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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
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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

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3.25 of 5 stars 3.25  ·  rating details  ·  754 ratings  ·  119 reviews
In Cruise Confidential, Brian David Bruns spills the dirt — or in this case, the dirty water — on those romantic, fun-filled vacations at sea. His hilarious chronicle of the year he spent working for Carnival Cruise Lines takes readers down into the areas where the crew works and lives, leaving readers gasping with laughter as they’re assaulted nonstop with events that ran ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 1st 2008 by Travelers' Tales (first published January 1st 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,078)
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Heather
It starts well...the author is fun, the people are interesting, and the insider information is great...but slowly you start to realize that he is telling the same story over and over, spiraling into a bitter tornado of drunken, "it wasn't my fault that I lost it" and "I couldn't have had sex with all of them" self-pity. I got over this book after about the first 100 pages.
Tina
Sigh. I don't even know how to say how bad this book was. I cruise a lot, and I was expecting more of a behind the scenes tour. What I got instead was a blow by blow of how drunk cruise employees get and how many people they hook up with and how little sleep they get. The "author" is Brian, supposedly the first American to ever finish a contract in a Carnival dining room. Whatever. First of all, Brian is a spolied, conceited 30 year old. My immediate comparison is the lead on the short-lived NBC ...more
Carrie
Two stars because it's not quite as bad as LeBron James' book.
Craig
Jun 27, 2012 Craig added it
Recommends it for: Nobody
Started to read it on a western Caribbean cruise in April. Knew it would be awful, but thought it might give me some insight into the lives onboard of the crew I would spend a week with.

It was bawful (beyond awful). Just no way to finish it. Yech.
David
A very interesting book. I work in the cruise industry(on land), and take a lot of cruises, so the book was very interesting. Plus, I could picture exactly on the ship he was talking about since I have been on very similar ships. Two criticisms, however:

1. The author seems to continually mention how many hours he worked and the punishment he took. After awhile it just wasn't convincing-in the end he said he worked many 15 hours a day-yet also said he only slept a few hours a night. While 15 hour
...more
Liz
Brian David Brun's memoir follows his year long contract on Carnival cruise ships.His experience was very unique as he was the first ever American server to finish a full contract in a Carnival dining room. His writing style/tone was also interesting. Mr. Brun's tone was that of a confidant if not cocky American, but he also comes across as a very likable, "life of the party" type guy. I still couldn't decide if I loved or loathed him by the end of the book.

As a cruise lover, I was looking for i
...more
Bonnie Morse
I really enjoyed this little memoir of crew life on a Carnival cruise ship. It's definitely a job that only a lovesick man in his twenties would undertake. The hours, the labor, the lack of a reasonable social life sound unbearable, but his sense of humor and relentlessly upbeat attitude left me wanting more. Especially since he left us hanging in regards to whether or not he's still with the woman he endured all this for. I'm hoping there's a sequel.

What made me rate it down a star was the way
...more
Joy
I picked this up after my first Carnival cruise because I didn't pay for the behind the scenes tour of the ship and this looked interesting. Ugh! My fault for not reading the reviews before purchasing it. The writing is horrendous. The dialogue is awful, the author is fond of both cliches and exclamation points, and his habit of using the word cat instead of God (as in cat bless you, or cat-willing) is just plain annoying.

There are a few interesting tidbits about cruise life scattered in betwee
...more
Julie
I'd give this a 2.5 if the option was available. I like the author's voice but his story was mostly boring with him getting drunk, being pursued by women and how proud he was of being faithful to his girlfriend, all while surviving on 4 hours of sleep a night. I would have rather read a bit more about interactions with passengers - who makes a good passenger vs. the ones from hell. The couple of stories about bad passengers were really interesting, such as the "Roundells" who ordered 6 entrees a ...more
Mark
Cruise Confidential gives the reader some insights into the ongoings behind the scenes on Carnival Cruiselines. It also give some a perspective of the people who takes these cruises. the information given here is straight forward if not a bit skewed towards the drinking and debauchery of those who work 80-100 hour weeks onboard the ships. Bruns' story is also straightforward: get a job because of a girl, Bianca his now wife.

