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Freedom of the Seas – Week One Recap

Many people were interested in hearing more about what I’m doing on the ship each day, so here you go! Keep in mind I probably won’t do this for every week because it will probably be pretty repetitive. I’m also gathering a ton of content on my GoPro, so I will be creating a recap video at the end of my four weeks. Very excited about that. Thank you for following my posts! Until next time.

Day One:
Day one is a wrap! The first day on board was pretty hectic, but it ended on a very high note. I boarded early, found my room (barely), and prepared for my first event in the promenade. The promenade is the main floor where you can find many specialty shops, restaurants and entertainment. I spun a short set as guests were being welcomed on board. My music filled the entire floor, which was pretty cool. Shortly after finishing on the promenade, I linked up with Dj Ron (Resident Royal Caribbean DJ) to introduce myself, and ask a ton of questions lol. Ron’s the man and was incredibly helpful (He’s from Queens too!) Ron helped me track down my bags and get my crew member room key. Hit the gym (gym is better than some gyms in NJ!), and prepped for the nightclub opening party. Didn’t know what to really expect, but I was pleasantly surprised with how interactive, energetic and engaged the crowd was. We most definitely have a Hip-Hop/reggae crowd on board, which is RIGHT up my alley. We rocked from about 1045-3am (staff said the opening party usually shuts down at 2am! They just didn’t want to leave!) Received MANY compliments/high fives/daps during my set, but the best was a large group from NYC. They go on several cruises every year and said I was by far the best deejay they had ever heard on a cruise ship. That’s one hell of a compliment.

Tomorrow I get to give DJ lessons to some youngsters on board! Very excited about that.

-Deejay Monopoli

Day Two:
Today we were at sea all day, on our way to Labadee, Haiti. Pretty low key day! Enjoyed some sun, food and got a good workout in. Had about 7 kids join me to take their first DJ lesson! We broke down some basic scratches (drag, baby, scribble), but a couple students even progressed into some basic closed fader scratches (stab, chop). Of course there were one or two students who just wanted to freestyle and press as many buttons as they could (lol), but overall they all did very well. This evening I opened up the nightclub with some good ol’ Motown music. Many folks were gathered in the club to hang out until the comedy show at 11pm, so I had a good sized crowd. It was also our first formal night, so you know everyone was looking fresh! (Myself included, of course) The resident, DJ Ron, took over at midnight, so I hung out for a while to support. Ron had a huge crowd to work with and he did his thing!

Tomorrow we get to Labadee bright and early, so I’ll be out and about to take it all in. Official 80’s party in the theatre at night, followed by a performance in the nightclub. I’m expecting huge crowds at both venues. Until tomorrow!

-Deejay Monopoli

Day Three:
We are here in beautiful Labadee, Haiti! Woke up early to hit the “Dragon Tail Coaster.” This is literally a 1-2 person, single cart roller coaster that climbs to the top of the mountain, and then twists, turns, and drops it’s way all the way to the bottom. Craziest part is YOU control your speed, no one else. (So you know I barely used the brakes right?? lol) But why stop there? Next I ventured 500 feet upward into the mountainside of Labadee and went down the longest, over-water, zip line in the world. The view from up top was incredible. After a quick workout and some food, it was off to Studio B (the theatre) for the official 80’s party. I really didn’t know what to expect from the 80’s party. especially because it takes place in the theatre, which probably holds 500+ people. I was set up on the stage, front and center. Music pumped through the entire theatre sound system, really making it feel like I was playing in a small stadium or something. The turnout was absolutely amazing. The ENTIRE dance floor was packed with all ages dancing and singing their hearts out. It’s always cool when you’re able to cut the music out and let the crowd fill in all the words, but imagine 500+ belting out the words of “Don’t stop Believing.” Definitely one of those moments where you get the chills. Susan, the activities manager, was up next to host Battle of the Sexes, so I was able to hand over a crowd that was PUMPED and ready to go.  They gave me a HUGE ovation. Such an amazing feeling. Immediately following the 80’s party we packed up the turntables and ran over to the nightclub to close out the night. Resident, DJ Ron, opened the night with 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, so the crowd was much older than it had been the previous two nights. This presented a challenge. What do I normally play for an older crowd? 70’s, 80’s, 90’s! I couldn’t replay a ton of music that they had previously heard from Ron, so I had to start from scratch and rebuild the vibe of the room. We started slow, with lots of people watching from the sidelines, bopping their heads. Soon enough, the dancefloor was filled and it stayed that way until closing.

Tomorrow we port in Falmouth, Jamaica, where I am praying I can finally get some internet! (lol) I miss all of you very much!

