Cruise Confidential: a hit below the waterline

Cruise Confidential: a hit below the waterline

Where the crew eats, sleeps, wars, and parties...one crazy year working on cruise ships $14.95
By Brian David Bruns
August 2008
ISBN 1-932361-60-X   394 pages
add to Cart add to cart
buy this Book on buy on Amazon.com
 
Description
Introduction
Table of Contents
Sample Chapter
About the Author

Description


“Part Love Boat, part Mutiny on the Bounty, Cruise Confidential does for cruising what Animal House did for higher education.”
—J. Maarten Troost, author of The Sex Lives of Cannibals


Cruise Confidential is a delightfully funny, wild, and romantic adventure below the waterline. Brian David Bruns worked for a year in the ships' restaurants and reveals what it's really like working on a cruise ship. His account will astonish you as you are assaulted with circumstances ranging from the absurd to the bizarre. Did you know that waiters are required to steal cutlery and even food from each other for their own guests? Can you imagine what the crew thinks of the passengers? And sex, don't forget the sex.


Cruise Confidential is a deliciously addictive read, much like The Nanny Diaries or The Devil Wears Prada…a blistering kiss-and-tell about the dysfunctional life working on cruise ships. The reality is worse than you imagined…we get a good look at the orgy-like crew parties, a frightening management style that's a mix of Old Testament and Mafia, and a unique view of how cruising Americans are viewed by the patient foreigners who have to pamper them day and night.”
—Doug Lansky, author of Last Trout in Venice and Signspotting

“These hilarious misadventures at sea will shock and delight any buffer-ready cruise traveler.”
—Jen Leo, editor of Sand in My Bra and The Thong Also Rises

“Spray crashing, thunder blasting, bodies rolling around a heaving floor. Ship on the rocks? Nope, just a typical midnight party in the ‘under-the-waterline’ world of the workers who make big cruise ships hum. The funniest travel book I’ve read in years, Cruise Confidential breaks down the water-tight doors that keep passengers away from the really wild times at sea.”
—Peter Mandel, author of My Ocean Liner and Boats on the River.

And if you think you just have to take a cruise after reading this book to find out if it's all real or not, check out these cruise deals.

Introduction


Chapter 1: Strange Bedfellows

The shower was, perhaps, the most luxurious of all time. The pressure was just shy of pummeling and the temperature was one grunt away from scalding. I lowered my head to let the water caress my shoulders and stared at the generous array of gifts nearby. There were tiny bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash; little bars of hand soap and face soap, a courtesy disposable razor, and even a shower cap wrapped in a tight little waterproof bundle I had to steal for Mom. Steam billowed up to hide the ceiling, and my mind shared its carefree drifting.

I deserved this shower of bliss. I had been nearly manic with preparations to get here, and stressed beyond all reasonable measure by those two evil airline gods: Delay and Flightswap. But finally I had arrived in Miami and found myself exiting a taxi at the Marriott. Carnival Cruise Lines provided a surprisingly nice room for employees, and covered meals generously. They allowed $12 for lunch and an unprecedented $25 for dinner at the restaurant, called the Veranda Grill. I couldn’t remember the last time I had eaten. Sometime yesterday, lunch maybe. But I was only interested in getting into my bed: it was late and tomorrow I had a 5:15 a.m. wake-up call.

Just me and my glorious shower. I listened to the whir of the fan overhead, diligently collecting steam. I became one with the cascading water swirling at my feet. I smiled at the telltale sounds of sexual ecstasy.

I blinked.

Sexual ecstasy?

In a flash I cut off the water and stood dripping, straining to hear what I surely had not heard. Someone was in my hotel room! I ripped the towel from the rack and wrapped it hastily around my middle even as I stormed out of the bathroom.

I looked into the bedroom to realize it was not in darkness. I had left the heavy curtains closed, but they had been thrown open while I showered. Thinner, sheer curtains silhouetted the likely culprits in the far bed, a bed that should have had no occupant at all, let alone two. From the doorway I stared incredulously. There was a strange couple in my room…having sex!

They weren’t just making out, or petting, or in any sort of preview. They were heavily in the act. I don’t know how long I stood there, gawking in disbelief. Surely it was a mere moment before I gave in to decency and prepared to depart. As quickly as possible, of course, without watching at all. I was planning without delay my exit when the woman’s eyes, which had been screwed shut, opened in leisurely bliss…only to fly wide upon seeing me.

She barked a warning in a foreign language, and the rhythmic bouncing of the bed ceased. The man, who had been intent on his work, reluctantly turned to regard me.

“Can we have some privacy?” he asked casually.

“P-Privacy?” I blurted. They both were astonishingly com-posed as they regarded me. Obviously European, they were pale-skinned and slender. His reddish hair was shaved nearly to the scalp, matching his unshaven chin. He was not an attractive man. The woman, on the other hand, was phenomenally beautiful. Her slight waist flared where it should and she was bumpy in all the right places. I don’t recall ever seeing so slender a woman with such large breasts. Natural, that is.

