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Columns > Annabel Lukins - Both Sides of the Rail

Published: 2010/01/28
by Annabel Lukins

Postcards from Julie McCoy

Hi my name is Julie McCoy and I’ll be your cruise director on board the MSC Poesia and Jam Cruise 8.

After 7 years and 8 cruises, it still boggles my mind that this is my job. But after 7 years and 8 cruises, it still boggles my mind how HARD my job is and how working my butt off close to 20 hours a day for 5 days is exhausting.

One of the best parts of my job is knowing how HAPPY our passengers are. Jam Cruise is like a warm cup of soup: it comforts you and fills you up. And there’s nothing like it.

Jam Cruise is a piece of reality that people NEED, not just something that they WANT. In the current state of the nation, it’s a testament to our event that we sold out for the 8th time. People look at Jam Cruise as an escape from the pressures of every day living. It’s a chance to freely let loose, see as much music as they want, get some sun of their faces and form lifelong friendships that are strengthened on board. But Jam Cruise isn’t REALLY an escape from reality. Jam Cruise IS a reality, just an alternative one.

Jam Cruise changes lives forever and our musicians are profoundly affected by the experience. Just ask Maceo Parker who was able to let go of his norm and “jam” with many bands. Just ask Karl Denson or Galactic who have never missed a cruise. Just Ivan Neville who plans his next onboard project with me a year in advance.

A lot of my time on board is spent making sure the musicians are happy, call it artist relations, call them my friends…whatever works. All I know is it makes me feel good knowing they are a part of Jam Cruise and also a part of my life. They enrich me in ways unimaginable. Here are some of my favorite moments from Jam Cruise 8.

I couldn’t help starting off with this photo because our passengers are SO creative. Not only do they feel normal showing up in homemade Jam cruise robes, but they plan their theme night outfits all year long. It’s a circus, I tell ya!

Night one…Robert calls me his big sister and I couldn’t be more thrilled to hear that. Not only have I been there with him since Day 1 back in 2000, but I’ve begging him to come on board for years. He had an incredible time and told everyone that if I want, he’ll come back every year….um, OK!

The Word played on Jam Cruise….yes, the Word played on Jam Cruise. It was a multi-year effort to make it happen, but BOY was it worth it. Can I get a witness?!

Talk about a power trio, Karl, Maceo & Jeff performed in the best workshop we’ve ever had on board, called Sax Syntax.

Late night Logic, Robert & I spent time just chilling out. I love that on Jam Cruise, musicians who might get to see each other every few months for 10 minutes or so, actually get days together.

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