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Garin, Kristoffer A.

Garin, Kristoffer A.

PERSONAL: Male.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Penguin Group, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.

CAREER: Writer and journalist. Reporter for New York Daily News and Journal News, Westchester, NY.

WRITINGS:

Devils on the Deep Blue Sea: The Dreams, Schemes, and Showdowns That Built America's Cruise Ship Empires, Viking (New York, NY), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS: Journalist Kristoffer A. Garin examines the rust beneath the gleaming exterior of the cruise ship industry in his expose, Devils on the Deep Blue Sea: The Dreams, Schemes, and Showdowns That Built America's Cruise Ship Empires. Prior to the 1970s, ocean cruises were generally seen as the boring domain of the elderly, the retired, and the idle. However, the popularity of the 1970s television show The Love Boat helped generate increased interest in cruises. During the 1980s, the industry grew quickly, with Carnival Cruise Lines among the most prominent. Millions of eager customers came on board, waiting for the chance to mingle with other passengers, see distant ports, and experience a carefree trip away from their worries on solid ground.

The images of nonstop parties and luxurious accommodations in exotic locations hide a grimmer, bleaker truth, however. The cruise-ship industry, Garin reveals, has for decades operated fully within the economic brackets of the United States, where passengers are willing to pay top prices for trips, but outside the oversight of the U.S. government. The ships often maintain minimal headquarters in Florida, but operate under "flags of convenience," issued by impoverished countries such as Panama and Liberia, where the governments are concerned with little more than the registry fees and other income the ships will generate. This foreign association allows cruise-ship companies to avoid paying any U.S. taxes, inflating their profits to margins unseen in other industries. "Garin's most fascinating pages investigate the shadowy ways in which the industry is allowed to operate and to pay almost no taxes," commented a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Garin notes that today's cruise industry, "since its modern incarnation in the early 1970s, has managed to operate outside the laws that govern most other U.S. businesses," commented Dean Foust in Business Week. "Even the author seems amazed by the extent to which the cruise lines remain unregulated, untaxed, and simply unaccountable to anyone."

"More troubling, perhaps, is the degree to which these moguls of the high seas have been able to operate largely by their own labor and safety codes," Foust noted. The companies often hire laborers from third-world countries, such as Indonesia or the Philippines, who toil out of sight of the paying customers and whose working conditions are often difficult and dangerous.

Other scandals routinely haunt the cruise industry. Garin recounts instances of wastewater being dumped into pristine Caribbean oceans; unsanitary conditions that lead to food poisoning; low-quality on-board health care; and ships being allowed to sail despite being in barely-serviceable condition. Garin "dwells on these shortcomings at length, and on the industry's furious efforts to fight bad publicity and potential Congressional oversight," commented Roger Moore in the Orlando Sentinel. A reviewer on the Curled Up with a Good Book Web site called the book a "funfilled, fact-rich romp amongst the modern pirates of commerce."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Business Record (Des Moines, IA), August 1, 2005, review of Devils on the Deep Blue Sea: The Dreams, Schemes, and Showdowns That Built America's Cruise Ship Empires, p. 21.

Business Week, July 18, 2005, Dean Foust, "Not Exactly the Love Boat," review of Devils on the Deep Blue Sea, p. 92.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2005, review of Devils on the Deep Blue Sea, p. 523.

Orlando Sentinel, July 20, 2005, Roger Moore, review of Devils on the Deep Blue Sea.

ONLINE

Curled Up with a Good Book, http://www.curledup.com/ (October 19, 2005), review of Devils on the Deep Blue Sea.

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