I wanted to really like this book because Bruns' tales are indeed intere
...more
Colleen Wright
I enjoyed reading this book. It is written in a very relaxed, humorous and friendly way. Quick read (8 hours). It was an entertaining read. A well written eye-opener to how hard the staff really works, and makes you remember there really is a "dark side" in every industry.
Lisa
As a veteran cruiser (20+ years) and budding travel writer, the topic of this mini-memoir caught my eye while browsing through a bookstore. I had heard of the book and had read its mixed reviews, yet thought I would judge for myself -- and have my own mixed review to report. In most ways, I was not surprised -- I knew the general aspects of the crew's living and working conditions by talking with various waiters and cabin stewards over the years. Still, the picture painted by the author was vivi ...more
Skyring
Patchy. I would have liked less of the office politics and drinking and sex, and more of the nuts and bolts of cruise crew and passenger interactions.

The long hours for low pay wasn't a surprise. I did a long cruise a couple of years back and our dinner waiter on the second sitting would be up at dawn doling out the hand sanitiser at the buffet. The stewards also got to earn their keep.

We would see the crew in their clean uniforms, apparently unruffled, but I got the feeling that there was a lot
...more
Sherri
If I was a twenty-something guy, I would have liked this book (and the author's narration) better. I don't really care how many women the author could have slept with, nor how increasingly muscular his body became, etc. I did not enjoy reading about the author's ego nor his own weird slang involving the word "Cat," such as "Holy Cat..." What kept this book from dipping into two stars are the details the author provided about cruising.

Evidently the author was the first American in Carnival's thi
...more
Tara
I love cruises. So when I saw this Kindle book for $2.99, I figured it would be worth a read. Plus I spent Thanksgiving in Florida with family, so I wanted something light and easy to read by the pool. Well, it was definitely light reading, but not really what I was expecting.

The full title of this book is "Cruise Confidential: A Hit Below the Waterling: Where the Crew Lives, Eats, Wars, and Parties. One Crazy Year Working on Cruise Ships." Uh...yeah. Longest title ever. Basically, Brian fell in
...more
Jenna
Cruise Confidential takes readers on an tour of the life of cruise ship workers. Brian, the author, is an American who decides to become part of the crew on Carnival cruise line to follow a woman. Everyone asks him, "Are you crazy, or just stupid?" He is the first American to finish a full contract working in the restaurants on Carnival.

As an avid cruiser, I was excited to read this book because I was curious about the inner workings of a cruise ship. How much does it really take? What does the
...more
Bill Paton
Jun 04, 2011 Bill Paton rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Cruisers
Recommended to Bill by: No one
I bought Cruise Confidential to read on our May 2011 Western Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Dream. This book is based on the authors experiences as an American crew member aboard another Carnival cruise ship based out of Miami. The author is the only American crew member that has ever managed to complete a contract aboard one of these cruise ships. The difficult working conditions are such that the crew is made up mostly of Asians and Eastern Europeans. The book is interesting in that I could ...more
Joel Neff
Jan 06, 2012 Joel Neff rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: travelers and wanna-be travelers.
Cruise Confidential is a fast, enjoyable read. It's lightheartedness reads as sincere rather than mocking and its brevity adds to its charm. For myself, it was a perfect choice for a cold January; the descriptions of warm tropics and lovely ladies provided a welcome relief from the dreariness outside.

The memoir tells the story of Brian David Bruns as he follows his girlfriend Bianca to sea as a Carnival Cruiseline employee and the misadventures he has while living and working on a series of crui
...more
Rob
It's not great. To an extent, it's interesting to look behind the scenes of a big cruise ship operation and find out how the crew is treated by management, how they all interact with one another, and all the things the general public might not know, but all that is overshadowed by the author's constant commentary about beautiful women and their physical attributes, drunk men, and the former having sex with the latter in stairwells. After a while, it just gets old. There was also a lot of ego-str ...more
Amanda N.
Cruise Confidential by Brian David Bruns is a laugh-out-loud introspective about life aboard a cruise ship. Most people only see these ships for a week or two at a time, living the glamorous life as experienced by guests. Bruns shows the behind the scenes accommodations and lifestyle as experienced by the crew.

