Equipment for drummers on cruise ships.

Here’s a quick post about what’s provided and what you’re expected to bring when embarking on a contract as a drummer with Royal Caribbean.


Full backline is provided so don’t worry if you’re coming from the other side of the world. On most of the ships it’s Yamaha Maple Custom drums (sizing varying based on the stage) but some of the newer ships have DW on them I believe.


On my first contract I was playing drums in the jazz quartet on board “The Allure of the Seas” where I was playing with non amplified instruments and accompanying a singer. This meant I wasn’t stressed about breaking any sticks. In fact I only brought 2 pairs of sticks to use for the entire six months. (Keep in mind I was playing every single day). In the end I actually broke a stick trying to be a real showman and bounce my stick off the ground back into my hands….in the end it literally broke as I threw it to the ground (I looked super badass….).

As for playing drums in the orchestra, packing a lot of pairs is a must! I actually only packed 6 pairs this time and I am chewing threw them fast. It’s not cause they are breaking on me but the wood is chipping so much that the weight of the sticks becomes uneven and less rewarding to use than a nice new pair. The headliners big band and production shows all require a strong driving groove to set the rest of the band up, so it’s essential you have your groove down and your spare sticks ready to go.


The ships actually provide cymbals for all the drum sets and it’s up to you whether you bring your own or not. When playing in the quartet I brought my cymbals so I could get the feel and tone I wanted out of them which would support the music appropriately. This time round I didn’t bring mine and instead brought my midi controller (travelling space decisions) as I figured I won’t be as exposed like I was in the quartet. In other words playing on a big stage where the focus is on driving and leading the band rather than support singers with your ride pattern.


I use my Shure 215’s in the orchestra/productions shows and would highly recommend you bring your pair along. It’s totally acceptable to where cans or whatever headphones get the job done though. I’ve tried a couple and the in ears allow me to be more comfortable on stage and focus on the job at hand rather than the signal in my ears.


Quartet gig: Bring your own cymbals and good quality brushes (and a spare pair) plus all the other goodies you like to use.

Orchestra: Bring a lot of sticks (10 pairs or more), brushes mallets and cymbals if you want to but not required!

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