Become a 'slave' and not be a professional
person work for a cruise line.
Princess Cruises
January 26, 2000 by Greg Waters

greg@cmporg.org for more information

 


Being on the Ship

You are out in the middle of no where and have no rights except what they tell you your rights are!  This is what happened to me it was like being in no man's land with robots.

This page is an experience I had with the Princess Cruise Lines and their mal treatment of me while I was with them.  I do not recommend any musicians to go with this line because if you are not their slave and robot you will end up in the middle of no where with no money and no way home except by paying your own way.  This is what happened to me in Oct. 99. Plus I got injured, I really could not play because I was in such pain,  while on the ship from over work. I lived with a drunk, worked for a rejected trumpet player, played with a click track in my ear so loud it hurt my ear drum, they sat  me in front of the drums, kept telling me to play louder, gave me non stop music to play plus I was playing three instruments in non stop playing and including a saxophone player who came to work every-night drunk.

Remember that the waiters are making more money than you are: besides, 

Proship Inc. and Princess just keep sending messages with lies in them.   They have been promising for over three months to send me money and have not sent anything. They do what suits them.

Protect yourself and others and do not work for cruise-ships. Remember you are a professional person do not let them treat you like one who is not a professional person with rights.  These people have been doing this for a lot of years and have it down.  They lie and say anything to get their way, real criminals as I see it.  The only hope is the unionize the work force so that one can get paid the proper amount of money or an artist guile.   Get paid for the proper work do not let them talk you into the idea it is a vacation at sea and see the world.  You are there to make money and only make money but if they do not pay you why would you want to be there? Musicians grow up and face the business world and have them stop using you for their profit only.  Make them pay a proper wage.

Greg Waters  Jan. 25, 2000
October 31, 1999

This questionnaire describes the experience very well.

Princess Cruises Employment Termination Questionnaire

Part 3, Pay.

I was sent to the Regal by ProShip Entertainment Company and I past an audition stating my qualification for this position. It is a wonder to me that to go to a job and have it cost me money is something unthinkable. Specially, you sent me over 8 thousands miles from my home on a twenty hour plane ride and expected me to be a normal productive person the next day when I arrived. It took me a week to close up my apartment and arrange for my passport and doctor visits before I left on the 8 of October.

It was the Band Leaders Decision to send me home. He came to my room and told me they were looking for someone else because I did not meet the requirements for the job. I was not given anytime or help to learn this job. The band leader was too busy drinking as far as I could see. He did not give me time or an opportunity to correct my product.

When I was band leader on a cruise ship I requested management to send the musicians three or more days early to allow them to get to know the ship and the music. I guess you have not learned this yet or have other ideas about music.

I met the requirements for the job except my lip was so sore from playing eight hours a day about the third day I could not play I was in so much pain. I was not told about learning the show from a tape recorder. I finally got a broken down tape recorder the second or third day I was on the ship. The bandleader did not seem to think that helping me settle into the ship was his responsibility. I was not given a tape recorder to listen to the tapes. I was not given a place to rehearse. I was suffering from jet lag of six hour time difference. The band leader conducted the rehearsal in a very abusive way and wasted a lot of time on meaningless figures. Plus I never played a rehearsal for a show shorter than 3 hours and this was an hour rehearsal for an hour show

and playing violin parts which means non-stop playing.

It was the band leader’s decision to send me home why are you asking me to pay for my trip? You people are treating me like a ‘broken down horse’ it is unbelievable! I am not a horse I am a human being in case you have forgotten.

This experience has been a new low in my music career and one I will never forget. I had slight sea sickness from the movement of the ship, a sore painful lib, and suffering from Jet Lag plus having a band director who told me he was the man on board not I. This is why I believe this was a power play to get rid of me because the band members listened to what I had to say. You ask me to pay my way home. You people are really sick.

Living conditions:

Of course because I was the new guy on the block I got the worse roommate the piano player who drank all night and slept all day. All though he was a very nice person his life style was just not my life style because I avoid people who drink because they cause much suffering to others with their abusive habits. Therefore how was I going to settle into my new position with such living conditions. I might add the music director had no concern for my problems. He did not feel any responsibility to correct them. In fact, he promoted drinking with the group. I had no place to rehearse. I could not stay in my room because the piano player was sleeping all day. It was really a night- mare. Not any of the other bands aboard drank to the extent that four of the members did in the show band. The other sax player even came to work feeling real good. Because I promoted no drinking to several of the members the band director became hostel towards me because he was "the man" and I was just a musician. "I am the man" were his exact words. The last few days I was there I gave the tenor player a music lesson and got him to stop drinking. I was really happy to be able to help him lead a more productive life and not help create abusive behavior that the band director was promoting.