He frowned, suddenly taken aback. “You American?”

“Oh my God!” she shrieked, clutching the sheets to her chest. “There’s an American in our room!”

“Ah,” he continued. “America’s latest invasion. I never thought it would be my bedroom, but you never know.”

“Huh?”

“After a month on the ships, you’ll understand.”

“What the hell are you doing in my room?” I demanded, finally coming to my senses, now that she was covered.

“You not Carnival?” he sat up in bed, concerned.

“Yes, I am.”

He seemed greatly relieved. “For minute I thought there was mistake.”

“You think?” I retorted.

He chuckled. “Typical American. You thought the room was just yours?”

“I…well, yes.”

“Is not. Pay no attention to Paula, but I tell you now: Bring no men here.”

“What do you mean?”

“You are obviously dancer.”

“Why do you say that?”

“You look like. No Americans on board unless they entertainers.”

“What does that have to do with Paula?”

“Don’t play me. You are obviously gay.”

His look was so seriously distressed at the thought that I suddenly began laughing. At this point, how could I take anything seriously? “Why do you think I’m gay?”

“All American dancers are gay. And no normal man has eyes that pretty.”

“Is this some kind of a joke?”

“You management?”

“Yes, I am management training.”

“Ah, that explains it. Look, I just never met dancer on ship who’s not gay. No matter. I am Alexandro. Croatia. You know where that is?”

He rose and approached to shake my hand…still completely naked and sweaty. I guess his worries about my sexual orientation were over.

“Uh, yeah. Used to be Yugoslavia.”

“Hey, Paulina,” he said, turning to the woman. “An educated American! Paula’s from Serbia. You bombed her, but she doesn’t mind.”

“We never bombed Serbia…NATO bombed Serbia.”

Alexandro sat back on the bed and patted Paulina on her shoulder. “Sorry, babe. I want to show you good time, but this guy only talks politics.”

“You brought it up!” I protested.

“Whatever. Where you from?”

“I’m from Iowa.”

“Ah, potatoes farmer.”

“That’s Idaho.”

“Whatever. Which ship?”

I felt uncomfortable with this ugly, naked, foreign man questioning me. “Carnival Conquest.”

“Ah, of course. The most big, most new ship for the American. Look, we have to start over now. You aren’t going to read in bed, are you? That would distract.”

“I’m going to…to the restaurant.”

“Good idea. Ciao.”

“Yeah, O.K.,” I said as I mechanically dressed and shuffled past them. Just as I was leaving I overheard him say, “Ship life will eat him alive.”

Table of Contents


Part I: Trainee (The Plunge)
1 Strange Bedfellows
2 Global Warning
3 Under the Water
4 Denizens of Babel
5 Nobody Parties Like Sailors
6 The Midnight Bahamian Toga Bash
7 Ship Life 101
8 Creepy Conch Fritters
9 Graduation
10 The End of the Beginning

Part II: Waiter (Promotion)
1 My First, and Only, Clingy Lingerie Model
2 Pancake Darwinism
3 The Crew Bar
4 My Heart Will Go On
5 The Infamous Filipino Elvis Massacre
6 Great Whites
7 Dining on Ashes
8 The Slings and Arrows of
Outrageous Assumption
9 Stripping in the Dining Room

Part III: Assistant Maitre d’ (Demotion)
1 Bogo
2 Enemy Mine
3 The Other Sexy Bitch
4 Tattoo Goo
5 The Torture of Funship Freddy
6 Hunger Pains
7 Viral Infections and You
8 Something Sweet at Midnight
9 Showdown and Breakdown
10 Jamaican Deep Blue

Part IV: The Legend (Destruction)
1 How to Fix an American
2 Legend
3 Tongs over Escalators
4 Frog and Onion
5 Ice Pirates
6 The Boatyard
7 Lost in Panama
8 The Four Temptations of the Apocalypse
9 Toast Master General
10 The Suicide
11 The Miracle
Epilogue

Part V: Appendices
Glossary of Ship Language
Provisions for a Cruise
Stupid Questions

About the Author

Sample chapter


Strange Bedfellows

The shower was, perhaps, the most luxurious of all time. The pressure was just shy of pummeling and the temperature was one grunt away from scalding. I lowered my head to let the water caress my shoulders and stared at the generous array of gifts nearby. There were tiny bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash; little bars of hand soap and face soap, a courtesy disposable razor, and even a shower cap wrapped in a tight little waterproof bundle I had to steal for Mom. Steam billowed up to hide the ceiling, and my mind shared its carefree drifting.

