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Carnival returns to Australia to hold auditions


After two years, the cruise line is back looking for dancers and singers!

Is it your dream to perform in Broadway-calibre shows? Is your version of paradise traveling to foreign ports and sailing on a cruise ship around the world? If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, then you’ll be happy to hear there is a way to make your dream come true while living in paradise! Your opportunity is knocking with Carnival Cruise Lines, an American owned company coming to Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney to hold auditions for dancers and singers this month.

Maybe you’ve heard the phrase “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” This couldn’t be truer when you are dancing around the tropics and through various ports bursting with historic sights, famous monuments, gorgeous scenery and colorful local cultures. Carnival, which has been nicknamed the industry’s “fun ships”, offers extra incentives for performers too.

Carnival Cruise Lines

’88 Keys’ being presented by Carnival.

“For one, we are very competitive salary-wise compared to our sister brands and our competitors. We have good benefit packages for our crew,” said Simon Griffiths, the Show Direction Manager at Carnival Cruise Lines. “We also offer single accommodations for both singers and dancers, which not a lot of our competitors do.”

Plus, for dancers and singers who like a challenge, Carnival Entertainment’s Playlist Productions include a wide variety of styles and themes.

“The shows themselves are very demanding and when we rebranded ourselves to include our Playlist Productions we hired choreographers, directors and producers from West End and Broadway. So our shows, which have had a complete facelift, are even more desirable for performers,” Griffiths explained.

Depending on what ship performers are assigned to, they could be dancing to the spicy sounds of Latin Nights, complete with the fusion music of Gloria Estefan, Enrique Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez, Santana and Shakira, or performing the larger-than-life personalities in Divas, featuring a captivating mix of music, fashion and dance with hits from Beyoncé, Celine, Cher, Madonna and Whitney. Performers could learn the R&B Motown sound of the 1960s and ‘70s in Motor City or the fun and swingin’ across-the-pond favourites in The Brits!. Other shows include the groovy Heart of Soul, the anything-but-square Getaway Island, the arena-shaking sounds of Epic Rock, the piano-pounding 88 Keys, the high-energy 80s Pop to the Max, plus the funky and sophisticated Studio VIP.


Carnival performs ‘Divas.’

Since there is so much variety for Playlist Productions, it’s understandable Carnival holds the bar high for performers. Do you think you have what it takes? 

Griffiths, who will be leading the Australian auditions, said all positions require “a triple-threat performer, someone who can sing, dance and are strong character performers.” Whereas Carnival used to hire just dancers and just singers, they now hire “singers that dance and dancers that sing.” Since the cast size has been reduced, each performer has to really have it all.

“They have to have great stage presence, preferably with former professional experience, although some that come straight from college or training obviously have the ability and are often great candidates,” Griffiths noted. He said dancers must have training in ballet, jazz, contemporary and hip-hop. Any ballroom or Latin training, aerial work or acrobatics experience is a plus.

For the auditions, singers and dancers need to come prepared. “We request our singers prepare two vocal selections that best display their vocal abilities and their highest range,” said Griffiths. “Dancers should also prepare a solo to sing for us.”

The audition will likely start with a dance combination and then work its way to singing, Griffiths noted. As the audition progresses, cuts will be made. When asked how performers can standout at the auditions, he recommended that they be prepared and confident in their abilities.

Studio VIP

Carnival presents ‘Studio VIP’ . Photo by Andy Newman.

“What I always say to people who come to audition for us is that the best thing they can do is come prepared – have your music memorized and be ready to go. That way when you walk in, you can relax,” he said. “You should approach an audition like you already got the job and this is just the first day of rehearsals. Obviously avoid coming off arrogant, but still, be confident! Let yourself go and enjoy what you’re doing! That always shines through!”

If chosen, performers can expect to be assigned to one of Carnival’s ships within the next year. The Carnival fleet has voyages to the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, New England, Mexico, Europe and around Australia.

“I think the great thing about working on a cruise ship in general is that you get to visit many ports of call. Often if you take a land job, you are in that one place for the duration of that contract. Whereas working on Carnival, you are on a floating island, so to speak. You go from port to port. And travel is so fun!” said Griffiths, who personally toured as a dancer on Carnival for five years to various destinations.

Another benefit he pointed out that many performers might not realize is the community that comes with Carnival. “Our performers usually become very close-knit because they’re performing or rehearsing day in and day out, living in close quarters, eating at the same restaurants and socializing in the same areas,” he added.

Plus, what entertainer doesn’t love performing a show to an eager audience? Cruise ships are full of them because guests are on vacation and ready to have a good time.

“Working on a cruise ship is such a great opportunity. You perform to captive audiences every night. You get instant feedback from the cruise guests and they are always very complementary of the shows,” Griffiths pointed out.

Don’t miss your chance to join this elite group of dancers and singers who get to live the dream and see the world! Carnival’s 2015 Australian Audition Tour will be in Melbourne on July 15, Brisbane on July 17 and Sydney on July 20-21. For requirements and more information, go to

By Chelsea Thomas of Dance Informa.

Photo (top): Performers with Carnival Cruise Lines in Epic Rock. Photo by Gustav Neumann.

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