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JC - BIG BANDS TO BIG SHIPS


He comes from the English university town of Oxford, his parent are academics, he ran a successful big band operation in the UK and is now sitting with me off Santorini, Greece, talking about his position as Cruise Director on Celebrity Constellation.

“I was the exception to the rule. I was definitely the black sheep of the family. At a very young age I wanted to do something completely and utterly different. I had a big mouth and was constantly getting into trouble. I was really just a brat of a child. As a kid I wanted to be a football player but realized at the ripe old age of 10 that it was an unreachable goal. I then wanted to be an airline pilot but found I didn't have the eyesight for it. As a small child I started singing in church choirs and, at 15, decided to get into entertainment. I performed in school musicals and, with my mother, in an operatic society. I then attended the Oxford School of Music and Drama where I studied to be an actor for 3 years.“

JC (his real name is Jamie Frasier or Jamie Cox… take your pick… he prefers JC) then went to London to obtain work as an actor. That was not too successful… as a matter of fact… completely unsuccessful. He figured that he could be doing something more positive with his life rather than making the endless rounds of auditions.

"I was broke. I had to earn money or starve. So I started singing. I performed in local bars, pubs and clubs. Friends with bands would pay me 20 quid to come in and sing a few songs to pump up the crowd. After a year I found that I was earning more money that I could at any other job."

About this time JC decided that he wanted to see some of the world so he joined the entertainment department of Airtours. He spent time in Crete, Cyprus and the Canary Islands before switching to TUI Travel where he became an entertainment manager in their hotel chain as well as building his own show.

After four years he returned to the UK club circuit where he put together his big band. He formed his own company and as his fame spread, so did his stable of musicians. At one point he had more than 290 performers and technicians on his books with engagements all over the UK.

"It was crazy the way it took off. And for at least four years it couldn't have been any better. We were doing huge corporate gigs, backed Shirley Bassey and performed at Rod Stewart's birthday party at his home. But then the financial crisis came and ruined everything. The musical side of things is always the first to go. So, literally, from a Friday, over the weekend, the lights went out on the music industry in London. Just like a light switch… gone!"
JC - Cruise Director
JC the CD


JC tried to hang on for six months until he could rearrange his life. Fortunately for him, he had done some entertaining on cruise ships while building his career. He had walked the gangway on most of the major vessels over a six year period. He now shifted all his energies to the floating hotels.

It was John Heald, famous Cruise Director for Carnival Cruise Line, that suggested JC become a CD. He was offered a job as a staff singer on two of the line's ships, working alongside Heald, watching him onstage and learning his craft. Major head office staff changes at Carnival resulted in no permanent Cruise Director job offer for JC. A few phone calls resulted in a position at Holland America and he started his Cruise Director career on Amsterdam.

After almost 3 years at HAL, he was contacted by Celebrity. It took just one orientation visit onboard Eclipse and he was sold.

“Celebrity Modern Luxury is looking for my age group (he is 34) in some of the key positions. They want people who can bring something new to the program and I find it exciting… very exciting. I started on Celebrity Infinity for the European season. That is a very challenging run especially for the Cruise Director and the Hotel Director. We have a very high number of British passengers who can be very demanding. But the itineraries were great and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I was then sent here, to Constellation, to fill a three cruise scheduling gap. She was in the Baltic at the time and, I can tell you, that is my favorite run. It is the most fantastic and most historical… just amazing!“

JC then left for vacation and was due to go to Silhouette but his present Hotel Director, Marcela Salum, asked head office if she could have him back and here he is.

The Cruise Director does not set the entertainment policy onboard. Major decisions and recruiting of talent is done, in Celebrity's case, by the head office in Miami. JC does have it in his powers to adjust the talent schedule, perhaps changing a venue that is more suitable to the act and giving feedback to his superiors as to whether a performance was received well or poorly.

Celebrity Constellation Theater
Celebrity Theater
The calibre of the talent, for the most part, is as good as, if not better than, performers you pay top dollar to see in a New York nightclub or on a Las Vegas stage.

JC is no fan of Simon Cowell. "Simon Cowell has done no favours at all to anybody who is a cruise ship entertainer by saying for many years.. "Well, you're not that good.. you're more of a cruise ship kind of singer". Last night in Celebrity Theatre we had Greg London on stage and he came to us from the Hilton in Las Vegas. Some of the ships are bigger than the biggest hotels there and our talent matches theirs."


The most interesting thing about having this talented performer as Cruise Director… JC does not perform on stage at all!

“I gave myself a goal when I joined this cruise line and that was to achieve everything I wanted to achieve as a Cruise Director and to be seen as the number one CD in the fleet within a 2 year period… without singing a note! I am almost a year into that target and I haven't sung yet. And, once I reach my goals, I intend to smash them… with my voice!"

For the time being, or until the two years are up, you can view JC's singing talent by going to YouTube.com and searching for “Jamie Frasier”. As for his Cruise Director skills, you will have to reserve a stateroom on Celebrity Constellation.

Bob Rice
Barrier-FreeCruising.com
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