The Carnival Cruise show will be a full hour, but we only have four days to shoot it, which is usually the time we need to shoot a half-hour of … so it\’s a pretty busy schedule. Great thing about being on a cruise is you can fit a lot more into a show, seeing that everything is a 10-minute walk away as opposed to an hour\’s drive. In travel production, stamina and momentum are key, and nothing can kill that more than long drives to destinations or even a long lunch. So, even though the shoot schedule looks challenging on paper, we\’re all able to get into a zone. Of course this is great for everyone except Allan on camera, who might actually enjoy putting the 40-pound camera down for a spell. Another wonderful thing about shooting on a cruise is the plethora of bathrooms. After my last travels in China and Latin America, the thought of being no more than 50 feet away from a clean bathroom is just bliss. So I\’m sure you\’re thinking, \”She gets to go on a cruise with pools, spas, bars, food and partying, and this is what makes her happy?\” Yep, pretty much.
On this show, I am reunited with soundman David Gaffney, whom I had the pleasure of working with a few years back. He didn\’t have as much pleasure working with me, though. One of the scenes we were shooting together involved a golf simulator. He and the cameraman put themselves against the screen facing me to get a front shot of my swing. I am a terrible golfer, as anyone who has watched the shows knows, so when I put the ball on the tee, I just thought I would swing and miss it as I always have. But this time, I didn\’t miss. This time, my swing was Tiger Woods perfect, and I whacked that ball hard. It missed Dave\’s face by only a few inches. The computer clocked my ball at 85 mph. Dave stood there stunned, the small impression of the ball still visible against the foam mat. At first I was so totally elated with my first-ever perfect swing in the six years of doing the show, that it didn\’t dawn on me what I\’d done. I was only supposed to pretend to hit the ball because two men were standing just 10 feet away in its path. It was a good laugh, and of course, golf ball jokes abounded the rest of the shoot. I thought about randomly sending Dave a golf ball in the mail with no return address or note. He would know who it was from.
After a few days on board, I must say I am very impressed with the entire staff of the ship. Crew members are the hardest-working people in the travel industry. They work excruciatingly long hours and have to adapt to every type of cruise passenger — from kids, tweens, teens, to 20-somethings, yuppies and baby boomers. All have different expectations on a cruise, and I am really impressed by the quality of the staff as they set about to make everyone\’s cruise an enjoyable experience. I didn\’t get to make it to the crew bar, which was a big disappointment. For anyone shooting on a cruise ship, that becomes the goal: to get into the crew bar, which is down in the depths of the ship and a place where civilians are strictly forbidden. Most of the crew want you there because, technically, we are working on the ship as well, but the invitation must come from an officer. I just wanted to go so I could buy a drink for everyone who had helped us out so much.
Our excursion is dune buggying. Mostly driving on the one main paved loop road of Cozumel to a beach on the east coast, 45 minutes away, to do a small lap of sand about the circumference of a roller rink. My visions of doing doughnuts in the sand and actually riding the dunes were dashed (I guess it was technically one dune, and it\’s not called dune buggying). But the scenery is beautiful, and it sure is nice to not only get off the ship, but to drive a stick and have some fun. After being out in the intense heat from 10 to 2, we have a small break to eat some lunch at a very nice spot. A man named Jaime, who is the spitting image of Kenny Rogers, greets us. He has an aura about him that is at once commanding and pacifying. He makes sure we are all doing well. He gets us our Cokes and gives us an area to put our equipment. When I ask where the ladies room is, he answers with such care and concern that I make it all right. It\’s a beautiful part of Cozumel called Punta Morena.
The beach is just glorious, and I thought if I were to do this again, I would hire a taxi from the ship and come here for the day. Jaime informs me that a taxi round-trip would be 30 dollars.