I deserved this shower of bliss. I had been nearly manic with preparations to get here, and stressed beyond all reasonable measure by those two evil airline gods: Delay and Flightswap. But finally I had arrived in Miami and found myself exiting a taxi at the Marriott. Carnival Cruise Lines provided a surprisingly nice room for employees, and covered meals generously. They allowed $12 for lunch and an unprecedented $25 for dinner at the restaurant, called the Veranda Grill. I couldn’t remember the last time I had eaten. Sometime yesterday, lunch maybe. But I was only interested in getting into my bed: it was late and tomorrow I had a 5:15 a.m. wake-up call.

Just me and my glorious shower. I listened to the whir of the fan overhead, diligently collecting steam. I became one with the cascading water swirling at my feet. I smiled at the telltale sounds of sexual ecstasy.

I blinked.

Sexual ecstasy?

In a flash I cut off the water and stood dripping, straining to hear what I surely had not heard. Someone was in my hotel room! I ripped the towel from the rack and wrapped it hastily around my middle even as I stormed out of the bathroom.

I looked into the bedroom to realize it was not in darkness. I had left the heavy curtains closed, but they had been thrown open while I showered. Thinner, sheer curtains silhouetted the likely culprits in the far bed, a bed that should have had no occupant at all, let alone two. From the doorway I stared incredulously. There was a strange couple in my room…having sex!

They weren’t just making out, or petting, or in any sort of preview. They were heavily in the act. I don’t know how long I stood there, gawking in disbelief. Surely it was a mere moment before I gave in to decency and prepared to depart. As quickly as possible, of course, without watching at all. I was planning without delay my exit when the woman’s eyes, which had been screwed shut, opened in leisurely bliss…only to fly wide upon seeing me.

She barked a warning in a foreign language, and the rhythmic bouncing of the bed ceased. The man, who had been intent on his work, reluctantly turned to regard me.

“Can we have some privacy?” he asked casually.

“P-Privacy?” I blurted. They both were astonishingly com-posed as they regarded me. Obviously European, they were pale-skinned and slender. His reddish hair was shaved nearly to the scalp, matching his unshaven chin. He was not an attractive man. The woman, on the other hand, was phenomenally beautiful. Her slight waist flared where it should and she was bumpy in all the right places. I don’t recall ever seeing so slender a woman with such large breasts. Natural, that is.

He frowned, suddenly taken aback. “You American?”

“Oh my God!” she shrieked, clutching the sheets to her chest. “There’s an American in our room!”

“Ah,” he continued. “America’s latest invasion. I never thought it would be my bedroom, but you never know.”

“Huh?”

“After a month on the ships, you’ll understand.”

“What the hell are you doing in my room?” I demanded, finally coming to my senses, now that she was covered.

“You not Carnival?” he sat up in bed, concerned.

“Yes, I am.”

He seemed greatly relieved. “For minute I thought there was mistake.”

“You think?” I retorted.

He chuckled. “Typical American. You thought the room was just yours?”

“I…well, yes.”

“Is not. Pay no attention to Paula, but I tell you now: Bring no men here.”

“What do you mean?”

“You are obviously dancer.”

“Why do you say that?”

“You look like. No Americans on board unless they entertainers.”

“What does that have to do with Paula?”

“Don’t play me. You are obviously gay.”

His look was so seriously distressed at the thought that I suddenly began laughing. At this point, how could I take anything seriously? “Why do you think I’m gay?”

“All American dancers are gay. And no normal man has eyes that pretty.”

“Is this some kind of a joke?”

“You management?”

“Yes, I am management training.”

“Ah, that explains it. Look, I just never met dancer on ship who’s not gay. No matter. I am Alexandro. Croatia. You know where that is?”

He rose and approached to shake my hand…still completely naked and sweaty. I guess his worries about my sexual orientation were over.

“Uh, yeah. Used to be Yugoslavia.”

“Hey, Paulina,” he said, turning to the woman. “An educated American! Paula’s from Serbia. You bombed her, but she doesn’t mind.”

“We never bombed Serbia…NATO bombed Serbia.”

Alexandro sat back on the bed and patted Paulina on her shoulder. “Sorry, babe. I want to show you good time, but this guy only talks politics.”

“You brought it up!” I protested.

“Whatever. Where you from?”

“I’m from Iowa.”

“Ah, potatoes farmer.”

“That’s Idaho.”

“Whatever. Which ship?”

I felt uncomfortable with this ugly, naked, foreign man questioning me. “Carnival Conquest.”

“Ah, of course. The most big, most new ship for the American. Look, we have to start over now. You aren’t going to read in bed, are you? That would distract.”

“I’m going to…to the restaurant.”

“Good idea. Ciao.”

“Yeah, O.K.,” I said as I mechanically dressed and shuffled past them. Just as I was leaving I overheard him say, “Ship life will eat him alive.”

About the Author


Now a professional speaker and artist, Brian Bruns was the only American in Carnival Cruise Lines' history to work a full contract in the ships' restaurants. He went on to entertain thousands with his amusing talks on art history on numerous cruise lines, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Windstar, and Radisson.

SOLAS Awards Banner

Go Around the World

Indie Multi-Stop Trip Planner