My name is Alexis De Mond and I perform as a diver in the shows, “Oasis of Dreams” and “Splish Splash” onboard Oasis of the Seas. I have been an athlete all my life in various sports, but eventually gravitated towards diving full-time and continuing through college at the University of Southern California. I come from a family of performers, my brother Kent is a diver in the dolphin show at Sea World in San Diego as well as a professional cliff diver in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. My sister Michelle performed as a diver in the aqua shows on both Allure of the Seas and Oasis. She is the person who got me interested in applying for this job in the first place.
About two years ago, I graduated college and was interning in Los Angeles. My sister was working on Allure of the Seas, so I decided to take a cruise to visit her. I had never been on a cruise ship before, but I was immediately jealous of her job and all the opportunities she had to visit the beautiful ports every week and meet people from around the world. The week I chose to visit happened to be when Royal Caribbean was filming the short movies with Dean Cain and Jenny McCarthy. I thought that was pretty cool some celebrities were on board, but didn’t think I would actually see them. However, I was wrong, not only did I see them around the ship, Dean Cain and the other actors came up and introduced themselves while we were at the rock wall waiting for the aqua show to start. I had mentioned to Dean that my sister is a diver in the show and he asked if she went to Princeton and I said yes. He told me that he came to the show just to see her because he went to Princeton as well, which I thought was awesome that even celebrities come watch our show. I had such an amazing cruise vacation that I decided right then that I wanted a job on the ship.
I started on Oasis while my sister was still on Allure. Unfortunately we never were able to work on the same ship together because one of us would be on vacation while the other was on the ship. Each aqua cast spends about 6 to 8 months at a time onboard the ship. We have two weeks of land rehearsal to learn the “Splish Splash” comedy dive show, and then we have two weeks of rehearsal on the ship to learn “Oasis of Dreams” before performing in front of guests. The start of every contract is always tiring, having hours of rehearsals and learning new routines in addition to safety training every day for the first few weeks. It takes about a month onboard until you finally get settled into a weekly routine.
A typical week as a diver consists of two “Oasis of Dreams” shows each night for the first three days of the cruise and two shows of “Splish Splash” one afternoon later in the week. In addition to the aqua shows, we participate in the Aqua Trends Fashion show, modeling the styles of swimwear worn throughout the eras. We also perform in two parades during the week as well as helping out the production shows and the ice shows with spotlighting and dressing. We are very fortunate to have a schedule that allows us to have free time to work out in the gym, go out to dinner in guest areas and to get off the ship to enjoy all the ports.
Occasionally this schedule is interrupted depending on the weather. If seas are rough it becomes unsafe for the divers and acrobats in our aqua show to perform because the pool loses so much water when the ship rocks and the water depth can vary one to two meters in seconds. The guests may not feel the ship rocking, but since divers can be 3 meters, 10 meters, or even 17 meters up high on a narrow diving board, we are much more sensitive to those conditions. In that case, we postpone the show to a later day in the week when the conditions will be better.
Because our theater is very technical with moving lifts, diving boards that get raised up, and flying aspects, we have a lot of technical staff around the theater communicating with each other to keep everyone safe. We have scuba divers under the water giving the performers air and communicating with the production manager when the pool is clear for the divers to enter. Then the production manager communicates to the divers through stoplight signals, giving a green light if it is safe to go or a red light telling you to climb down the ladder.
Being a performer on a cruise ship is such a unique and interesting job. It is so fun to be out around the ship and be recognized by guests who saw our show. In a way we feel like celebrities, with people wanting to take pictures with us, but I really appreciate it when I talk with guests and say they loved our show. That is one of my favorite things about being a performer, as well as getting standing ovations at the end of our shows. These are the reasons why I love my job and I hope to continue it for a few more years while I still can. How many people do you know that can actually say they love their job? I don’t know too many.