If you've ever wondered what it's like to work on a big cruise ship, pick up a copy of the book "Cruise Confidential: A Hit Below the Waterline: Where the Crew Lives, Eats, Wars, and Parties. One Crazy Year Working on Cruise Ships" by Brian David Bruns.
I couldn't put it down during a transatlantic crossing last fall on the Queen Mary 2.
Bruns worked for Carnival Cruise Lines for a year, making him the only American in Carnival's history to work a full contract in the ships' restaurants. That gives you a sense of how difficult and draining life on a ship can be. It can also be one giant party, which helps make it so draining.
If the behind-the-scenes part of a cruise interests you, Ruby Princess offers the Ultimate Ship Tour for $150 a person. You'll get an up close look at parts of the ship normally verboten to guests. My one complaint: I didn't get to see the crew's cabins. After reading Bruns' book, I was intrigued to say the least...