The living condition was totally impossible for me since I had so much work to do the first week I was there. Well, I never made it through the first week and it was never explained to me by management or ProShip Entertainment that I was required to play the show perfectly the first night or I would be let go. Why would anyone want to place themselves in such a situation is a wonder to me. This turned out to be an impossible situation and a very abusive one for me. I have been home for ten days now an I was only able to sit down and write this report today and to try to be objective.

Working Conditions:

The first few days I put in 12 hour days looking over the music and getting a feel for my responsibilities and getting to know the ship. I also had to report for meetings with the life saving department for meetings that added to my work load. The band stand setup was awful because it was set up for looks not for playing music. Plus the microphone and the sound system were never right. They kept asking me to play louder so I said why not turn up the microphone. I could never hear the band through the speakers too. The rhythm section played OK but they had three different beats going and it was difficult for me to find one sometimes because of the setup on the ship. We were so far from one another and the sound man was not very good and sometimes the wires would be disconnected. The music was out of order both in the dance band book and the show books so I seemed to always have trouble getting the right music out it was really a nightmare. The band director said he would straighten out the books, but never did. I did my best to get the music in order.

One show the music was all torn apart I spent a few hours taping it together.

The working conditions were awful because I had no time to adjust. I might ad that the tenor player came to work feeling really good (drinking)and he made it difficult for me to play. Plus the leader played sometimes like a big band trumpet player and sometimes like a small group player depending on how his lip was feeling that night. It was a very strange situation and the trombone player played some real open intervals so tuning with him was difficult and the trumpet leader played sharp some nights depending on how is lip was and if he could hit the high notes. The ear phones and the sound system were really awful because they sometimes put my part in the ears phones and sometimes not. I never knew what to expect, plus being in jet lag, a broken lip and in pain, plus being sea sick from the movement of the ship added to an impossible situation

I might add no one ever ask how I was feeling or explained anything to me clearly.

Disciplinary Restrictions:

Well, the Band Leader, Brian K., said that I did not meet the required standards and said they were going to get someone else and send me home. As far as I could see there was no discussion about this. I just said I cannot agree with his decision and refuse to except his formal warning.

He also tried to get me to voluntarily sign off the ship by myself so he would not be responsible for me leaving the ship. He promised me money and tickets, but I found out from the other musicians on the ship that this was not true. I left the ship with no money from the ship and just one airplane ticket which they were going to take out of my pay, but I received no pay from the ship. I believe this is a criminal act on your part and a form of intimidation and extortion.

I talked to the cruise director several times and he was of no help he just said he followed the wishes of the band director. But I heard from other members of the crew that he was not well liked and that I could not trust anything he said. He also never asked me how was I doing or showed any concern for the situation. To me this was some kind of conspiracy that had an undertone between the pursers office, band director and cruise director. They all told me different things contradicting one another at different times. It was really a chess game with all the lies about the money and rules and regulations and transportation.

It was like I had no rights or say in anything that happened to me on board. It was other people’s decisions.

This was the worse personal experience I have ever had in the music business.

Other comments:

Since people were judging me I would like to do a little judging myself. The cruise director had no real personality he was just a copy of everybody he ever heard or saw. Since I performed for most of the great stars of the last twenty years I know real talent when I see it. He did not have a sincere bone in his body.

Sincerity is a real mark of talent I never heard that in anything he said.

The leader of the man, Brain, was the strangest leader I ever played for. If I see him in my next life it will be too soon. It was the strangest band I ever played in because I heard notes but very little music. I sort of lost the meaning of music in this band. I heard time but no rhythm. I heard solos with no form. I heard melodies with no heart. There was no feeling in this band it was just all notes. If this is music get me out.

I kept telling the musicians remember you are a musician. Somehow they have forgotten the meaning of music in playing this job. They were such a find group of people, which was the contradiction, but I know the ship was doing this to them. Do not let them do it to you become a person and stand up against these people whose main purpose is to make as much money as they can off your labor.

Greg Waters Artist of Music, Yogi
 

  Part II, Letter to the Department of Labor

Greg Waters 690 E 189th Street #5G Bronx, NY 10458-6346

Wednesday, January 12, 2000
 
 
If you know where I can send this letter please let me know? DOL.
GOV

To the Department of Labor USA

I am writing you about the Princess Cruise Lines and their bias treatment of me when I worked for them and how I was terminated with no pay and no airplane ticket home. I had a contract with them which they did not honor.

The law in California for employment with a contract:

Contract

EXPRESS CONTRACT: When there is a contract for a specified period of time, an employer may not terminate the employee absent a showing of just cause. The easy example of this is when there is a written employment contract (such as a collective bargaining agreement or a contract for an actor to make a movie). When an employer unjustly terminates an employee prior to the term of the contract, the employee would be entitled to contractual remedies and possibly injunctive relief. Furthermore, if the employee quits prior to the term of the contract without good cause, the employee could be liable for damages to the employer.
 

