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Welcome to the first post on my new blog, created specially to record my time on the P&O ship Azura.

I will be joining the team of performers who will be working onboard for rehearsals in January in London – two months from today. We will then rehearse for two months here in the UK, before relocating to Venice (where the Azura is currently under construction in the Monfalcone shipyard) for a further month of rehearsals.

The Azura’s maiden voyage is in April 2010, from Southampton – and then we will be cruising throughout the year, until my contract ends in October. Obviously the ship carries on cruising even if I don’t!
I’m looking forward to working on such an exciting project – especially as the ship is new, the shows are new, the theatre is new – it’s all new! Onboard is an 800-seater theatre – the Playhouse, where we will be performing most of the shows. A cast of 14 will be involved in a number of different productions, including musical theatre, swing, motown amongst others. Lots of work, lots to learn – but a great challenge.

I’ll also get the chance to see some amazing places – most of which I’ve never been to before. Ports around the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands, Europe, the Baltic… a fair few “photo opportunities” there I imagine! And as we visit some of the ports a number of times over the 6 months, it will give me a chance to get to know them a littler better, rather than just a single fleeting visit.

You can check out all the cruise details via my ‘P&O Azura’ News page and check back here for all the buzz. There may not be much for the time being until I actually ‘get going’ – but keep your eye out!

Stephen Weller

So, what do you think ?