Below The Waterline
- Crew Member Tells All
By Steven Barber
Crime Editor for the Sydney Morning Herald
Printed January 26, 2007
Paperback - 304 pages
$24.13 - Buy it at Amazon
To some degree, I think many people in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand can relate to Steven C. Barber, AKA Steven Charles Wharton at least when they were in or had recently graduated from college.
Barber, a flighty bird, hatched into a gold feather-lined nest, like a chicken with his head cut off, hell-bent on blindly navigating his own flight path through the rough skies and seas of the world, out from under the protective wing of his mother and heavily-weighted, pecking bill of his father, flies the coop, off on an adventure of a lifetime.
Like a seagull, looking to consume whatever life is willing to serve up to him, with as little expelled effort as possible, he begins his adventure far from his flock, sailing the high seas. As he flies from one cruise line to another, soaring to ever higher levels of misdeeds, he discovers there is more to cruise ships, than iron, paint, wood and brass, a perfect haven for the foul acts of fowl.
There are times the pages offer up rib-splitting moments, other times his tale evokes anger, and somewhere in between a few tears are shed, for various reasons, though never shed for him. He is a man you can love to hate, or hate to love and he is a new partner with Cruise Bruise. I welcome him aboard.
You may find his behavior reckless, dangerous, immoral, unethical and even disgusting while being sprinkled high and low with acts that are illegal in most countries. No matter what you feel, Below The Waterline gives all passengers an eye-opener into the behavior of those who work aboard cruise ships.
To say it is not pretty, would be to discredit Barber's book. The fact is, the tales in this book are sinfully ugly, like a ten inch cancerous mole growing on the face of a child molesting preacher. It serves as warning to all, of the treachery within.
After reading the book, it is hard to say who you will loath more, the cruise industry as a whole, a certain cruise line, those who supervised Barber or Barber himself. You may end up just wanting to take a long hot shower, to cleanse yourself of the dirt that is eyeball deep within the pages of this book.
For those who are hungry to break as many laws in as many countries as possible, it is a how-to-guide for the masses of renegades. For those who actually thought there was a difference between a Love Boat and a Sex Boat, you will discover that there is no LOVE on any of these "Boats", but plenty of love of sex, drugs and rock and roll, if you know where to look, Below The Waterline.
Though Barber has been thrown off cruise ships nineteen times, his critique of the incidents show an overall unwillingness of the industry to turn a blind eye to misbehavior by those who work aboard their ships, depending on who is being caught and who is catching them.
Should a staff member have his assignment terminated because he received oral sex in a public area of the ship and got caught by security? I think most would say, "Yes!". But, that was not the reason Barber lost his assignment on this particular occasion. It was instead because a passenger complained to corporate about the type of music he was offering as a DJ in the ship's lounge, just not to her liking.
Barber was nailed for dancing while working as a DJ. He was dancing while he was serving up music, which was really more like bopping to the music. For that, he was raked over the coals and given "Strike One" in a " Three Strikes You're Out system. The only problem with that incident, was the fact that it was really Strike Two, after being caught having sex in a lifeboat. This particular assignment's adventures pale in comparison to some of the acts in his past stretch-the-limits lifestyle.
Whether corporate deals with a heavy hand or not when it comes to those who work aboard their vessels, one thing is clear. The ships have a reputation among crew, and it is not good from a moral standards point of view.
Barber's book discusses various cruise lines, and their standards or lack there of with specific incident story telling. His critique of the industry is blunt, honest, to the point, with no punches pulled. He names names, full names.
While Steven Barber is telling this story, it could be told with similar details from any one of millions of men who work aboard or take vacations aboard any number of cruise ships. This is the type of man mothers warn their daughters about. You can really only do that thoroughly, if you read the book.