Customer Reviews


167 Reviews
5 star:
 (58)
4 star:
 (47)
3 star:
 (19)
2 star:
 (19)
1 star:
 (24)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


109 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL
I don't intend to write a review rehashing the storyline or details; the official commentary on this site is pretty accurate. Cruise Confidential is a bit of an expose', but, unlike Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, I did not infer any personal malice towards the industry nor its people. Enyoyable for most everyone, but anyone who has ever been on a cruise will...
Published on August 7, 2008 by J. L. Floyd

versus
63 of 70 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An exercise in egotism
This book was like a really bad, cheesy movie -- I hated it, was but fascinated to see just how bad it would get. In that sense, I wasn't disappointed.

There was really scant insight into the life onboard a cruise ship, beyond the very limited scope of a small slice of the food service sector. And even then, it was almost entirely the authors myopic and...
Published on May 3, 2009 by Eric T. Webber


‹ Previous | 1 217 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

109 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL, August 7, 2008
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I don't intend to write a review rehashing the storyline or details; the official commentary on this site is pretty accurate. Cruise Confidential is a bit of an expose', but, unlike Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, I did not infer any personal malice towards the industry nor its people. Enyoyable for most everyone, but anyone who has ever been on a cruise will best appreciate Bruns' story, not only of the long hours and hard work, but of the nature of relationships in the very special community made up of service workers on a large cruise liner.

This book does deserve special comment, because I am pretty sure that it is largely nonfiction, and it will fill an heretofore vacant niche in travel literature.

In my mind, a good book must satisfy three criteria. First it must be easy to read, second it must be a good story, and lastly it must somehow leave you changed for the better. Cruise Confidential hits the mark on all three criteria.

First, Bruns' writing style is natural and unstrained. I have read too many books during which I feel as if I am working at cross currents to the writing just to get at the story. Here the writing carries you easily along, and you can relax and float (this is about ships after all) along through the challenges, tribulations, and victories of his first year working in service for Carnival.

Second, it is certainly a good story, written in the first person. I started this book and stayed up much later than I should have to finish it. I haven't done that in a long time, and that speaks for all those qualities of writing and subject that combine keep you from setting it aside to finish later.

Lastly, though not a philosophical treatise, if you have ever cruised a large ship, ever plan to do so, or perhaps if you just watch cruising on the Travel Channel, this will substantially change how you view the service staff that appear, seemingly from nowhere, to take care of the customers' needs and otherwise are completely invisible for the rest of the cruise.

I was feeling a bit down as I came to the final pages, wanting the story to continue to his next career phase, but on that very last page Bruns suggest that more of this adventure may follow.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


63 of 70 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An exercise in egotism, May 3, 2009
This book was like a really bad, cheesy movie -- I hated it, was but fascinated to see just how bad it would get. In that sense, I wasn't disappointed.

There was really scant insight into the life onboard a cruise ship, beyond the very limited scope of a small slice of the food service sector. And even then, it was almost entirely the authors myopic and misogynistic take on his personal life. Over and over and over he tells us how every female on the ship, crew and passengers alike, wants to sleep with him and how drunk he can get. Really, that's a god portion of the book. Then he throws in reference after reference to how good looking he is (...I was in truly remarkable shape....)

The biggest problem, though, is that many of his stories are of questionable authenticity. He recounts casual conversations in mind-numbing detail. That's a level of recall that is frankly hard to believe. OK, chalk those up to literary license. But on more than one occasion he gives us dubious recollections that go far beyond that. For example, he draws out a story of waking up drunk and not knowing where he is or how he got there. He can't remember how the evening started or anything about the end of it, including the person sleeping next to him. And yet he then goes on to describe, in exacting detail, an incident that happened in the middle of the drunken binge. Make that excruciating detail, of some impressive (to him) physical feat. It's hard not to think that many of the anecdotes were the way he wanted to remember them, not necessarily how they really were.

