Northern grad explores the world as Carnival Cruise Line performer

NSU alumnus playing a saxophone

ABERDEEN, S.D. – Growing up in Mobridge, Steven Zimoski was really ambitious – he knew he wanted to travel the world someday, he just didn’t know how it was going to happen.

For Zimoski, a 2014 Northern State University graduate, it happened thanks to his career as a music manager and saxophone player for Carnival Cruise Line.

Through his job, Zimoski has gotten to explore locations around the United States – including New York City, Miami and Los Angeles – as well as around the world, mainly the Caribbean.

“It’s just great to see other cultures and explore,” said Zimoski, who earned a Bachelor of Arts with minors in business and entrepreneurial studies.

Another good reason to work for Carnival, he said, is getting to perform nightly.

“It’s great to have Carnival as a company to work with because they give me a stage every night to perform,” he said. “I don’t know anywhere else you can get any music gig – unless you’re on Broadway, Las Vegas, or in the recording scene in Los Angeles – where they give you a stage every night and you reach so many people. It’s a real benefit of the job.”

Right now performing is the main part of the job for Zimoski, a saxophone player, though he also oversees a team of 16 musicians on the Carnival Sunrise. This innovative ship recently set sail after massive renovations that upgraded food, beverage and entertainment offerings – while the ship was in its dry dock, Zimoski said he got to spend four days exploring Spain.

Opportunity Happened Fast

Zimoski has worked with Carnival for almost four years. He learned of the opportunity through a friend, submitting an online audition and doing a recorded interview. Then he got the call, asking: Are you available next week?

“It happened really fast,” he said.

Prior to this job, he’d never considered working for a cruise line, but only because he didn’t know much about the career. Now, he loves it – both because he is able to perform every night and also because of the high-caliber musicians he works with.

“I’ve met some great people from all around the world,” he said.

Professor Taught Pattern of Success

At Northern, Zimoski studied under saxophone instructor Fritz Hemke, and through him he had a lot of opportunities and made a lot of connections.

“He’s a very professional musician who knows the industry inside and out. He really taught me the pattern of success, that is do something slowly and repeatedly until you get good at it, and then repeat,” Zimoski said. “I can apply that principle to nearly every aspect of my life. He just really taught me to focus on one thing and do it every day. My advice is: Work hard and see where it takes you. Someone’s always going to notice if you work hard. So just give it all you got. It’s like my professor said, ‘It’s when preparation meets opportunity.’ So prepare, prepare, prepare. And then someday that opportunity will come and you just take it.” 

To learn more about working for Carnival Cruise Line, visit Carnival Entertainment. To learn more about studying fine arts at Northern, visit the NSU School of Fine Arts.

About Northern State University

Northern State University is a regional university that offers outstanding academics and exceptional extracurricular activities at an affordable price on a safe, welcoming campus. Northern State recently announced its Educational Impact Campaign, with a goal of raising $55 million for a new South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, new athletic and recreation fields, and an on-campus regional sports complex. Once the campaign is complete, NSU will be the recipient of more than $100 million in privately funded building projects and scholarships within a decade. To learn more, visit NSU Admissions