I had no expectations on boarding the ship that brought us out to the Caribbean. Arriving in Miami to find a gorgeous suite in the Intercontinental waiting for me, I realised that Entertainment Cruise Professionals meant business. I was vaguely familiar with Carnival Cruises but really was not expecting too much from them. What I found on boarding surprised and delighted me.
The boat was dated, for sure but i was really surprised at how much i liked it. My very spacious suite with the lovely veranda was like something 1972 had brought as a gift complete with plastic couch which i am guessing is in case I had an incontinence issue. Still, i found the bed comfortable, the cabin very spacious with all mod cons. In fact, I grew to love the comfort and solace it gave me as I soon found out, no matter what time
of day you left that cocoon, you entered a mad and crazy kingdom, the land of the thunderhead!!!!!!!
Being honest, i was worried whether you thunderheads would enjoy my music as it is different from the guys. I know some of you have seen my as competition, in the past when it couldn't be further from the truth. We are all friends and we have nothing but regard for each other's success. Anyways, it worked it out and I felt nothing but the love from the minute i started singing.
A LOT of you asked me on board, if I would perform with Thunder or indeed eventually become a member of the show. That will simply not happen. While I admire the guy's talent and Sharon's skill as a manager, it is not for me. I like being a solo artist and I get to make my own decisions, follow my own path.
Back to the boat......My senses were overwhelmed walking around that boat on the first day. We had a deadline for rehearsal as we were on stage for 2 shows on that very first night. however, even the walk from my room to the theater was full with hellos, hugs, picture taking and general loveliness from fans.
The theater, was spectacular for the audience I thought. Full of color and great for access to the artist. I was amazed at the size of it, given we were on a boat. After a rather panicked rehearsal we got on with our first show. Frankly, we killed. I, despite the rather frenetic tech rehearsal and lack of prep time never sang better. The band and dancers were on fire and we just enjoyed both performances from start to finish.
It was a treat for us to do stuff we have never sang before. I really enjoyed singing I Cant Make You Love Me and Tomorrow's Child. We had a lot more new material ready but ran out of time as we had to get in 2 shows in one night. The reaction was immediate. The first audience lapped it up and we could not have been happier.
Our second show, I figured would be another step up but i think the long day of boarding and waiting for pic with Celtic Thunder took it's toll on the punters. I could tell everyone was tired. I still knew though that you all had a wonderful time and we had found some new fans.
So, at the end of day one, we were done....and we had barely left port. I think the band and I were genuinely dissappointed that we didn't get to perform more but that is reality of cruise entertainment. There is only so much time.
The rest of my week involved filling my days with the gym to ward off the evils of the great food in the buffet. I have to say the food and service was spectacular. I loved dinner every night and the midnight pizza after a few beers was so welcome. The staff however, I thought were second to none. Amazing friendly service that I have rarely witnessed before.
My favorite thing was hanging out with my lovely band. They are just awesome to work with but we never get to just hang out.
Jamaica was a bit dodgy and not my cuppa tea at all. but I loved getting to spend the day in Cayman, especially given that we had lunchtime drinks in the rather gorgeous Ritz Carlton.
I loved the wine tasting on the last day as I got to have longer conversations with people and we got to talk about my favorite thing in the world, VINO!!!!!
Lastly I showed up for a Meet n Greet and autograph signing for an hour. It lasted 2 hours as so many showed up. I was thrilled getting to do photos, sign your cds and posters and just chat with fans who I've only met online. I still can't quite grasp what my music means to people so hearing stories of how my songs help people is so encouraging. Everyone was taken aback that I wanted to meet and talk to everyone. Why wouldn't I? You are the people who gave me this incredible life.
Thanks so much for all the incredible gifts you brought. I will be drinking Starbucks non stop!!!!!
My body was in complete shutdown after it all. I am a bit of a light weight so I was not able for the pace. I crawled off the boat and boarded the flight home for a few days before the madness of the Christmas dates begin.
Overall I would say that the whole experience was just wonderful. I got to hang out with friends, make new ones, perform for fans who have been so loyal to me and celebrate everything that music has brought to my life.
I hope to do another cruise as soon as possible. LOVED IT.
So now I am getting ready for some Christmas dates. Really looking forward to them. There is an extra date in Saint Louis area on December 8. You could go to the matinee of the lads ABC show and head over to my show that features other great Broadway artists. Details to follow.
Cerritos Center, Los Angeles Dec 06
St. Louis, Dec 08 Details TBA.
Foxwoods, CT Dec 10
SFSC Avon Park, FL Dec 16
Lakeland Center, FL Dec 17
Festival Hall, Greensboro, GA Dec 18
For all the new fans asking about my recordings, here are some links
For all info go to www.michaellondra.com
and one last thing PLEASE LIKE my official facebook page for new music and dates............
You are probably already friends with me but this page will give you the music you want to hear.