Thursday, July 31, 2008

Permanent Passenger

Book Review

Reading much like the cruise ship version of the British drama Upstairs, Downstairs, Micha Berman takes the reader behind the scenes of his life as an assistant cruise director in Permanent Passenger: My Life on a Cruise Ship.

While finishing his last year of college, Micha began a quest to find a career that was "nontraditional in a creative atmosphere, providing opportunities to speak to crowds, be with young people and included travel". He remembered watching Love Boat as a child and decided the job Julie McCoy had was the one for him. He set off on a one-man campaign to get a position as an assistant cruise director. His description of how he organized and conducted his job search would make any career counselor beam.

Securing his dream job with Carnival Cruise Line, Micha embarked on an eleven-month ride on the M.S. Ecstasy. This behind the scenes tale provides information to anyone interested in a career at sea. Micha describes the different occupations of the 800-member crew on the ship. He also describes the hierarchy, behind the scene intrigue, loves and fights that occur unbeknownst to the thousands of passengers.

It is also fascinating reading for the cruise ship enthusiast who would like to learn more about what happens below deck. Most of the crew is invisible to the guests. They come from a wide array of countries and live almost in a caste system based on their country of origin and occupation. You will learn the most dreaded position on the ship. It may surprise you. While the crew may be virtually invisible to the passengers they serve, they are people who share in the joys and challenges of living in close quarters at sea.

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