Sunshine and Magic

Blue skies, warm beach, and lots of sunshine.
Blue skies, warm beach, and lots of sunshine.  Must be in Santa Barbara, California!

We are now officially into our second week of California cruising, which will comprise the remainder of September.  There have been a few things to get used to, but one I don’t mind at all is the sunshine.  After the downright cold temperatures and rainy days we experienced in Alaska, a bit of sun is quite welcome.

And folks, I’m tanning.  I didn’t think it was possible, both because I’m solidly, unabashedly white and because I use SPF-50.  You see, after a couple horrific burns in high school, I gave up the idea of tanning at all.  I was never going to get as brown as the popular girls in school despite my best efforts, so it seemed pointless to try when I had so little time to devote to it anyway.

But this week, my mom came sailing with me to Catalina Island, and my mom loves to sit out in the sun.  So out I went, slathering on the SPF-50 as usual.  To my delight and surprise, I discovered the slightest of tan lines around my swimsuit this morning.  So when some of the other cast members announced they were going “sunbathing” (they’re British), I decided to head out and join them, enthusiastic about the prospect of developing an actual tan over the next five months we’re cruising in the sunshine.  Rest assured, the sun still has to fight through my SPF-50, as I have no intention of giving myself the option to burn, but it’s nice to have a small goal: how tan can I get in small but steady increments of sun worship?

Among the more surprising changes since repositioning for these California cruises is the fact that our cruise routes have become…well, let’s just say “less direct.”  Catalina Island, the main destination of our last cruise, is only 26 miles away from Los Angeles.  (If you know the song, I apologize that it’s now firmly planted in your head.)  So while we could get there in just a couple hours even at low speed, that’s not how a cruise should be – if you wanted that, you’d just take a ferry.  So instead, we cruise halfway down the Baja peninsula, come back to Catalina for a day, cruise back halfway down the Baja peninsula, then come back up to Ensenada, cruise back down the Baja peninsula and finally return to Los Angeles.  (If you’re curious, you can follow along our route and see a shot from the bridge cam, updated every 10 minutes or so, here.  It’s totally not stalking.)

Quite frankly, it’s really difficult for me to fathom.  One of my greatest strengths in my other jobs is my efficiency, so to see such a circuitous route of pointless sailing is appalling to me, even though I completely understand the why.  It just…hurts.

Our current itinerary to Santa Barbara is slightly less painful.  We’re making a giant circle around Catalina and the Channel Islands to wind up back in Santa Barbara tomorrow, and then we’ll cruise straight to Ensenada afterwards.  I guess I’m more forgiving of a circle than I am of lines up and down the Mexican coast.

These shorter cruises have a different attitude, too.  I would hazard a guess that 90% of the passengers are from southern California, given conversations I’ve had with quite a few of them.  In contrast, our Alaskan cruises were considerably more diverse, including passengers from all over the US as well as a healthy contingent of international passengers from India, China, and Japan, among others.

One of the more exciting changes is that we’re officially beginning to learn the new Stephen Schwartz show, Magic To Do!  We’ve now received scripts, sheet music, and learning tracks, and I’ve received makeup and costume pictures from my friend Courtney who’s premiering my track on the Crown Princess.  Two of the guys and I have also started learning one of the magic illusions (the linking rings), working with a great magician named Alex Ramon.  If you ever get a chance to see him, jump on it!  He’s a delightful performer and excellent magician and has worked with amazing people, including Taylor Swift.

I will say up front that I have no intention of revealing the secrets behind illusion magic on this blog.  I’m married to a former magician, and so I’ve got a lot of respect for the wonder and astonishment a good magician can inspire when audiences allow themselves to be surprised.  However, I’ll be perfectly honest and say that I can’t STAND not knowing how the illusions or tricks work, so getting to learn them from behind the scenes is pretty much a dream come true!

Having to perform magic myself is pretty intimidating, though.  It’s one of those things that should get better with practice, but I won’t get to practice again till full rehearsals start in a couple weeks.  At which point I’ll probably be incredibly preoccupied with all the other pieces of magic, not to mention choreography, blocking, and, oh yeah, belting the ultimate showstopper, “Defying Gravity.”  I’m so grateful we got to learn at least one routine ahead of time and that I already know most of the songs my character sings, because we all now know how I’m learning to handle change gracefully.  Heaven knows there’ll be plenty of change going forward!

Speaking of which, I’d better go work on one of the songs I don’t know yet.  More soon!

Though I am an employee of Princess Cruises, all opinions are mine only and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.

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