By Brian David Bruns

Everyone knows that cruise ships encourage such hedonistic behavior as eating three entrées at a single sitting, overindulging in drinks with umbrellas, and making extravagant purchases in the gift shop. What we didn’t know is that the exploits that take place on the Lido Deck are tame compared with what goes on below deck, the home of the hundreds of workers who keep the big cruise ships running (more or less) smoothly. In his rollicking tell-all, Carnival Cruise Lines insider Brian David Bruns leads us into the bowels of the mighty cruise ships where the close quarters are the catalyst not only for instant friendships between staffers but also intense animosity. And sex. Lots of it.

Having the distinction of being the only American to complete a full eight-month contract working for the restaurants of Carnival Cruise Lines—as well as possessing a sharp wit and delightfully candid narrative voice—Brian is uniquely qualified to serve as our guide to a world where civilized behavior is thrown out the porthole even before the ship leaves the pier. In CRUISE CONFIDENTIAL: A Hit Below the Waterline($14.95 trade paperback original), he reveals what goes on behind the scenes where the staff works, lives, eats, drinks (and drinks), dances, argues, and occasionally, sleeps.

His outrageous but true stories introduce us to an eclectic cast of international characters—a rainbow of women workers who could pass for super models, head honchos who take their management inspiration from such exemplary role models as the Mafia, and waiters who are reduced to stealing food from each other’s stations in order to fulfill their guests’ orders. He chronicles the uninhibited dance parties, slapstick schemes, and ubiquitous couplings that occur on every cruise, as well as his ongoing quest to be near his girlfriend, another Carnival Cruise employee. We are transported from New Orleans to Jamaica to Puerto Rico to Transylvania as our likeable guide vividly describes his many misadventures, triumphs, flirtations, and, above all, his amusing and astute insights into human nature.

Throughout his journey, Brian is asked repeatedly by his bosses, co-workers, friend, and enemies, “Are you crazy or are you just stupid?” in their attempts to understand why a well-educated American would put up with such insane working and living conditions. With his constant good humor (not to mention his admirable determination to be near the love of his life and to spurn the advances of all others), he convinces us that he’s neither crazy nor stupid, and, in doing so, takes us on a wild ride we won’t quickly forget.

About the Author

A true Renaissance man for our generation, Brian David Bruns is a professional artist, art historian, writer, marathoner, co-founder of a software company, and sought-after lecturer. He was the only American in the history of Carnival Cruise Lines to endure a full contract in the ships’ restaurants. He went on to work on various cruise lines where he gave amusing and informative talks on art history. The author ofComstock Phantoms: True Ghost Stories of Virginia City, Nevada, he is currently working to reveal deeper crew craziness and personal torment in Ship Life, the forthcoming sequel to CRUISE CONFIDENTIAL. Brian and his wife divide their time between Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas.

About Travelers’ Tales

Travelers’ Tales publishes the best in travel, humor, and spiritual writing from world-famous authors and emerging writers. Celebrating 14 years in publishing, the series has won many awards for excellence, including three Lowell Thomas Awards for Best Travel Book, and multiple best book awards from the Independent Publishers Association, ForeWord Magazine, and the Benjamin Franklin Awards.

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CRUISE CONFIDENTIAL: A Hit Below the Waterline
By Brian David Bruns
Travelers’ Tales, September 2008
$14.95, trade paperback original, 370 pages, 5 1/8″ x 8″
ISBN 978-193236160-5