Tag Archives: Cruise ship

Mapping Out a New Course!

Well, I was looking forward to some nice “down” time in Canada after my 14-month cruise ship gig. But it looks like Darren won’t be sittin’ around for long. I just found out that I’ll be leaving mid-July for a year to tour Asia with the musical “42nd Street”….yeah, the same show that took me to Russia a few years ago.
Get this: I couldn’t make it home for the auditions so I had to send an audition package from South America to the USA with a passenger from my cruise ship! It wouldn’t have made it on time if I sent it from Brazil in the somewhat-not really-trustworthy Brazilian postal system! She (the passenger) is a Saint and it got to the casting agents on time. And that was that!

DryDock….a bit of a dream, really!

So here I am in DryDock with the Marco Polo cruise ship in Malta. For anyone that doesn’t know what DryDock is: it’s when a ship goes into intense repairs & renovations at a pier that’s empty of water so the ship can be worked at HARDcore! They sail the ship into a berth & then close it off. Then all the water is drained and you’re left with a dry ship!
It’s been a BREEZE for me. Matt and I are the only cast members that are still onboard. Our schedule usually goes something like this: Morning: sleep. 1:15pm Get out of bed and go for lunch. Early afternoon do some sightseeing around Malta. Late evening do some minor work in the ship office. Later evening watch movies and fool around on the internet. 2-4am fall asleep!
The conditions onboard are WAY better than I ever imagined. I had heard horror stories, but we’ve had none so far. There has always been electricity. There are certain times during the morning/afternoon where they’ve had to turn the water off. But it’s always turned back on by the early evening. The food is WAY better than I expected. It’s a buffet every night & I’ve honestly had some stuff during drydock that is better than the normal food onboard this ship!
And here are the pics of the ship:

Marco Polo Ship Life!

These are just more pics from the ship! We had a punk-themed crew party which was a BLAST and we did the crazy nautical traditional skit “If I Were Not Upon The Sea”. NUTS

Back Onboard!

After my short break in Toronto I’m back onboard the Marco Polo….and I don’t think I’ve slept since! I’m crazy busy with my current cast PLUS the new cast that I’ll be spending the next 7 months with. I’m still performing with the old cast & rehearsing during the day with the new cast…..and somehow I still manage to make time for Movie-Night in my cabin each night! Some traditions will never die!
I had to take photos of EVERY SINGLE COSTUME in the entire rotation of shows for the casts. Yes….hundrededs of costume pieces! We’re the smallest ship in the fleet but somehow have more shows and more costumes than any other ship! So they’re not great, but I’ve attached some of the pics for you to see the magic of cruise ship costumes! Just when you wondered What Ever Happened To Sequins?!?! Well, we’ve got ’em all on the Marco Polo!

The Cabin

So here is a pic of my new cabin that some people have asked to see. That’s my wall of photos and stuff and a bit of my bed. What you can’t see is a TV, DVD Player, and small fridge! I totally love it here! But I think I’ll have to give it up when the new cast gets on in November. Oh well, I have 4 months to enjoy it!
The other picture is just random wackiness! We had a REALLY rough night at sea last night and I was just getting ready to flee if the Abandon Ship signal went off!

Marco Polo – Ship Life – A Memoir by Darren Donahue!

Oh my gawd! Two BLOG entries in one day! What’s happening?!?!?!

FIRST: MORE PHOTOS! On the front page of my MYSPACE page underneath the photos of me you’ll see a section where you can SELECT AN ALBUM. If you choose: CRUISE SHIPPIN’ – MARCO POLO WORLD CRUISE you’ll see a whole wack-load of pics I uploaded from all my ports 🙂 ENJOY!

So life on the Marco Polo is as “adventurous” as ever! Full of ups & downs & twists & turns & smacks in the face! I boarded the ship on April 11th, so I guess it’s been just under 3 months? About 1/2 through my contract including the rehearsal time in Miami.
We just lost our first cast member. Sara Brendel from St.Louis. We all miss her and think of her every day & wonder how she’s doing. But we know that she was happy to be able to go home so we were happy for her. Homesickness is a big thing when we’re out at sea. So a dancer from the previous cast has come back to the ship & rehearsals have been fine with her so far because she pretty much knows all the shows.
Yesterday we got news that we’d be losing TWO more cast members! Our other lead male singer & his wife will be leaving. So I got promoted to Company Manager and I think I even get to move into the big cabin with a fridge! There’s a little pay increase, but it’s not really worth the extra crap I might have to deal with! But it’ll make shopping less painful, so BRING IT ON!!
The ports are amazing & they’re the key reason I’m here. Ship life can be hard. A general sea day includes waking up at about 9am to prepare for BINGO. My BINGO session with passengers lasts about 2 hours. Then I go straight into rehearsal for the evening’s shows. That’s about an hour and 1/2. LUNCH. Then it’s time to prep for our afternoon BINGO – 2 more hours. Then I get a bit of time to nap. Then I have to greet passengers at the door of the theatre for the evening’s entertainment. Then I’m at the 1/2 hour call for my shows….and then I perform till about 11:30pm.
—–so you can see how a person can get burnt out on a ship when they have Cruise Staff responsibilities as well as their performances.
BUT we are lucky on the Marco Polo because we’re in port a LOT. So we don’t have many sea days and that turns into a good amount of free time for the cast. But still….all these little duties and tid-bits add up day after day & wear on some people. So everyone understands when someone wants to go home!


I leave in another day to fly to Jamaica where I’ll get onboard the Marco Polo cruise ship. Then we’ll sail a few days to the Cape Verde islands. Then we’ll sail a bit longer to Spain, France, Greece, and beyond! Before that I’m sure I’ll be curled up infront of the power-vac toilet on the ship throwing up my guts from sea-sickness.
Other than my claustrophobic attacks, it’s definately the worst feeling I’ve ever experienced! So it’s great that I manage to get both these things when I’m on a friggin’ ship!!!
I was in Miami for about 5 weeks and I managed to see about .05% of the city! I had one amazing night out and other than that it was pretty much some intense work for these shows!
Updates will come few & far between when I’m on the ship, so YOU’D BETTER EMAIL ME!!! dadarren@yahoo.ca You can write as much and as often as your little fingers will let you!