Sea ViewsFrom President and COO, Adam Goldstein

Sea Views Blog with Adam Goldstein

The Rise to the Top: A Day in the Life of a Royal Caribbean Stage & Production Manager

Hi, my name is Desmond Elvis Reggie Charles and I am one of the Stage and Production Managers onboard the world’s largest cruise ship, Allure of the Seas. I come to you all the way from the Spice Island of Grenada.

I have been working for Royal Caribbean International for the past 17 years. I started back in October 1994 where I had the privilege of joining Royal Caribbean International’s Sovereign of the Seas as a drummer/vocalist in a Caribbean band called “Heat Wave”.  I eventually formed my own band called “Blue Orchid”.  This was followed by a transfer to the entertainment technical department onboard Voyager of the Seas. After three months as a Lounge Technician I was promoted to Sound Technician for the first ice rink at sea. I continued to move up the ranks of the technical team going from Sound Technician to Head Sound and Light Technician and now to the company’s most senior entertainment position, Stage and Production Manager. Today, I work onboard Allure of the Seas managing the operations of a 1,400 seat theater. 

Desmond Charles, Stage & Production Manager onboard Allure 


As a Stage and Production Manager, I am responsible for the theatrical aspects of all onboard presentations particularly the production shows.  I also maintain the artistic standards and intentions of the shows, manage daily maintenance programs and am responsible for all technical spaces in the Cruise Division. But in order to do this I have the help of three Sound Technicians, three Lighting Technicians, two Lounge Technicians and eleven Stage Staff members under my supervision.  Together we provide the best technical support anyone can ask for onboard a cruise ship.  

On Allure of the Seas we have the Broadway show “Chicago: The Musical” and a typical “Chicago” show day starts the night before with setting up the bandstand which takes four and a half hours.  The Chicago set up involves four large set pieces that come together to make a large bandstand on the stage.  As we are putting the bandstand together there are three light technicians building four 30-foot light towers, while two sound technicians wire the bandstand and place the drum set on the upper landing of the set.  Then the light techs begin to refocus the lights that were mounted on the towers while the stage staff sets the chairs and props to finish the set up.

The Amber Theater Onboard Allure

Unlike some other crew members, for me there is no difference between a sea day and a port day as the job remains the same.

My favorite part of the job is interacting with the guest entertainers.  I work to bring them onboard, schedule rehearsals and ensure that the shows run smoothly.  Also each week I meet with the senior staff from the cruise director division where we plan for the next cruise.

I also work with the other departments to organize all crew meetings, crew parties or just to lend a hand or help solve a problem.  Doing this makes me feel like I am a part of something big, especially when sitting at the same table as the Captain, Staff Captain, Hotel Director, Chief Engineer and other Division Heads as a member of our Executive Maintenance Committee.

Another one of my favorite responsibilities is working as part of the team that conducts the weekly back stage tour for our guests.  It’s always fun to answer questions from the guests about various aspects of the production shows. 

My typical day looks like this:

• 8:00 am   Breakfast

• 8:45 am   Check my email and prepare letters for the incoming Entertainers
 
• 9:00 am – 10:30 am    My morning walk around the Theater and the other small venues, making sure that everything is ready for guests.

• 10:30 am – 11:00 am   Walk the I-95 and pick up needed packages and boxes.  This is our main crew hallway on the ship and it is a very busy and fast moving area.

• Noon         Check  email again and then eat lunch

• 1:00 pm      I am on stand by awaiting a call from Guest Services that the entertainer(s) have arrived.

• 2:00 pm – 3:45 pm    Personal time (“Des Time”) and time for that phone call from my family so I can keep up with how my 3 year old is doing.

• 4.00 pm      Getting ready for the guest drill coming up at 4:15 pm
   .
• 5:00 pm      Back in the office to check the emails and at 5:45 pm to the sound check with the Cast and Orchestra.
 
• 7:45 pm       Preset for tonight’s show

• 8:00 pm       Freshen up before the show

• 8:15 pm       Back in the office check emails while I stand by for show time.

• 9:00 pm      Showtime!  Move scenery and calling cues for the show ( 1 ½ hours)

• 11:45 pm     Cruise Director wraps up the last show onstage and the main curtain comes down

• 1:30 am     Finish up anything outstanding in the office and ensure things are set onstage for the following day.
                         
• 2:00 am       Done for the night but only to do it all over again tomorrow in a different order.

Before you know it four months has passed and I’m off on a two month vacation counting the weeks until I am back onboard again. 

As a boy I was always interested in the cruise ships that visited the islands, and I would often wave to the guests and crew as they boarded the ship thinking… one day that will be me.

Now here I am.

