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Cruise Confidential: A Hit Below the Waterline: Where the Crew Lives, Eats, Wars, and Parties… One Crazy Year Working on Cruise Ships (Travelers' Tales) Paperback – September 1, 2008

3.6 out of 5 stars 211 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Cruise Confidential Series

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  • Cruise Confidential: A Hit Below the Waterline: Where the Crew Lives, Eats, Wars, and Parties… One Crazy Year Working on Cruise Ships (Travelers' Tales)
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  • The Truth About Cruise Ships - A Cruise Ship Officer Survives the Work, Adventure, Alcohol, and Sex of Ship Life
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Bruns, founder of a successful software company, decided to follow his new girlfriend, who worked on a luxury cruise liner, and enjoy a high-seas adventure. His plan, to get hired on as a member of the crew, seemed simple enough, but Bruns quickly discovered he had no idea what he was getting himself into. This is a very funny, behind-the-scenes exploration of a cruise ship. Imagine a combination of Innocents Abroad and The Love Boat, with a dash of Peyton Place, and you’ll have a good idea of what to expect: lots of humorous fumbling about as men and women of various nationalities mold themselves into an efficient team without stepping on each others’ cultural toes; the glitz and polished shine of a seagoing luxury hotel (contrasted with the sometimes-disgusting living conditions of the crew); and plenty of shenanigans, including raucous parties and, of course, sexual escapades. Although this isn’t an exposé of cruise lines so much as a lighthearted adventure, readers planning a cruise will glean lots of useful information, and cruise veterans may find themselves looking at their familiar turf in a new, slightly suspicious way. --David Pitt

About the Author

Brian David Bruns lives in Nevada, USA.
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Product Details

  • Series: Travelers' Tales
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Travelers' Tales; Reprint edition (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193236160X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932361605
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (211 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. L. Floyd on August 7, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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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!
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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
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