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Summer Book Club: Books any gay cruise fan should read!
Hard to believe it’s been six months since the Costa Concordia disaster. I was reminded of the event just a couple of days ago by a CNN news special about the disaster, and about the cruise industry’s safety
Personally, I still feel comfortable cruising—and will be taking an Alaska honeymoon cruise in just a few weeks. But I will certainly be paying attention to the safety aspects of the ship.
Meanwhile, there are two books that I’ve found wonderfully enlightening on how the industry operates. If you’re a cruise fan like me looking for a great summer read, either will satisfy! Even better to read them on a cruise ship!
1. Devils on the Deep Blue Sea: The Dreams, Schemes, and Showdowns That Built America’s Cruise-Ship Empires. While it is a few years old (published June 2006), this book by Kristoffer A. Garinis still highly relevant, and is a surprisingly fun read—a real page turner. It examines the cruise industry from the beginning, when Ted Arinson realized that the trans-oceanic use for passenger ships had essentially been sunk by jet aircraft, and he had the idea for Carnival cruise lines.
The book then takes you through salient aspects of how the industry became what it is up to (almost) the present, with Arinson’s son Micky as CEO of Carnival Corp.—including:
- Reasons that we see such broad, international staff on board (and very few Americans).
- What goes on in downstairs with the crew, and why your tip money is so incredibly important.
- And most interestingly—why there are really only three major corporations running the vast majority of the cruise industry today through their ownership of multiple brands (Norwegian being the hold-out on that). The book takes you through how Carnival gobbled up lines like Princess, Holland America, Costa, and others, and what has gone on with Royal Caribbean’s brands, and Norwegian as a stand-alone brand. Fascinating.
2. Cruise Confidential: a hit below the water line. This charming book by Brian David Bruns details his unbelievable entry into cruise ship employment—as an American working in a Carnival Cruises dining room. He is now legendary as the only American (former business owner and college education, too) to ever survive an entire contract. I won’t give it away, but you’ll find out if he takes a second contract…and what else he eventually does to keep his life at sea.
Bruns is a talented and very funny writer, and he shares scores of dazzlingly fun anecdotes. All along the way he exposes what cruise ship employees actually go through to serve you and me our food, and more. All the while he feels he’s mistreated by shipboard bosses who seem to have a target on him. Very, very fun reading.
There are certainly other books about the cruise industry—have you read one (or more)? Also: I’m not (yet) aware of any tell-all’s written from the gay perspective, are you? Please share what books about the cruise industry you’ve enjoyed by commenting below.
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