First, let me say that I love Minnesota. I've lived in 4 of the United States, and Minnesota is still my favorite. No contest.
However, it is REALLY COLD here right now. It seems even colder due to the fact that I just spent 4 days on the ocean and in the Bahamas, where it averaged 68 degrees each day.
I had the honor of performing on the my 5th cruise with Premier Christian Cruises. It really is the opportunity to "take a working vacation" that I could never afford to do otherwise.
I worked with Christian artists such as Third Day, Matthew West, Salvador, Nicole C. Mullen, Mandisa, Building 429, Sanctus Real, Brandon Heath, Phil Joel and the Annie Moses Band. And it was a special reunion of the guys from 4HIM and also DeGarmo & Key. Both reunion concerts were highlights for me.
I did one show on the cruise, but the highlight for me was doing the strolling entertainment for guests. If people were waiting in line for autographs, I was there performing for them. If they were waiting to get into the concert venues, I was there making paper roses for the ladies. If they were sitting and waiting for concerts to start, I was asking them to "pick a card, any card". i love the strolling because it gives me the opportunity to really meet the people and talk with them, find out where they are from, if this is their first cruise, etc.
Another thing that I worked harder on this time was the interaction with the wait staff around the ship. I taught our two waiters some magic tricks they can use to raise better tips. As I rode the elevator down to the first floor I met a waiter that likes magic, so he stepped off with me. We stood around for almost 45 minutes talking about magic tricks, Christianity and his own life.
I taught 2 ladies in the Palladium how to make napkin roses for their customers.
One morning, I had planned on meeting our two evening waiters, to teach them a couple of magic tricks. By the time I was done (about 20 minutes) there were almost 10 waiters around trying out the tricks for themselves. I would imagine it gets tiring serving people day after day after day, so I only hope that they enjoy being served once in a while. And I hope they actually use the tricks I taught them to make better tips on their future cruises.
On one of the past cruises, I felt sorry for the lack of business that some of the bartenders had. I stopped and offered to show then a few magic routines, and by the time I was done 20 minutes later, almost 20 bar staff were standing around laughing and having a good time.
Another great thing about this cruise was that I actually had 9 other people sailing as part of our "group". My parents came, my uncle was there, 2 great singers from our church, another couple that I've known since I was born, and one other lady friend of ours from Colorado. The best part: my wife, Debbie, went along too.
Here is the group photo, that I like to refer to as the DonB! fan club:
And here is the one of my beautiful wife:
Now THAT'S something to celebrate!
I leave you with this comment that one of the guests submitted after the cruise. I remember this family, if only for the fact that the little girl was hanging a spoon on her nose, and I was jealous. I've never been able to do it. Out of sheer determination, I tried it, AND IT WORKED.
Here's the comment in its entirety:
My wife, myself and our two daughters most recently sailed on the KLove cruise with much satisfaction. Thank you for assisting us with our arrangements. We would like to say the music was fantastic and fulfilling.
We also feel compelled to mention that the effort of Don B should not go unnoticed. The man was constantly at work. He approached us at our table, in line as we waited entry into the Palladium and we could not help but notice him at work inside the Palladium prior to the evening concerts. Our daughters really enjoyed his performance in the lounge.
Please pass along this info if you think it may help for future events.
Dr and Mrs Eric Castillo + "The Spoon Girls" Sarah and Brooke
I love my "job". Blessings to you all.