Cruising the Islands

The Hawaiian Serenaders

We filled in for a couple we met as part of the Humu cadre of entertainers for 2 of the 4 weeks they were on vacation from working onboard the MV Pride of Aloha during two 1-week cruises around the Hawaiian Islands from January 22 – February 4, 2005. The plus side was having passenger status which meant we could eat in any guest dining room, use guest recreational facilities, see any show, and go on any shore excursion for free if space available. The down side was we lived in cramped crew quarters which meant having noisy neighbors (young crew party all night) and the room was so narrow Rich’s upright bass just barely fit it inside the door.

We strolled 4 restaurants on the 5th, 11th, and 12th decks during dinner hours of 6-9pm. The first week we worked 7 nights straight, with the last night being in a smoky lounge for 2 hours. The second week we worked 5 nights straight. We met some nice people including a group of friends who were generous when we sang for them on Mele’s birthday. Keeping our balance while standing, singing, and playing music as the ship was moving was a challenge!

We sang for the ship’s Captain David Turner for his birthday and he later commented that he hoped to see us back onboard again. “You’re too sophisticated to be playing in a lounge.” – one of many passenger comments.

(Photo taken by ship’s photographer in 2005)

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Mele Fong is a professional singer, song arranger, and master of multiple strumming styles for the 'ukulele. She is an experienced educator with over 50+ years experience playing the 'ukulele and entertaining worldwide. Mele performs with her husband in the duo "The Hawaiian Serenaders" and leads student groups. In 1996, the duo represented the State of Hawai'i in concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Mele and her husband Richard Tom were both born and raised on Oahu and now reside in Maui.