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Devils on the Deep Blue Sea: The Dreams, Schemes and Showdowns That Built America's Cruise-Ship Empires Hardcover – June 23, 2005

48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

It's hard to imagine now, but when The Love Boat premiered in 1977, it was considered so sexually suggestive that Princess Cruises almost didn't allow the show to film on its ships because they were afraid it would give people the wrong image. Yet, in the long run, Garin points out, the series proved to be a critical factor in repositioning ocean cruises as an attractive luxury for middle-class consumers. Just a few years ago, Princess and three competitors accounted for almost 90 percent of the cruise industry's $13 billion annual revenues; when Princess began merger talks with Royal Caribbean, rival firm Carnival swooped in, made the deal themselves and wound up controlling more than half the market. Carnival's founder, the late Ted Arison, provides this lively industry history with one of its most engrossing narrative threads, from the running aground of his original flagship's maiden voyage to his emergence as one of the world's wealthiest individuals. But Garin's as interested in the ships themselves as he is in the boardrooms, and he turns up disturbing stories of corrupt labor practices and cover-ups of sexual assaults of passengers by crew members. The solid reporting ensures readers will come away with a healthy respect for Garin's work and for the very powerful industry he documents.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

It was the Love Boat, an insipid television show, that actually launched the wildly successful and still-popular cruise ship as an affordable fantasy vacation for middle-class consumers. It also jumpstarted Carnival Corporation, which controls more than half of today’s cruise ship market and constitutes this book’s primary subject. Garin, an investigative journalist, dives into the history of the industry, exploring the depths of the business and exposing (unfortunately, to a lesser degree) the grueling work of those who serve these flagship fantasies. Part investigation, part admiration, Devils suffers from an identity crisis. Don’t be seen with it anywhere near the Lido deck.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; 1st edition (June 23, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670034185
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670034185
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #915,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Duff HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Being a vacationer who has been on numerous cruises, this book recommendation looked like a certain fit... Devils On The Deep Blue Sea by Kristoffer A. Garin. He does a very good job in revealing how the cruise industry works, and the forces that have shaped it along the way.

The story starts in the late 1950's, when the cruise industry was really nothing more than a way to transport passengers from one location to another. The rich often had a lavish experience, while the "steerage" passengers were cramped and confined to the lower decks with restrictions on where they could go and what they could do. But in both cases, it was still a case of traveling from point A to point B. The airline industry quickly made cruise ships obsolete for rapid travel, and the shipping lines were becoming a footnote in history. But a few people thought that cruising could become a destination in itself, a way to vacation, see other lands, and then return to where you started. But the appeal had to be broad, and the luxuries of first class had to extend to all the passengers. Thru visionaries, financial risks, and mergers, what we have today is a $13 billion dollar industry that is truly global in numerous aspects. But behind the glitter and glamour, there are some less appealing items of interest...

Garin talks about how the cruise industry is largely staffed by impoverished workers from third-world nations who sign on for low base wages and whatever tips come from passengers. To many of us, these base wages wouldn't even support poverty, but they are considerable in the countries where the workers come from. The hours and rules aboard ship are harsh, with 12 to 16 hour days with little time off the norm.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Inquiring Mind on January 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I cannot say enough about the strong points of this book. Garin would have earned much praise for simply recounting the history of Carnival's extraordinarily rapid conquest of the global cruise industry -- earning founder Ted Arison at his death the title of 'world's richest Jew' and leaving son Micky at the helm of a company that took just over 25 years from its 1971 birth to reach annual profits of $1 billion. Beyond Garin's entertaining story of how the Arisons created both an industry and a fortune, there is so much more to this book: it's a wonderful social history of American vacationing and travel rituals and preferences; a tale of entrerpreneurial takeovers and strategizing every bit as intriguing as 'Barbarians at the Gate'; an investigation of corporate corner-cutting in the labor, environmental, tax, and other regulatory fields as eye-opening as 'Silent Spring'; WildWest-style episodes of mutinous crews and commando-led cruise-ship rescue operations; marketing coups and blunders; the impact of TV's 'LoveBoat' series; along with Caribbean cultural and economic lore from Bob Marley to CARICOM (the island nations' version of the EU). This massive reporting effort is wonderfully well-organized and unfailingly pleasurable to read.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A. Rosen on August 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As the owner of a travel agency, I found this book fascinating. It gives a great history of the 2 major cruise lines, Carnival & Royal Caribbean, and the history of their rivalry over the years. I am not sure that this book is for the everyday cruiser, but if you are involved with the cruise industry I would consider it a must read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By BMK on July 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I have never been on a cruise nor had I seriously considered going on one. However, I found this book very well researched , fascinating,and at times truely exciting. It is extremely well written and flows like an engrossing novel.I not only learned about the cruise ship industry,specifically,but also about the world of big business,deal making,etc. This book really gave me a new,broader, understanding of what motivates successfull business leaders-and it left a lasting impression about cruising.

I may even take a cruise.I highly recommend this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book was a great surprise..I expected a fairly interesting read but it surpassed all expectations. From the beginnings of the US cruise industry to the state it is in today, you will cover a whole spectrum of events in chronological order.
The author is well-informed, to the point and fairly balanced in his assessment of the industry. A lot of authors who write about maritime events or stories are not very familiar with the correct terms and language used but this is not a problem for Kristoffer Garin who is well-versed in the subject matter.
A must read for anybody interested in this aspect of the travel industry or even the more experienced cruisers will take away a lot from this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Goldbach on November 19, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As someone else stated in their review, if you work in the cruise industry, this is a must read for its historical significance. As someone who enjoys cruising, I was a bit put off by it. The book should be entitled "The Life and Times of Micky Aronson," or perhaps "Isn't Carnival the Best Cruiseline Ever?" because it spent far too much time on Carnival and its wars (read: victories) over rival RCI. As an avid cruiser, I don't like Carnival, but I did enjoy reading the history of one particular line instead of a history of the industry.

The author spends too much time focusing on Carnival and not enough on the other players in the industry. There are a few pages about the start of NCL but then it is left behind. What about Renaissance? What about Home? What about all of the other lines, most of which are no longer in existence? Aren't they part of the history of the industry as well? I'd like to read about them as well and how their demise played into the story of the industry as it exists today. I didn't get much of that.

The author almost takes pride in the accomplishments of Carnival Cruise Lines and how it has scooped the competition (mostly Royal Caribbean) over the years. As a cruiser who would rather cruise Royal (or sister company Celebrity) over Carnival, I felt like I was cheering for the underdog that never wins. There's more to the story of the cruise industry than what is written in these pages.

BTW, of the paperback version, someone skipped out on their proof reading duties. The book is replete with misspellings.
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