21 responses to:
“The Rise to the Top: A Day in the Life of a Royal Caribbean Stage & Production Manager”

  1. pastor Mayerline Louis

    Hello Des,

    All I can say is wow! my 4th cruise is coming up this saturday october 22, 2011 abroad the Oasis of the Seas. I would love to meet you abroad one day. keep bringing my family and I back to Royal Caribbean man.

    From a Caribbean woman to a Caribbean man,

    Past. Mayerline L.

    • Adam

      Hello Pastor Mayerline, thank you for your kind words. Enjoy your upcoming trip with your family onboard Oasis of the Seas.

  2. David fOx

    I had the pleasure of serving with Des onboard Voyager of the seas. He’s a great man with passion for his work, as an excellent manager. Not a day goes by where I can look back fondly on serving with Desmond Charles .

  3. Elizabeth Ford

    Having sailed on the Sovereign , the Voyager and the Allure I feel I have followed your career. It is always wonderful to hear how so many of the Royal Caribbean family stay and move up. I have been faithful to RCCL for many years and plan many more!

    • Adam

      Thank you so much, Elizabeth. We appreciate your loyalty and we hope to see you onboard for many more years to come.

  4. MIKE mCaRDLE

    Hi Desmond, we look forward to your productions next week on the Allure. My wife and I will be aboard celebrating our 15 year anniversary.

    Do you offer any backstage tours?

    Take care and we wish you well!

    God bless!

    ~ Mike and Mayda McArdle

    • Adam

      Congratulations to the both of you, we are excited to have the two of you onboard celebrating with us. You can visit our site here to learn more about our “Behind the Royal Advantage – All Access Tour’s.” The All Access Tour is currently only available to book onboard. Once onboard refer to your Cruise Compass for directions on where and when to book. We highly recommend to book early onboard to guarantee a spot as space is limited.

  5. Jackie lyons

    I always have a good tome on cruises. Next year I’ll be on my fourth cruise and hope to meet you one day . What a terrific job.

  6. Arlyne

    Took a group on the OASIS of the SEAS for my Annual Labor Day Cruise……Saw Hairspray….We thought we were on Broadway!!!!….All the shows were spectacular….Next Labor Day, it’s the ALLURE…..Got my space already blocked!!!

    • Adam

      Glad to hear you had such a great time onboard Oasis, Arlyne. Be sure to come back and tell us about your time on Allure.

  7. Nanci

    We sailed both inaugural voyages on Oasis and Allure. Up next for us is the first birthday celebration of Allure on December 4th. Seeing the shows is always a highlight of our cruise, and we’re more than ready to enjoy them again. Thanks for putting on great entertainment!!!

    • Adam

      You’re welcome, Nanci. We’ll see you this December.

  8. Barbara Anderson

    I just met Desmond on my Sept 18th-25th cruise on the Allure. What an unassuming gentle giant he is-always standing off in the back & dressed in black! The backstage tour was one of my favorite highlights of the cruise. Listening to him explain the operations of the shows & meeting some of cast of Chicago & Blue Planet was so exciting! My hat’s off to you Desmond for the best shows ever on a cruise ship!!

  9. Emily

    I absolutely cannot wait for my cruise on Allure of the Seas in July of 2012! I am going to make sure I watch Chicago while onboard! All I can say is thank you so much for giving me something to look forward to!!

    • Adam

      You’re more than welcome, Emily. We’ll see you next July.

  10. SHELLY

    We just finished our voyage on the Allure – my first cruise ever (I’m a little spoiled now!) – and the shows were absolutely my favorite part. IceGames, Chicago, OceanAria and Blue Planet – all amazing. So much so that I joined some of your staff for the back stage tour on Saturday morning which was very insightful. Keep up the good work and I’m looking forward to coming back soon. Thanks for the memories!

    • Adam

      We’re honored to hear you chose us for your first cruise, Shelly. Hopefully we’ll share more wonderful memories with you in the future.

  11. Simona bertini

    Hi Mr Desmond, I am an italian soprano.
    I worked before for some concerts on Silver Sea and others and I liked to know how is your hiring procedure for singers because I am not able to find a way to send a Cv and my program..
    (I work alone or I have a DUO, Love Serenade, soprano and tenor, with three differents whole programs of 50 minutes with also backing tracks: Italian Serenade, World Serenade and Music & Paillettes). Thank you for any info and good work on board!!

    • Adam

      Hi Simona, thanks for your interest in working with Royal Caribbean. Please visit our Royal entertainment recruiting website at http://www.RoyalCaribbeanProductions.com for all job openings. Best of luck to you.

  12. anil sugrim

    hi i use to work on the legend and the freedom of the seas and i can tell you that liveing and working on ship is the best thing for any one life the people are great. and everyone love there job. but is there something that you all can do about the money that the utilitys get, it will be nice to get some mor thank you for your time have fun on the ships and may god be with you all.

  13. Pingback: Royal Caribbean Cruises - Holistic Network Exchange

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