-Deejay Monopoli

Day Four:
After some much needed sleep, I ventured off the ship to check out what Jamaica had to offer. Aside from excursions, there’s not a whole lot to do in the Falmouth port besides eating, drinking and shopping. I ended up at Margaritaville for the free wifi (lol). I was finally able to touch base with some family and friends back home, so that was nice. Upon returning to the ship, I set up in the pool deck DJ booth and rocked a quick set. Oh, and I signed my first autograph today (LOL). Later in the evening I arrived at Fuel (nightclub for the youngsters) to host their silent disco night (for those of you that don’t know what that is, I’ll elaborate in day 6’s blog, when I’ll be hosting the silent disco for the adults). Resident, DJ Ron, had a late set to close out the adult’s nightclub, so I finished the evening there. Tomorrow we are in Grand Cayman, which I heard is absolutely beautiful. I have a late “classics” set in the promenade, followed by the 20wentys, all white, party on the pool deck. This is supposed to be the biggest party of the week, so you know I’m ready to rock. Until tomorrow!

-Deejay Monopoli

Day Five:
Grand Cayman was absolutely beautiful. After a quick cab ride away from the port, I ended up at 7 mile beach. Some drinks, some food, some sun, and it was time to head back to prepare for the evening’s events. First stop was the promenade for a “classics” set. This was the first time I had the turntables set up in the promenade, so naturally MANY guests were intrigued and stopped to watch me scratch, mix and show off a bit (lol). Love taking the time to explain to people how the software works, but more importantly explain what it is a DJ is supposed to do. Later that night, with my all white outfit on, I made my way to the pool deck for the White Night Pool Party. My music filled the entire top deck of the ship and within no time at all, the dancefloor was packed. The crowd was very energetic and engaged, which allowed me to take them in several different directions. New, old, hip-hop, reggae, Latin, dance, house – I played it all. A very successful night overall.

Tomorrow is our last stop! Cozumel, Mexico. There is an elaborate 70’s performance at night, so I will be warming up the crowd prior to the event. I’ll finish the night up rocking alongside resident, DJ Ron, for the silent disco. More on that later !

-Deejay Monopoli

Day Six:
It was a beautiful day in Cozumel. Spent most of my time trying to get wifi at the local Señor Frogs, where I was finally able to connect with some of you. In the evening I played 70’s tunes as the crowd gathered for the 70’s dance party. It was an elaborate performance filled with singers, dancers, dreamworks characters, and of course, the cruise director. I was just basically the opening act. Guests stopped me throughout the day to ask where I was playing later that evening, to which I answered “the silent disco.” Received a lot of blank stares, as most people had no idea what a silent disco was. After a quick explanation, the majority were very intrigued. I was very excited for this event, but really had no idea what to expect. Ron and I coordinated who would be playing what (so the guests had a nice variety and could switch back and forth depending on what they liked more). He was going to play older stuff, while I focused on newer music. Not only did we have a tremendous turnout, but the crowd was going absolutely nuts from start to finish. It was the craziest feeling to remove my headphones to hear nothing but feet moving and everyone singing along. Ron had them going with the classics in the beginning (I mean, let’s be honest. Old music trumps most of this new stuff), but then I started digging for tracks that I knew would have the crowd jumping and singing along. Only a matter of time until I had nearly the entire dancefloor rocking to my channel. Such a crazy experience and the guests absolutely loved it. Definitely preparing some ideas for next weeks silent disco!

Can’t believe tomorrow marks the last day of week one. A few small events tomorrow and then I’ll be preparing for the upcoming week.

-Deejay Monopoli

Day Seven:
The day was rather low key. I was asked by the amazing ladies of Autism on the Seas to deejay for their farewell party. I gladly accepted and everyone had a great time. Was so awesome to see the selflessness and passion they had for their group! Next, we concluded the week with our second DJ lesson (graduation). Several kids from the first class returned for their second lesson. They were joined by roughly 15-20 other kids who were also interested in learning! Seemed like word spread! We recapped some basics, and then each student took turns doing a one minute showcase for the whole room! They had to announce their DJ name, where they were from, and then perform a one minute set. The confidence that some of them exuded was amazing! Finally, I performed a farewell set in the promenade to wrap up the week. I was repeatedly stopped by guests throughout the last day/night to thank me and tell me how great of a job I did. There’s no better feeling.

Well, week one has officially come to a close. Such a wide variety of emotions because you really do interact with and get to know the guests so well, and then they’re gone! Met so many amazing people from all walks of life. There was so much love and appreciation for what I contributed to the cruise! So many faces and smiles that I will never, ever forget.

Best part? I get to start all over again tomorrow! I miss you all!

Signing off,
Deejay Monopoli