– Avalon Myanmar – Myanmar River Cruise – April 2017
*Azamara Club Cruises – Azamara Journey – Singapore to Dubai (April 8, 2018)
* Azamara Quest – Southeast Asia and Japan (February 2015)
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? – Part I
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part II
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part III
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part IV
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? – Some Final Observations and Thoughts
– The Prologue to the Travelogue
– The Adventure Begins…With a Bump or Two
– Settling In Made Easy
– Luxury Touches Here, There and OK, Not, Everywhere…But There Are Lots of Them!
– Asian Flair Onboard and On Shore
– Private Tours, Israel and Conflicts in Perceptions and Perspective
Celebrity Equinox 2009 – Egypt…Impressive and Depressing
– Dining With the Captain and the Reidel Wine Seminar
– The Last Dinner (Tuscan Grille) and Disembarkation
– What Happens When A Class Act Meets Highly Discounted Cruise Fare
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part I
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part II
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part III
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part IV (Food & Wine!)
– Princess Cruises Doesn’t Treat You Like Royalty; Celebrity Cruises Does! Which is a Better Value for the Upscale Cruise Guest? Part I
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. -Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part II: The Standard Veranda Staterooms
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part III: Treating You Right From The Start
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part IV: The Wine Lists Speak Volumes (As Do The Beverage Packages)
Regent Seven Seas Voyager – August 2017
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part I
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part II (Getting There, The Stateroom and First Impressions)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part III (“You Can’t Teach Five Star Service” and Bonafacio, Corsica)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part IV (Calvi, Monaco, Portofino, Porto Azzurro…and Stale Bread)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part V (My Last Day…and How The Chef’s Team Makes It Happen)
UPDATE: I guess the author liked my review (below). You can also read it on his website: http://lovebruns.com/Templates/Review_GoldringTravel.html.
I just finished reading a very light, but interesting, book entitled: Cruise Confidential: A Hit Below The Waterline. One Crazy Year Working on Cruise Ships. It is probably worth a few hours to read it as it does put into perspective some of the ups, downs, trials and tribulations of training for, and working in, cruise ship restaurants.
While the author of this non-fiction book, David Brian Bruns, seems to place himself as the virtuous, never straying, deeply devoted boyfriend chasing his Holy Grail girlfriend, Bianca…and, of course, while being the best waiter ever to have served on the seven seas, for pure voyeuristic enjoyment and as a vehicle to tie all the craziness together, without it having a total feel of a trashy novel, it works.
Without ruining the book, Mr. Bruns discusses (exposes?) the relatively – OK, absolutely – wild, sleep deprived, cramped, smoky and sexually active lives below deck. Not unlike the yachting industry (only more-so due to the horrific number of hours/weeks/months worked without a real break), much of the focus is on sex being used as a tension release rather than for intimacy. I say this upfront because you need to read through the regular references to it in order to find the real nuggets of information and perspective.
One of the starkest realities is that most of the ship’s waitstaff (and, to be sure, others) simply do not understand the general American philosophy or approach to many different things. This goes far beyond the concept of as an American we tend to think of owning a car and having a private home (rented or owned) as birthrights while some crew will work years on a ship just to be able to buy a used car.
Some things really make you think. A negative example: Why do we require the buffet to look as if no one has been there before us even minutes before it closes? (The amount of needless waste created as a result is shocking.) A positive example: Why do many of us actually care about those serving us; asking about our waiter’s family and life at home? (Many cultures are such that waitstaff should not even be acknowledged.)
So enjoy reading about how the staff is trained and what they are actually trained for (it is not just about serving food), realize the hours it takes to put together all the things and time needed for a breakfast or dinner service (and the differences between them!), appreciate the working of 15+ hours a day without a break for months, ponder how and why the supervisors are so tough in a “survival of the fittest” world, and enjoy the descriptions of the Eastern European beauties and Turkish and Caribbean musclemen…or just the need for a tattoo.
But remember this is book about one American’s experience on Carnival in the days when they were The Fun Ships, where cheap cruises and huge amounts of alcohol were the rule…apparently both above and below the decks. I am sure much of it remains valid today, for as I have said, I have seen similar (but not quite as wild) behavior on superyachts, but I would suggest that when you board a Seabourn ship you will see far fewer bloodshot eyes and encounter far fewer with slurred speech from the crew party the night before.
And, ironically, understand just how profitable it is to be an art auctioneer aboard a cruise ship. (See my last post!)