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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
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very well written!