Depending on perspective, a 950 foot long cruise ship that fits over 3,000 passengers and around 1,200 crew members can be both very large and very small. For a guest on board for a seven night itinerary with 3 or more port calls, the vessel almost always seems like a vast floating city. For a crew member that spends eight months at a time living out of a crawl space in the bowels of the ship, it can seem like floating on a rubber dingy. Joshua Kinser wants to tell you all about it.
Chronicles of a Cruise Ship Crew Member
The full title to Joshua Kinser’s tell-all about life as a cruise ship employee is Chronicles of a Cruise Ship Crew Member: Answers to All the Questions Every Passenger Wants to Ask. I think he does a pretty good job of it. If you’re a Kindle owner, you can find out for yourself at the ridiculous low price of just $2.99 for the 258 page book. That’s the total price, including taxes. It’s a little less than a bottle of water from a vending machine at the cruise port... Not a Kindle owner? Why the hell not?
Kinser worked for five years on cruise ships on the high seas as a drummer. He worked in the lounge bands. He worked in the show bands. Most importantly, Joshua lived the life of a cruise ship employee. His Kindle book came out in 2012 in the spirit of Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, although not quite as racy. Perhaps, Carnival Corporation has a few more high priced lawyers to keep ex-employees in check than Les Halles restaurant in New York City.
The story is unique in that it gives the straight story of the process Kinser endured to get his first job on a cruise ship. It also gives a pretty descriptive view of life below the waterline, as well as, above. Joshua really leaves his mark with what the cruise ship life does to a person in a philosophical way and how it changed him forever.
What you’ll see through Josh’s eyes when reading ‘Chronicles of a Cruise Ship Crew Member’:
· Living conditions for the crew members (cramped living spaces and poor air quality).
· Enduring Red Alerts when passengers start getting sick (Norovirus).
· The crew bar, mess hall and crew deck – the best on-going party on any cruise ship.
· The vast difference in pay and work hours depending on the job and nationality.
· Rules. Rules. Rules. How life on a cruise ship resembles the strictest private school.
· The love/hate relationship between crew and passengers.
Kinser worked for Carnival Cruises Lines and Princess Cruises, both under Carnival Corporation. A talented drummer from Florida, Joshua first made his way onto a cruise ship as a replacement drummer for a lounge band. Unfortunately, that gig ended soon after with the band all getting fired because of the actions of the drummer that he had replaced.
He has now moved on to become an author, as well as a musician. A Travel Guide to Florida’s Gulf Coast is among his portfolio. Kinser has also written fiction books based on life aboard a, you guessed it, cruise ship.
This book is a must for anyone that has cruised and anyone who is thinking of cruising. Does it give an inside view on how to better enjoy your next cruise? No. What it will do is give you a new appreciation of your Filipino room steward that is working up to 16 hours each day without seeing the sun and getting paid a fraction of the minimum wage for a citizen of the United States or Canada. It will give you a sense of just how much effort is put forth to make the onboard service look effortless.
For me, Joshua went too deeply into the music industry for my liking, but that’s just personal. Others, including my son, would be still asking for more. Also, I felt that Kinser could have gone into some racier details of life down below. As I mentioned above, I felt he was trying for a ‘Kitchen Confidential’ feel but the story was a bit too clean cut for that. Perhaps, there’s more to come?
Seriously though, for $2.99 you’re getting a book that would sell for upwards of $30 in hard cover and at least $10 in paperback. This is a great book and it really does answer the questions that I’m sure everyone that has set foot on a cruise ship has wanted to ask.