By Lynn and Rob Belles
Independent Vacation Specialists
The entertainers on the ship have it good. They are someplace near the top of the food chain and always seem happy. Our favorite to date is Mr. Greg Gallello, who is just completing his contract on Holland America’s Eurodam this week.
We met Greg in 2008 on the maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean of the Carnival Splendor. We spent 15 amazing nights in his piano bar feeling like we had known him for years by the end of the cruise. Last February we caught up with him again for seven hot nights in the Caribbean.
Last month our daughter and son-in-law Amy and Zack McIntyre along with Zack’s parents Gary and Joni, spent seven nights in Europe with Greg. I guess you could call him our buddy by now. Greg has been performing on ships in the piano bar since he was 18 years old.
He is from Canada so he spends his winter cruising. Each week he has friends that return to see him and he makes new friendships as well. Even though eight years passed between our meetings, the first thing out of his mouth was, “Hey Rob, where’s Suzee?” Sadly she grew up and isn’t traveling with us much, but she’s still friends with Greg on Facebook and they will eventually reunite.
It is always possible to strike up a conversation with an entertainer because they are allowed full run of the ship and shore when not performing. You might meet one of them in the buffet, laying by the pool, on a shore excursion or even wandering the streets at a port of call. We have talked with numerous performers over the years, and try to keep track of the great ones.
Since one of our daughters is a ballet teacher for Ballet Chicago, and the other plays the alto sax for Rockford’s own Moonlight Jazz orchestra, we hold a special place in our hearts for performing artists. Although we were not successful at convincing one of them to perform, for a few years on a ship, each of them has had at least one friend who took the idea and ran with it.
There is only a short period of time in a young person’s life when they can do this, the time when they have no house payment & their stuff fits in storage. Imagine the opportunity to be young and see the world while collecting money instead of spending it. Further, the money earned in international waters is tax free.
A musician or dancer may perform one or two shows each night, or have a short morning rehearsal, spending the remainder of their time in port or socializing on the ship. If you know a young performer who might be interested please ask them to give us a call to learn more, we would just love to share what we know and help them get a job on a ship.
Rob and Lynn Belles are owners of Belles Firm of Architecture a local professional design firm, and the only real Architect Travel Agents known of. They are seasoned travelers with family and adult only international travel experience. They are teaching others what they know about traveling as a family, a couple, and as business owners who stay connected with their clients, even while they are traveling abroad.