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Devils on the Deep Blue Sea:
It's hard to imagine now, but when The Love Boat premiered in 1977, it was considered so sexually suggestive that Princess Cruises almost didn't allow the show to film on its ships because they were afraid it would give people the wrong image. Yet, in the long run, Garin points out, the series proved to be a critical factor in repositioning ocean cruises as an attractive luxury for middle-class consumers. Just a few years ago, Princess and three competitors accounted for almost 90 percent of the cruise industry's $13 billion annual revenues; when Princess began merger talks with Royal Caribbean, rival firm Carnival swooped in, made the deal themselves and wound up controlling more than half the market. Carnival's founder, the late Ted Arison, provides this lively industry history with one of its most engrossing narrative threads, from the running aground of his original flagship's maiden voyage to his emergence as one of the world's wealthiest individuals. But Garin's as interested in the ships themselves as he is in the boardrooms, and he turns up disturbing stories of corrupt labor practices and cover-ups of sexual assaults of passengers by crew members. The solid reporting ensures readers will come away with a healthy respect for Garin's work and for the very powerful industry he documents. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc [via]