The details provided in Cruise Confidential focus more on the story rather than the characters. It feels like Bruns was attempting to fully chronicle the one year he spent working for Car
...more
Nichole Marshall
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robin
Good vacation reading but probably not best for when on a cruise. :)

Update: This was a revealing look at the behind-the-scenes life aboard a megaliner, in this case a Carnival cruise ship (Conquest, I think). The author becomes a dining room waiter aboard a Caribbean run and chronicles what really happens in the staff quarters and in the dining room. Brian writes about working 17-18 hour days and some of his rants are a little hard to believe (near the end he talks about a supervisor making him
...more
Erin Goettsch
Okay, I recognize that this guy is douchey and the writing is decidedly Not Good, but. BUT! I sort of found it delightful. I was craving a story (this is a "personal account" but read like a story, mostly) of the behind-the-scenes living on a cruise ship, and while I roll my eyes at a lot of his excuses and escapades, it was fun and easy and I am glad I read it. I didn't love it but I solidly liked it.
Jaymie Wright
I found it to be an interesting peak into the behind the scenes of my favorite vacation method. It did drag out a bit, but I liked it enough to finish the whole series in about a week of binge reading. Not Shakespeare, but fun reading, especially if you are interested in travel, history, and art.
Eric Mueller
Like most other reviews here, I thought the parts where the author stuck to descriptions of the ship, the work, the training, the passengers, etc., were really interesting. But if you stripped those parts from the book, you're left holding a pretty boring memoir of a horny early-20-something guy: endless descriptions about partying, drinking and hot girls. (OMG he goes on and on about the hot girls... ok! We get it already!)

By the end of the book, the author is still working on ships, albeit in
...more
Kevin S
Good read overall. Some interesting information about life working on cruise ships. I have been on many cruises and I agree that alot of the female employees are quite attractive, but the author makes it seem like 99% of them are smokin' hot, drunk alot and looking for sex all the time. Of course he was the perfect gentleman and was always faithful.

I was disappointed that he never talked about one of the top asked questions, "How much do people make working on cruise ships?" Barely mentioned mon
...more
Erin
I have this habit of randomly choosing books to read that are behind the scenes exposes of working for a certain industry. Invariably, all of these books are full of terrible writing and terrible stories. Apparently I am the kind of person who doesn't learn from her mistakes, because when I saw this one I thought, "Hmm, this could be interesting. I've never been on a cruise before - I wonder what it's like from the crew's perspective." This book was AWFUL. The anecdotes were shallow in every sen ...more
Beth
It was interesting to get a bit of an inside peek at crew life, but his constant use of "Cat" for God, his refusal to use contractions in conversations, and what felt like a general overgrown frat boy approach to life got annoying very soon.
Courtney Boschma
I really enjoyed this book! We had just taken a cruise, and I wanted to read more about crew life and culture. I probably learned things that I did not need to know. Ha! A good read for summer.
Christina
This was an interesting memoir.... but I had to skim some sections due to too much information (partying). It confirmed what I had already suspected- working on a cruise ship is hard work, almost slave labor, for very little money. It was interesting to read an American's perspective on working in the dining room and how he survived. I admired his sense of adventure and ability to make cross- cultural connections with his co-workers. However, I would not recommend this book to most people becaus ...more
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B.D. Bruns is a nationally best-selling and internationally award-winning author with books lauded by the Travel Channel, Today Show, and USA Today. He has contributed to The Travel Channel, The Daily Beast, BBC, and CNN. His Cruise Confidential series has twice been featured by ABC 20/20.

Bruns has thrice won national Book of the Year honors.
More about Brian David Bruns...
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