Saturday, January 9, 2016

Confessions of Cruise Ship Insiders: Secret Parties, Crew Bars, and More

Confessions of Cruise Ship Insiders: Secret Parties, Crew Bars, and More
Confessions of Cruise Ship Insiders: Secret Parties, Crew Bars, and More
Many of us go on cruises to let our hair down. To party with a cocktail or several. Some of us, flush with memories of the whirlwind romances on the TV show The Love Boat, maybe even seek a real-life shipboard love affair.

But what you might not know is that oftentimes, the real partying and at-sea romances are going down on the lower decks, where the ship’s crew lives and plays.

Young cruise ship crew members know how to unwind. (Photo: iStock)

“It’s just an orgy down below the water line,” says Brian David “B.D.” Bruns, a former cruise ship waiter and author of Cruise Confidential, a series of books based on his life at sea. “The best thing about working on cruise ships — they’re like wild parties. I live in Vegas and I would have to go to a private party to find this kind of behavior.”

Related: Kitchen Confidential: Confessions of a Cruise Ship Waiter

Cruise ship vet B.D. Bruns says his days at sea were a constant party. (Photo: Facebook)

Not to paint all cruise ship crew members as a bunch of randy, drunken party animals. They are, by and large, a dedicated and hard-working bunch who take their work seriously. After all, in addition to being bartenders, servers, housecleaners, cruise directors, salespeople, and the like, they’re also experienced sailors trained in lifesaving techniques and are ready to assist you in an emergency.

That said, it’s a stressful job with long hours (100-hour weeks are not unheard-of) and demanding passengers. So many cruise ship crew members — especially the younger, unmarried service staff — blow off steam the way 20-somethings away from home for the first time typically do: by partying and hooking up with each other like it’s the end of the world.

Related: A First-Timer’s Guide to Cruising

“Think about when you went to college for the first time,” says Bruns. “That sense of freedom, like, ‘Oh my God, Mom and Dad aren’t here looking over my shoulder.’ So you go to town! Well, now amplify that by 10. Because these [crew members] — who are often from Second or Third World countries — lived in a house with their moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, uncles and aunts because they’re from a small village in Indonesia. Suddenly they’re on their own and they’ve never experienced freedom like that.”

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