a meeting and decided not to show up. We saw a few flying fish but not even a blowhole of a whale. Boo Whales!!! What gives!!! We did get to ride on a Catamaran which was great. When the trip started we were all sitting on the seats and then they announced that you could go out on to the net part on the front of the ship. Paul and I were the first ones out there....quickly followed by Andy and Larrance.

The flying fish were very cool but I was miffed at the whales. When I see them back in Maine, I’m going to give them what for!!!

After that more bad luck, the pier we ususally swim off of wasn’t open because the Pearl has higher security than the other cruise ships. As we entered the water the port police, who in the past simply waved as they drove by, got on the bullhorn and told us to get out of the water ASAP. Boo Pearl!!! Let us swim and see the fishes!!!

After that we went to the little boardwalk bar to get a Ginger Shandy. We joked that the bar would be out of Ginger Shandy...well, guess what? They only had one left!!! So we ended up with Lime Shandy which was okay--but come on!!!

We took it easy in Barbados because we had a big day planned for St. Lucia. In St. Lucia, Michael, Andy, Paul, Larrance and I chartered a taxi to take us to La Soufriere and Anse Chastanet. This involved an hour and half drive both ways which was actually pretty fun...Here’s some pics from along the way...

Statues in a Yard

Guy on the side of the road with a Boa Constrictor

Banana Tree - from this tree we had fresh cut bananas!

L drinks LLB - lemon lime and bitters

Anse La Rey - a fishing village we passed through

Pitons - national symbol of St. Lucia

Our first real stop was La Soufriere. Otherwise known as the drive-in volcano of St. Lucia. We took a short tour of the caldera and enjoyed the sulphorous air. They say the fumes from La Soufriere are good for respiratory ailments. We all felt much better after going there..

La Soufriere

Oh, that smell!

La Soufriere in the background


I feel better!

Me too!

From there we went on to Anse Chastanet...this is a small resort with a beautiful beach accessed by a terrible road. Once you get there, you’re on a fantastic little beach with a cute bar, showers, bathrooms and some of the best snorkeling since Belize! Yay! Larrance was particularly pleased since there was no music playing. No Reggae, steel drums, “Hot Hot, Hot”, Margaritaville, no Sexy Back! Just the sound of the waves crashing on the beach.

We went out to snorkel in small groups. The waves were a bit strong but once you fought through them you found yourself just off of a rocky reef area that was thriving with marine life. There were huge brain and fan corals and all kinds of fish: NassauGrouper, Black Grouper, Parrot, Tangs, Jacks and Squirrel fish, just to name a few. At one point, I was in a very deep part of the reef and I was surrounded by thousands of tiny silver fish and another school of tiny electric blue fish. There were so many I couldnt’ see through them which at first was fun until I realized that on the other side of this huge cloud of fish could be a big mouth with lots of teeth. Speaking of which on my way back to the beach I passed a Great Barracuda. It was swimming slowly away from the beach so I swam quickly in the opposite direction. This trip made me decide to buy a reef fish identification book so I can learn all the fish’s proper names. We saw hundreds of different kinds of fish and I can’t name them!

On Antigua, we went swimming at a place called Turner’s Beach which was very nice. And then we met the Magicians, Bob & Sarah Trunell, for a glass of wine at the C & C wine bar. This is an establishment just off the ship and it sells some very good South African wines. We all had a bit too much to drink as Bob regaled us with tales of the cruise ship industry back in the day. Bob & Sarah have been working on cruise ships for 19 years. 19 years! They both had some great stories and we look forward to having dinner with them in the future. If you want to learn about how the cruise ship industry got started, Bob suggested a book called “Devil in the Deep Blue Sea.”

On Tortola night, Andy appeared in his last Liar’s Club game show along with fellow cast member, Ben. Also on the panel were our cruise director Clint and the guest ventriloquist, Ken.

Ben had a fight with Ken’s puppet, Mr. Byrd.

Andy did a puppet show of his own.

After that, we had Paul help us take some cast photos....

Then we came to the last two days with Andy still on the ship. These days were filled with many dinners and drinks and stories. We feel so lucky that we got to be on the ship with Andy so our parting is bittersweet. We’re sorry to see him go but we know we’ll see him again in the future. Kisses to Andy!