The International Writers Magazine: Ocean Singer
Singin' on the Love Boat
Charles E J Moulton
The M/S Arkona used to be the filming location of the German version of “Love Boat”. It was the Traumschiff, the Dream Boat. Furthermore, this ship was the home of several rich people.
One man had been there 13 times. His joy in hearing us perform Elton John, ABBA- and The Four Tops -songs on the deck was so grand that he jumped into the pool with clothes on during “Crocodile Rock”. A rich widow had been on the ship fifty times.
||The cruise liner was my address for six months. My job was to sing and act in seven shows, performing 150 songs and playing seven roles in the ship’s theatre. I had the joy of planning my own shows in the ship’s bars and while I was at it I also saw the world. It was a fantastic time. It was a turbulent time. A relationship ended during a ship wreck. The motor caught fire and the ship had to be pulled in and repaired in Barcelona.
I had a hard time dealing with this ship wreck of my own life while on land in my own flat in Hamburg. Nevertheless, the hot tears that I cried were actually a sea that made me set sail to meet my new wife beyond the horizons of the world back in Germany.
I got to see the Atlantic ocean. This wonderful experience was unforgottable. Below us 15 000 feet of water, over us only stars, one ship on the horizon, the moon a silver disc at one a.m. I had just finished a show. My relationship was over. My soul was aching. And yet, this was the most precious moment of my life. So much beauty.
I have been a performer since I was eleven. Now, in 2011, I have performed in 85 productions, sang 300 concerts, written countless articles and made seven movies. But actually seeing three continents while performing was a blessing.
I got on board in September of 2001. The planes had just crashed into the World Trade Center and two weeks later I set sail. Barcelona gave way to Cannes, Naples and Sicily shook hands with Croatia and Malta, Tunisia gave way to Greece and Turkey. After the ship wreck we flew to Rio for four days. I got severly sunburned on the Copacabana. My day climbing the Sugar Loaf Mountain was spectacular. My mother, Gun Kronzell kept all my emails from my trip and my dad Herbert Moulton was proud to say that his Hamburger son was cruising the seas.
In Kingston, St. Vincent, a very nice Rastafari man showed me the Botanical Gardens. There a tree had been planted by the actual Captain Bligh of the Bounty and was still standing. I was later impressed to hear that the film Pirates of the Caribbean had been filmed here. A footnote to this story is that Johnny Depp, the star of the movie, had already seen me as Koukol in the musical “Dance of the Vampires” in Vienna three years earlier.
A memorable experience was laying on the beach among turban-wearing, champagne-sipping rich ladies in Cannes. I walked the beach of the original Carthage, sipped a cocktail named “As Time Goes By” at the recreated Hyatt Bar of Casablanca. I bought a carpet in Morocco from a man that was reduced five hundred dollars for me to buy it, just so that he could feed his family during Ramadan. I saw a free climber in Rio. I received a marriage offer from a woman with four children in Fortaleza, Brazil. I got mugged in Rio. I ate original Maltese food and drank port wine in Madeira. I tire rafted in Corfu. I saw the Sistene Chapel and almost came late to the cruise ship with an Italian Taxi. I took a trip down the Indian River in Dominica and was offered white stuff in Antigua.
One wonderful event took place in the idyllic Brazlian town of Salvador de Bahia. True to my fashion, I had spent too much money and could not pay a restaurant bill. The waiter and I searched the banks in order to withdraw money with a European bank card. We succeeded and promptly I invited him for a drink as a thank you. He spoke only Portugese. With my English and a bit French and Italian, we did well with sign language. He was a father of a daughter and I was a singer on a boat. We needed no language. We did well anyway. Lingustic capabilities were superfluous.
All in all, this trip was the memory of a life time. After coming on shore again I was ready to join the audition circuit again. It led to my work in “The Lion King” and to meeting my future wife, with which I now have a beautiful five year old daughter.
If you do go on a cruise, you will probably not have as wild a time as I did. However, I can recommend it if you had the money. I got to work on a cruise ship. If you have the money to travel I can recommend an ocean cruise with South American trips.
It is unforgettable.
The moon over the Atlantic is the most fabulous thing you can witness.
If you lost your sense of direction, you will find it on the Atlantic.
Why? Because God lives there.
The cruise ship M/S Arkona showed me that.
© Charles Moulton September 2011
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