NurseCon at Sea Cruise Ship DJ Gig 2023
By DJ Cam Reeve
In everyone's career, there are surely a few bucket list items they would like to cross off or places they would visit if things were to go well. In 2013, I went on a cruise where they had a cruise ship DJ. During that cruise, I went to every event with the cruise DJs. At the time, DJing was very fresh on my mind and I tried so hard to convince the DJs on board to let me jump behind the decks. As you can imagine, nothing ever came of it. It was at this moment, I think, that I created the bucket list item to DJ on a cruise ship.
Around 2018, after being in the DJ business for a few years, I did some research and found that cruise ship DJs usually had a 6-month contract and the pay was, let’s say, less than ideal. You also had to be on that boat for a large amount of time. Having a family to look after, I decided that it would not be the best idea to pursue things.
Fast forward to January 2023. You can only imagine my surprise when I received a call from a colleague, DJ Matty Mo, who was looking for some help. He wanted me to DJ alongside him as an assistant on a cruise ship for a one-week conference, an event titled ‘Nurse Con at Sea 2023.’
What is Nurse Con at Sea? It’s a conference for nurses, with education, meetups, parties, and of course good vibes. Nurse Con is fairly new at sea, with 2022 being its first year in existence. Matty and I, on the other hand, performed at the 3rd Nurse Con at Sea. Our specific sailing took place on ‘FREEDOM OF THE SEAS', part of the Royal Caribbean fleet. We set sail from the port of Miami on April 24th to return on April 28th.
During our voyage, the schedule on the Freedom of the Seas looked a little like this:
DAY 1 | MON, APR 24, 2023 | MIAMI, FL
DAY 2 | TUE, APR 25, 2023 | PERFECT DAY AT COCO CAY
DAY 3 | WED, APR 26, 2023 | FUN-FILLED DAY AT SEA
DAY 4 | THU, APR 27, 2023 | NASSAU, BAHAMAS
DAY 5 | FRI, APR 28, 2023 | MIAMI, FL
But now it’s time to get into the details. Our week started pretty simply. We flew to Miami on April 22nd to attend the staff meeting where we were briefed on staff etiquette and introduced to all the incredible people we would be working with.
Monday came around and our day started early, arriving at the port at 9:30 am to board the ship. As DJs, we were there to set the tone for the week. Our first set started at the promenade, the central hub of the ship where many of the shops and restaurants are located. Matty and I tag-teamed this location, creating a vibe for the nurses as they checked in and signed the “Nurse Con at Sea” welcome banner.
We then found ourselves at the opening ceremony where Matty would take the lead during the Sail Away party! This event included an incredible dance party on the pool deck as we left port. I wish I could explain the energy everyone felt at this first party! So many nurses from around the world on one boat, ready to have a good time! After the sail away party, I DJed in the Ultra Lounge. This was only one of the many afterparties going on the first night. My set stretched into the night, finishing up at 1:30 am!
Day two started with some well-deserved sleep because we didn’t need to be anywhere till the later afternoon. This didn’t mean we had the day to relax - we had our work cut out for us later! Myself and Matty started our day tag-team DJing the onboard “Nurse Feud”. If you have ever watched family feud, you can imagine what it was like. The best part is that this gameshow was tailored specifically to Nurses!
After Nurse Feud, DJ Matty DJed one of the largest parties of the week - The Gatsby party! This was a roaring 20s vibe mixed with fresh beats and popular songs. They had Nurse Blake along with an incredible dance group drop from the ceiling onto a bridge along with an epic balloon drop. Make sure you check out the photos below to get a glimpse of it!
If I’m being honest, day 3 has to be one of my favorites. I took over the pool earlier in the day before being a part of the pool deck games with the activities committee. I played a mix of afro beats, tropical house, country, alternative rock, and even a few hip-hop songs. It was a blast! I had a few people come to ask for my business card and a few people even shared their love for the tunes I was playing by getting a photo with me after my set! Later that evening, Matty and I tag-teamed the Ultimate Skills Checkoff. This was a super fun, high-energy game where teams put their nursing skills to the test.
My favorite party of the week took place after Ultimate Skills. Matty started the PJ Pool Party off at 10:00 pm, playing a mix of great music until 1 am. Then, I DJed until 2:15 am! Matty played a fun open-format set with hip-hop, pop, and throwbacks. When I jumped on, I went straight into some tech house, dubstep, bass house, and 2010s house vibes. What an incredible night! I can truly say that hour was one of my favorites. So many people came up to me who were enjoying the set. I had a few who had just returned from Coachella come and tell me how incredible it was and that “I was speaking their language”. Whatever the case may be, I really enjoyed myself and can say that night is probably one of the top 10 of my career.
The last day on the boat was relatively chill. The boat was at the port of Nassau, Bahamas, and I spent some time with Matty and Lauren on the beach. After, I returned to the ship and spent the afternoon at Flow Surf near the back of the boat. Prior to this, I really had not had the chance to do much or explore the ship because I was so focused on preparing for my sets. Later in the evening, around 7:00 pm, Matty DJed the costume contest. Following that, he DJed the “Glow Party” for the rest of the night. I had a blast with him on stage and found myself dancing and singing along with Matty and all the nurses. I must have danced for 4 hours! The day after my voice was gone and my legs were sore.
I can’t say enough good things about the trip. I’m honored that Matty would invite me along and that the Nurse Con crew and staff would let me be a part of something so unique and fun! I never thought I would get the chance to be a cruise ship DJ. This week was a blast and I can’t give enough thanks to Nurse Blake for the hospitality.