And beware the exclamation point. The author loves them. And I mean loves them!!! Five sentences in a row at one point. All part of him being very impressed with himself. That, and an odd habit of replacing the word God with Cat. As in, for Cat's sake, pick another book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, informative book--and very funny, July 26, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you've cruised before, are booked on a cruise, thinking about booking a cruise, or just wondered what it would be like to work on a cruise ship, please read this book. It's an easy read and very entertaining--but sad in a way. I couldn't help but focus on the lives of people who work under the described conditions. It certainly makes you stop and think how lucky we Americans are, no matter where we are on the social ladder. Brian's description of the work days, policies and politics on board made me shiver. I give him and everyone else credit for working under such conditions while giving such incredible service to the cruise guests, some of whom can be very obnoxious. I've always been a good tipper, but, boy, will I be a better one after reading this book. And, I've always enjoyed the smiles and great service of the crew, but now I'll realize how hard it is for them to do it. Only Brian could bring all of the hardships to life in such a funny, entertaining way! You laugh your way through the pages while you read, and then feel sad for the employees when you put the book down and think about it. Read it for the sheer joy of a good laugh and tip away when you get on that cruise!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cruisings 'Other Side'...WOW!!!, October 18, 2009
By 
Judy A. Harbaugh (Henderson, Nevada United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
WOW! What an eye opener! Cruising is our family favorite vacation so we sail whenever the budget allows. Over the years, we have 'heard' the stories of cruise employee pay, living arrangements/conditions, and hours spent serving the passengers. But, I can honestly say, after reading this book, I look at cruising in a whole different light.

The book was hard to put down. It was well written, with a good sense of humor in all the right places, and an easy style. I now have a whole new appreciation of the thousands of employees of the cruise industry that make my choice of vacations as enjoyable as they have been. I would recommend this book to any current & future cruise ship passenger. Especially those passengers that aren't as appreciative towards the ship's crew as they should be....and I have noticed far too many of those over the years. If you love cruising, this book is for you. The author offers great insight & a good story. Like I mentioned above, it will give you a whole new appreciation towards the cruise industry.....positive & negitive
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing, November 24, 2012
By 
Paul (Burke, VA United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Cruise Confidential: A Hit Below the Waterline: Where the Crew Lives, Eats, Wars, and Parties -- One Crazy Year Working on (Travelers' Tales) (Kindle Edition)
I had high hopes for "Cruise Confidential," but was very disappointed. My wife and I love to cruise, I and was expecting "Cruise Confidential" to provide some good detail about how a cruise ship runs behind the scenes. Unfortunately, I was only able to read about half the book before giving up on my expectations.

I can summarize what this book was actually about in three sentences:

1. The ship's crew is very horny and, at every possible opportunity, drinks and fornicates.

2. The author is a very personable and good looking guy, and female crew members and passengers are hitting on him all the time, but he always resists temptation out of loyalty to his girl friend.

3. Repeat sentences one and two ad nauseum.

Well, perhaps the last half of the book was different or better. But I couldn't stand the content (or the repetition) in the first half of the book, so I gave up reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life on board is far from what you'd expect it to be..., August 10, 2008
This book wasn't on my radar screen until I happened to see a Twitter message referring to it. After looking it up on Amazon, I knew I had to read it... Cruise Confidential: A Hit Below the Waterline: Where the Crew Lives, Eats, Wars, and Parties. One Crazy Year Working on Cruise Ships by Brian David Bruns. My wife and I cruise quite often on vacations, so the chance to see some "behind the scenes" views of how the crew lives is always interesting to me on a number of levels. After whipping through this in about 24 hours (thank you, Mr. Insomnia!), I was all ready to go on our March cruise and view the experience in a different light.

Contents:
Part 1 - Trainee (The Plunge): Strange Bedfellows; Global Warning; Under the Water; Denizens of Babel; Nobody Parties Like Sailors; The Midnight Bahamian Toga Bash; Ship Life 101; Creepy Conch Fritters; Graduation; The End of the Beginning
Part 2 - Waiter (Promotion): My First, and Only, Clingy Lingerie Model; Pancake Darwinism; The Crew Bar; My Heart Will Go On; The Infamous Filipino Elvis Massacre; Great Whites; Dining on Ashes; The Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Assumption; Stripping in the Dining Room
Part 3 - Assistant Maitre d' (Demotion): Bogo; Enemy Mine; The Other Sexy Bitch; Tattoo Goo; The Torture of Funship Freddy; Hunger Pains; Viral Infections and You; Something Sweet at Midnight; Showdown and Breakdown; Jamaican Deep Blue
Part 4 - The Legend (Destruction): How to Fix an American; Legend; Tongs over Escalators; Frog and Onion; Ice Pirates; The Boatyard; Lost in Panama; The Four Temptations of the Apocalypse; Toast Master General; The Suicide; The Miracle; Epilogue
Part 5 - Appendices: Glossary of Ship Language; Provisions for a Cruise; Stupid Questions
About the Author

I've read and researched enough to know that working on a cruise ship is not at all the glamorous career depicted in ads. You work seven days a week, at least 12 to 14 hours a day, live in really small cabins, and don't make very much money (all things considered). This is why you mostly see nationalities other than Americans working the ships. These wages are often quite a bit higher than what they could earn back home. Bruns tells his story of being the first American in Carnival's history to serve out a full contract in food services without quitting, transferring, or getting fired. He got used to the phrase "are you stupid or crazy?" being asked by most of his coworkers. :)

