MB 025: Cruise Ship Magician – Part 1


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Cruise Ship Magic Part 1

What does a Cruise Director Expect From A Cruise Ship Magician?


Ahoy Magician Business listeners … Stephen Cloete is a Cruise Director (Entertainments Director) for the 3rd Largest shipping line in the world.  This means he is responsible for all the entertainment on board plus he’s also a headline magic act. Stephen has great insights into the Cruise Ship industry and just where the magic act  and the performing artist fits into all of this.

This episode will put wind in your sails if your are thinking that being a cruise ship magician is right for you. You do need, however, to understand some fundamental differences between land based magic shows and cruise ship based magic shows. Stephen Cloete helps you navigate some of the icebergs that might otherwise scuttle your maiden voyage ….

In this episode we talk about:

  • Just because an act works land side doesn’t mean it will work on a ship.
  • Cruise Act … passengers don’t go cruising for the acts … entertainment is secondary …
  • Reactions from audiences are different between land and cruise and how to know what type of act works best at sea
  • Cruise you can build rapport with audience … variety shows are like advertisements … if they like what they see they will come and see you but it can work the other way
  • Much more feedback on a ship … audiences will complain about acts which they wouldn’t don’t bother doing on land side acts …
  • Closed community that can be hard to break into …. shipping lines will keep using the proven acts as it is a safe option
  • Cruise needs to be adaptable and adjust their show style.
  • Cruise acts need a 40 min headliner show plus 8-10 min guest spots
  • Cruise ships have a budget … won’t pay for 10 minute fantastic acts if there is still 50 minutes to fill on the program
  • Cruise ships are not training grounds for magicians and magic acts
  • Get a great show reel. Still needs to be presented as a DVD
  • Auditioning acts live can be a problem .. references, show reels can be doctored.
  • Theater on the ship holds 1000 people or more. You need to be able play BIG.
  • Long Term contract magician works 4-10 months as a crew member … need to attend crew meetings and safety drills. Need to be certified in fire fighting, first aid, survival techniques, crowd control and security threats. Then you need to be medically fit, have the correct passport. Can’t be claustrophobic, need to be able to socialize, need to be able to perform in rough seas.
  • Short term contract. You come on as a guest. No crew responsibilities. Eat in guest restaurants.


Resources and links mentioned in this episode:

Read more about Stephen Cloete in this Cruise Ship Trade website interview.

Abra-Viagra website http://showboat2.wix.com/abraviagra


Stephen talks about the growing need for children’s/family friendly entertainment on cruise ships. Part of that is having activities.

Start by having this essential guide to teaching a magic class. Click on the picture to find out more.



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Thanks again, Ken and Julian

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