Olympic gold medalist Hope Solo has vindicated what I’ve been saying since I wrote Cruise Confidential. Alas, it did not involve meeting the sexy sports legend, but merely her quote. A highly relevant quote.
“There’s a lot of sex going on,” she stated to ESPN in July. "With a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you want to build memories, whether it's sexual, partying, or on the field. I've seen people having sex right out in the open. On the grass, between buildings, people are getting down and dirty."
She was talking about the Olympic Village, but if you inserted ‘crew cabins’ she would have been right on the money. Swimmer Ryan Lochte—another multiple gold medalist—backed Solo up, stating he believes "70 percent to 75 percent of Olympians” hook up behind the scenes, adding slyly, "Hey, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do."
But these are Olympians, humans who do stuff daily the rest of us would find impossible, right? Enter your cruise ship waiters. They work every day, all day, for up to ten months straight. Sure, the time-clocks say only 80 hours a week, but we all know that doesn’t include time spent guarding your station from roving packs of waiters, hungry for your saucers and side plates. Many of us showed up an hour early before every shift, and most days that’s three shifts. All that’s on top of boat drill: both passenger’s and crew’s.
Yet crew still find plenty of time to hook up, and not necessarily in their cabins, either. I’ve seen crew going at it on open decks (a particularly wild crew party on Carnival Fantasy comes to mind...). At sea the reasons for this wild abandon are very much the same as in Olympic Village. Despite coming from every corner of the globe, everybody is there for the same reason. They’re all far from home, working hard at something nobody back home can possibly relate to. All are generally young, generally attractive, and generally can’t get on board unless proven squeaky-clean.
And ships provide free condoms for the crew.
More than 100,000 condoms were distributed to athletes for the London Olympics, according to Yahoo contributor David C. Cutler. It took only one week for athletes at the Olympic Village at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games to run out of the 70,000 condoms supplied. See? Similarities between Olympians and crew are rising. Funny how cruise lines won’t reveal just how many condoms they distribute. Those of us who lived below the waterline certainly know.
Working on a cruise ship is a work-hard, play-hard lifestyle. For most of us, it’s only for a short period in our lives, when we’re young and adventurous. Why not make the most of it? You have a world-wide smorgasbord of bodies to choose from, probably for the only time in your life. That’s worth losing a little sleep over. And for those who still don’t believe that crew can party like Olympians and still function in the morning, I offer Hope’s parting words to ESPN:
"When we were done partying, we got out of our nice dresses, got back into our stadium coats and, at 7 a.m. with no sleep, went on the TODAY show drunk."
By Brian David Bruns, author of national best-seller Cruise Confidential.
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