Bruns got assigned to Carnival's Conquest as he wanted to be with his girlfriend who also worked for Carnival. Very few believed he was actually going into food service because he was an American, and Americans couldn't do that job without cracking. He was determined to prove them wrong over his eight month contract, knowing that he had been "promised" a promotion to management and the assistant maitre d' position by the end of the assignment. But what's promised and what actually happens can be two different things. His relationship with his girlfriend was rocky at best on the ship, as they were both working 14 to 16 hour days, and she was hanging around with fellow Romanians during the off-hours. Bruns was still in love with her, and was determined not to fall into the trap of sleeping with any and all the attractive women coworkers, even though the opportunity was there on a daily basis. After she transferred to another ship, he had to decide whether his career as a cruise worker was worth the trouble of trying to maintain a long-term relationship, especially given the discrimination he faced from fellow workers when it came to stereotypes and perceptions. Surprisingly, he stuck it out and ended up in a situation far better than he would have hoped for.

Bruns is an excellent writer who is able to show you raw emotions and the nasty underbelly of what goes on. It's not meant to be an expose so much as a personal story of what he went through and what he learned in the process. It's hard to believe that anyone could survive the parties, alcohol consumption, and sweatshop conditions that exist behind the "Crew Only" doors. Even though I was laughing in quite a few places, I also (re-)discovered how difficult that life is, and how much we the customer just take things for granted. I'll definitely remember to be much more considerate of the crew next time, as well as keeping my eyes open for the things I'm not supposed to notice.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Complete rubbish, January 19, 2012
This review is from: Cruise Confidential: A Hit Below the Waterline: Where the Crew Lives, Eats, Wars, and Parties -- One Crazy Year Working on (Travelers' Tales) (Kindle Edition)
I am a current Carnival employee and I have been working for the company for nearly 6 years. All I can say about this book is it is complete rubbish. There is absolutely NO way that the author could get away with being drunk on duty, fighting in the dining rooms, threatening management. He would instantly have been fired. And the way he makes it look like management is out to get him is complete rubbish.

Its a nice work of fiction but life on board is nothing like he has written.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, July 5, 2009
By 
Marivonne Diaz "marilole" (Austin, Tx United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am not an avid reader but this book kept me interested the whole time, to the point that I finished it in 3 days. I always take a long time to read book, but not this one. The author is so funny. If you are thinking that working in a ship is all glamour..think again!
I totally recommend this book!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific and eye opening read, December 22, 2008
By 
C. Leute "cleute" (San Juan, PR United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
After receiving the book from amazon, I literally read it in one straight sitting that evening. I enjoy cruising too (mostly Princess & Royal but taking first Carnival one in 12/09) and sort of stumbled on this book as I was purchasing updated cruising guides.

I fully enjoyed Mr. Bruns' story and could see in his descriptions of co-workers and bosses many of the same characters I had to deal with when I was in the hotel industry many moons ago. I suppose that would be true for any industry but the employees on cruise ships truly work in a pressure cauldron fueled by long tough hours, little sleep, youth & beauty, cramped quarters, and temporary (superficial) friendships which are bound to find a release in types of situations that he describes (hey... they are the fun ships, right?).

Some of the described behavior of the clients is both comical and at times truly sad/pathetic. We have all witnessed those people both as fellow passengers and in our everyday lives. I don't know whether I will ever look at a shrimp again without thinking about this book but that scene was just unfortunately shockingly real in my mind - because I've seen that!!!

I also very much enjoyed reading about Carnival policies, etc. which, as a cruiser, I found very reassuring. Like another reviewer mentioned, this is not Kitchen Confidential; Mr. Bruns never throws his employer under the bus but is cognizant of the fact that politics are a fact of corporate life...

If I was appreciative of the service these amazing people provide before reading his book (like they say, the best tippers are people in the industry), I'm even more so now.

If you have cruised before or are a first timer, this fun read will give you a real nice insight on what goes on in the back of the house (well... below decks in this case).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Adolescent Rubbish . . ., May 17, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Cruise Confidential: A Hit Below the Waterline: Where the Crew Lives, Eats, Wars, and Parties -- One Crazy Year Working on (Travelers' Tales) (Kindle Edition)
This book is more about the author's childish sexual fantasies than anything that might actually happen on a ship. I made it through nine chapters of this shamelessly repetitive tripe before giving up. This book is not worth any reader's time let alone the money it costs to download it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 217 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.