Cruise ship workers are the backbone of the cruise experience. While passengers lounge around, sipping cocktails and enjoying what the floating hotel has to offer, they are hard at work providing the best experience that they can – but former cruise ship worker Brian David Bruns revealed that there are some topics they should not engage in.
Unveiling his experience with Carnival Cruise line in his tell-all book Cruise Confidential, the former on-board waiter told readers that cruise ship crew were instructed to never discuss politics.
He states one of the trainers said: “There’s a big difference between people and their government.
“Not all of us are from democracaices, after all, and even a democracy does not necessarily reflect its people.”
The trainer also told Carnival Cruise workers to avoid discussing military action.
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Cruise secrets: Staff are advised not to discuss politics with passengers
“Never mention all the military action of the US. It’s completely against policy, but more importantly, the guests won’t know what you’re talking about and will probably be offended,” the trainer said.
Other topics which were not up for discussion included religion.
“Politics are dangerous enough, but we all know how religious talk can cause problems. Don’t even go there,” the trainer told Bruns.
Bruns is the only American waiter to complete a contract with one of Carnival Cruise lines’ ship restaurants.
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His tell-all book, Cruise Confidential, opened up discussions around cruise lines’ exploitation of workers and received criticism from both inside and out of the cruise industry.
Speaking to Cruise Critic after publishing his debut book, Bruns said: “I spent an insane 13 months in the restaurants on Carnival Cruise Lines ships, so the book is entirely about that.
“At that time, I started at the absolute bottom as a trainee. I was originally promised a low-level management position (assistant maitre d), but I was told I had to crank through every step before that.”
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Bruns opened up about the extremely long days working in the ships restaurant, where he worked a minimum of 12 hours a day, seven days a week for the first month.
“It would average 14 to 15 hours a day, break for lunch, break for shower, but even on our breaks, we were constantly studying,” he added.
“This schedule was done intentionally because the line wants you to know right away how tough it is. They want to weed folks out who won’t be able to handle it.”
Former cruise worker Joshua Kinser also revealed some shocking facts in his book Chronicles of a Cruise Ship Worker.
In the book, Kinser shared the way some cruise companies try to save money when it comes to using live bands.
He explained that when he joined one cruise ship during his career at sea, he realised that a band on board wasn’t actually playing at all.
“The trumpet player was moving his horn around, but he wasn’t moving his fingers. The clarinet player was doing the same thing,” he wrote. “Even the drummer was moving his sticks up and down without touching the drumheads.”
He recalls how he couldn’t stop laughing and told his colleagues: “They’re not playing. The band isn’t actually playing. It’s all fake. They finally did it. It’s all fake.”
Kinser explained some cruise companies get round extra costs by using showbands that are ‘enhanced’ with backing tracks.
In a 2018 report highlighting the state of the cruise industry, it was reported that 23.63 million passengers and 4.5 million crew disembarked cruise ships and visited the participating destinations, spending $ 2.45 billion and $ 302.2 million, respectively.