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17th June, 2012

At sea by Andy Law

In a change to our regular Captains' blogs, today we find out about a day in the life of Saga Sapphire's resident pianist Andy Law.

My name is Andy Law and I am the resident cocktail pianist on-board Saga Sapphire on a voyage to the North Cape. As we are at sea and today being Sunday I will be playing for the church service and so my working day today began at 9am with a trip to the office to pick up the hymn sheets.

The company very kindly recently bought an electronic organ for use on board the ship. I spotted it in a charity shop in Southampton and when it was delivered to the ship the security guard's face was a picture when the delivery man turned up and said he was delivering an organ from the British Heart Foundation!

The service is taken by Captain Rentell and is well attended and goes swimmingly. The captain always chooses rousing hymns finishing with Cwm Rhondda and it was great to play the organ as it was the first instrument I learned.

We are travelling through some incredibly beautiful scenery on this cruise and the weather is glorious, so it's time for a coffee on Verandah deck and a chat with the guests.

At lunchtime I am playing the Yamaha grand piano in the drawing room which is a really nice room to relax in at any time of the day. I play some light classics, jazz standards and songs from the musicals. The room is quite busy and people are happily chatting, reading or taking in the passing scenery. People tell me my music is very soothing, I have to say that I don't send anyone to sleep with my music but I certainly don't wake anybody up!

After a lovely BBQ lunch out on the veranda with some of the entertainers and lecturers, it's back to the cabin to work on a power point presentation for a sing-along that we are having in a few days. At three o'clock the captain makes an announcement and we cross over the Arctic Circle so it’s all outside for photos.

I am playing for Afternoon Tea today at 4.15pm in the Britannia lounge. I normally play the piano but today it is a tea dance so I shall be playing our multi-purpose organ.

Then it's down to the office again to check with Assistant Cruise Director Kayleigh, in what order we are doing the dances today. There is usually a selection of ballroom, sequence and Latin American. We have a few couples up dancing to the usual dances, the Quickstep, Foxtrot, Waltz and even the Gay Gordon. Five minutes before the end of the session there is an announcement that we are in the vicinity of a receding glacier so everyone heads out once more for pictures and what a beautiful sight it was!

A rest and a cuppa follows before heading to Cooper's bar to play the piano at 6.30pm for cocktail hour. The piano faces the window in Cooper's bar and I feel I am very lucky to be able to do something I love like playing music and have such a beautiful view as well. The Captain joins us with some table guests for a short while.

7.30pm is time for dinner and a quick break before it's back up to the drawing room to catch the cabaret with Geoff Taylor, a great singer who is doing a Neil Diamond tribute. The place is packed and he is going down a storm.

I am back in Cooper's bar at 10.30pm for another session. I play some up tempo standards and a few sing-along tunes, the bar is quiet but there are still a few in till about midnight. There is also a musical duo on-board and we alternate between Cooper's bar and the Drawing Room.

After finishing in the bar I go for a practice in the Britannia lounge, they have a fantastic Steinway piano so I practice on it most nights as there are no cabins above or below. I am currently working on the Warsaw Concerto, which is a handful! I am also wrestling with Mozart's fantasy in d minor and I think so far Mozart is winning.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.