Come travel 7593 km with me from Toronto to Grand Cayman and Colombia and back in four days. Our mission is to dazzle.
This week I was off to Grand Cayman to join the Celebrity Reflection. I've spent a lot of time on this ship, it's one of my favourites.
When I boarded this week, I didn't realize the ship had just repositioning from Europe.
Here's the easiest way to explain what that means-- remember how groggy you felt last month when we moved our clocks for daylight-savings, do that every day for eight days straight!
It's really tough.
I feel terrible for complaining about it because as a featured entertainer I only work a few hours a week. Everyone else is working 14 hour days. They all do it with a smile. It's remarkable and exhausting.
It's common to change your clock back and forth one hour each week, for example, Alaska, Eastern/Western Carribean and Australia/New Zealand have weekly clock changes.
Day 1: Travel Day to Grand Cayman
Alarm set: 2:25 am ~ Bedtime: 7:30pm
The most drastic time change is repositioning a cruise ship.
Atlantic or Pacific crossings. I've only done both, but the Atlantic crossing was a total surprise.
An unexpected eight-day trip to Portugal.
A few years ago I was finishing up a contract on the Celebrity Reflection as it was about to reposition to Europe. I was onboard with one my favourite Cruise Directors, Damian De Lorenzis (fellow Canadian) and The 3 Redkneck Tenors (loved these guys!)
There were only two remaining ports before the eight days at sea, Bahamas and Bermuda. My show was in the Bahamas and I was flying home the next afternoon from Bermuda.
After spending the day in Nassau, Bahamas, I returned to the ship in time to shower and head to rehearsal.
Immediately upon boarding I was flagged by security and asked to see the cruise director ASAP.
What I learned was a tropical storm had developed into a hurricane and for the safety of all passengers the ship was cancelling the next port, Bermuda.
Here's why this was exceptionally challenging-- there is an incredible amount of coordination for supplies, food and resources that goes on at every port, plus, all five guest entertainers joining in Bermuda were cancelled!
The ship was trying to get ahead of the storm by heading directly to Lisbon, Portugal. All of this was very much "underwraps" and was going to be announced at sail-away.
I was offered the opportunity to leave the ship ASAP and the company would fly me home immediately and with full compensation. However, this obviously would leave the ship in an incredibly difficult position. No guest entertainers. Eight days at sea and an audience who had already seen two of the production shows.
It would have been an unexpected scramble to find entertainment that evening.
Both the Red Kneck Tenors and I agreed to stay and we both mainstaged two and a half nights each!
It couldn't have worked out better.
I have two very different shows, magic & hypnosis, and it always feels good to know I'm providing so much variety and value, this cruise was one of the most rewarding.
Day 2: Board ship in Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman is a "tender" port.
That means you take a tiny boat to get to a much biggeer boat (errr, ship).
The crystal clear water of Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman to Cartagena onboard Celebrity Reflection
The travel day to Grand Cayman was a dream. Empty seats beside me on both flights.
That rarely happens.
Something also happened on this trip, that's rare. It's only happened one other time in my nine years on ships.
There was another magician onboard!
I had just checked into the ship and was walking down the lobby when I hear "Ryan" All I see is a silhouetted guy with headphones.
To my delight, it's my buddy Farrell Dillon. He's a blast to hang out with, we met randomly in Alaska and became fast friends. He's awesome, here's his sizzle reel. He's a frequent guest on Master of Illusion TV Show and Tour.
Watch: Farrell Dillon Sizzle Reel
We got to hang out for two days, I'm bummed because I didn't get to see his show and I regret not getting a photo with him!
It was good times!
Day 3: Sea Day & Show Day (7pm & 9pm)
There were many people on the ship I've worked with before, including the Captain and Hotel Director, production manager, stage tech and the dance captain, Dominique was in my show a few years ago!
It was great to see them!
I had a rough ending to my last show, which will linger in my soul for a few days (#artistproblems) but the audience was amazing. There were tons of Canadians!
Day 4: Cartagena, Columbia flight home
The travel day home ate my soul.
I spent over 6 hours in an airplane, two flights, four immigration lines. I was expecting it to be much busier at the airports. With about two hours left on my last fligth I started to feel really claustrophobic, but I was prepared with the newest season of Netflix The Crown.
I'm so glad to be home and there are lots of exciting developments I'll be sharing soon. Things are about to take a sleightly different direction.
Cartagena Cityscape and sunrise