I was never lied to so much in my entire life and I worked for the New York City School System which is the biggest bureaucratic nightmare I ever experienced. But the Princess Cruise Lines has a better system than the New York City Board of Education where millions of dollars are missing ever year for example. They have been lying too me ever since I started working for them. What a system they have? I wish I could explain it all. My complaint is that I was injured and could not work up to par therefore they sent me home like some ‘dirty dog’ who was not wanted. Anything I said had no meaning to them or no relationship to my situation. I felt completely hopeless and without any defense to my position. Everything I ask for was not ever considered. It was a complete dictatorship if I ever heard of one. This is the biggest exploitation of workers I ever saw. Somehow the employment on cruise lines must be regulated and employees must have some rights with living conditions and working conditions.

They tried intimidation, humiliation, extortion, to get me to leave the ship. And it all was because of the band director who decided he did not like me because I was a threat to his position. A very bad situation it was for all concerned. They wanted me to leave on my own accord so they would not be responsibility for the dismissal. But I refused and made them fire me according to their rules.


 
I wish you could make a complete investigation of the working conditions and payment structure of the cruise lines. Because all the passengers are Americans for the most part and all the workers are from foreign countries, except for the entertainers, and the ships are registers in foreign countries also, therefore because all this business is generated by American Clients I believe there should be more control over the pay and the working conditions. And this registration issue is the biggest scam going as far as I can see.

The Cruise Ship company also hires and promotes hiring people from foreign countries which I believe is wrong because most all the money is generated by American Clients. Therefore a percentage of the workers should be Americans and should be able to speak English for the safety of the passengers. But since this is a business just for profit not much concern is taken for this situation. After all this company is owned by a British Company.

Another example, I found out the waiters had a day off and were making more money than the musicians. The musicians had to work seven days a week. And sometimes from 10 in the morning until 2 a.m. for the save weekly salary. Plus we were responsible for safety on the ship because we could speak English. This use of us to provide safety for the passengers was a real abuse of our knowledge and pay scale. Also, I got the job from a third party in Canada who I later found out was working for the Cruise Line and not my interest and were taking money out of my salary to pay them. I say, ProShip Inc. Montreal, Canada, why have an agent if they really are a sub-contractor for the Cruise Line and not a manager or agent for me. Why am I paying them money if there do not service me? This was another nightmare, especially when I got into the LA Airport and was told I had to buy my own ticket home to NY or Acapulco. I had arranged for them to send me to Acapulco, but they declined because I did not complete my contract, but they stopped the contract not I.

Here is an e-mail I got from Proship Inc.

Dear Greg,

I received two checks from Princess Cruises for the amount of $1,480.00 and

$431.67. I would like to send them out to you of course. Can you please

advise me of your current address.

Thank you,

Kind regards,

Chantal Montanaro

Contracting Director

I never received this money from them. Just another lie from these people.

I kept contacting them for weeks and they said it is in the mail, but 2 months later it is still not here.

Proship Entertainment, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

I would hope that the Department of Labor would stop these loop holes that these cruise ships have by registering in foreign countries to get around US law

This experience was the biggest nightmare of my music career. It was like dealing with a cow who cannot speak back to you. I was talking, but no one was listening. I finally determined I was working for a group of robots and not people. I believe this situation is very dangerous for the citizens of the US and I would hope you would look into the shipping industry and the laws governing working conditions, hours of employment, pay rate, mental health issues, living conditions (they promoted much drinking by the employees after work to get them to spend their salary on the ship by giving them credit to buy beer and liquor,) for example the drummer in our band spent all his money on board for liquor. Everyone who was working in the entertainment department as far as I could see had some hopeless attitude to their situation, they were people living without any kind of personal dignity because of the living conditions, pay structure, working conditions, and isolation from their families and structure of the ship. For example the musicians had no place where they could go and practice and improve their craft, all space on the ship for the most part was being used for the entertainment of the passengers and including the show room for bingo, lectures, movies etc. Everybody acted like a robot to get through the day with behavior that had no relationship to a real person, but more to a robot who had to perform the same duty over and over. Some of the musicians were very poorly trained and they had no outlet to develop there craft which could contribute to their mental health.

This cruise industry is getting bigger every year with more ships being built. I would hope you would take the time to look into the over all hiring practices, working conditions, pay rate, terms of employment, third party contracts, terms of termination of contracts, expenses to and from the ship, and I am sure there are issues I have not brought up.

For example, I was ask to travel from NY to Hawaii -non-stop and start work the next day. I was talking to a passenger and he was telling me that he had to go to a doctor to deal with jet lag and time difference in traveling from one part of the world to another. There must be some law to correct this travel time change so the person has time to recover from the trip. I was really working at 5 a.m. my first week there when I finished work everyday. Quite a change don’t you think?

Please write me in Mexico or send me E-mail at greg@cmporg.org

 

I hope you do something about this miss use of power!

Sincerely,
Greg Waters

p.s. Included Employment Termination Questionnaire from the Princess Cruises
Please support labor rights and fair payment for work, expenses and travel.