Cruise Ship Arrangements

Cruise Ship Charts

We write original cruise ship arrangements just for you – we don’t have a catalogue to resell.
You know that you’re getting exactly your version in your key and for the instruments you know you’ll need.

Clearly Written Music:

We take great pride in the fact that our charts are clearly notated, making them easier to read and play and saving rehearsal time. This is particularly important on a cruise ship where the standard of musicians can vary widely.
Take a look at the example on the left – “Brave”.
The click track is clearly notated (in all parts) as the first bar and the cues are written on the Musical Director’s part, as well as the vocal line, making it simple to direct the band and avoid any errors.

This particular arrangement for cruise ship band uses a click-track and recorded material as well as specifically arranged parts for the live musicians.
You can listen to the arrangement (minus live horns) below:


Great Sounding Charts:


The audio here was taken from a desk mix of a live show – it’s a combination of pre-recorded instruments (real and virtual instruments)  and live musicians on stage playing to a click.
The recorded material is precisely the same tempo as the original Sinatra recording throughout making the new track as about as authentic as you possibly get.


Cruise Ship Click Tracks:

This audio example is taken from an album we produced but we also provided a version with a click-track, without the rhythm section as well as all printed arrangements and additional parts for the live horns in a cruise ship band.


Tips for Choosing Cruise Ship Arrangements:

  1. Does it look neat?
    Even if you don’t read music, you can tell if the writing is neat or not. As a pianist I’ve seen many charts where the ink clashes all over the place and it’s very difficult to see what you’re looking at.
  2. Is there enough information on the chart?
    The best place to start is the piano/MD arrangement. This should have enough information to direct the band – so things that you should look for are tempo markings (and style/rhythm), the vocal line (just in case things go wrong!), important entries of other instruments and cued notes for any missing instruments.
  3. Is it the right key?
    This isn’t just about making sure the arrangement is the correct key for your voice but if you sound best in B major the chances are most cruise ship bands aren’t going to appreciate reading in that key (or be able to!). Bb or C would be much better choices.
    A good example of this is “Come Fly With Me” by Frank Sinatra, which is in B major. Every time I’ve played this chart it’s been in Bb.
  4. Hear the arrangement
    You should always be able to hear an audio export of your arrangement. Don’t expect it to sound like a band or orchestra but it should be good enough to check all the notes and in particular, the horns and woodwind, which can be tricky to arrange. Do bare in mind that some parts such as guitar chords or sections of piano may be missing because notation programs don’t read musical shorthand (improvisation) that musicians tend to like to read.
  5. Be wary of prices too good to be true.
    I’ve seen many cheap (and free) band arrangements and more often than not, they’re awful – but some do look nice!
    I recently arranged a large quantity of big band charts for a vocalist and to save time he bought some cheap arrangements.
    It seemed like a good idea but they were so wrong that I just had to start at the beginning and transcribe everything from scratch.
    I’ve also been on gigs where the arrangement was a cheap version and there was just no information in the piano part to direct the band – simply a bunch of chords, with no tempo marks.