• Monika Satote

Seems like smooth sailing by Sam Catling : Book Review

Updated: Aug 17, 2020

Seems like smooth sailing is a comedy memoir of Sam Catling on the realities of working on a cruise ship. Honestly, I was expecting it to be only informative and technical read, but this turned out to be one of the most entertaining and engaging reads for me.


This book is an assemblage of experiences of Sam’s life on a cruise ship as an entertainment host. It takes into account the series of events right from his day one on a cruise to the end of his first ship contract. In this book, Sam talks to the reader directly as the entire book in a first-person. We not only get to know about life on a cruise but also about the author's personality.


Genuinely, I had no idea what it’s like to work or vacation on a cruise. So, this was a very informative read for me. Now when I say informative, it does not come with numbers or technical details but with a lot of experiences.

“In every job that must be done. There is an element of fun, you find the fun, aaaand snap! The job’s a game!” - Mary Poppins

Sam, being the youngest crew member ( a mere lad of 19) among entertaining hosts, had some privileges and an equal amount of challenges. He did struggle to fit in the crew, make his mark, know his job well etc, but he had a lot of fun too. He came across many people and had many new experiences. Some good, some bad. So, of course, it’s not as easy as it looks to be an entertainer on a cruise. Many people do not consider it to be a ‘real job’ and name it - just an extended vacation. That is why Sam titled his book ‘seems like smooth sailing’ as a sarcastic response to those who would assume the job to be an easy one.

On cruise ship - Every night is Friday night, and every morning is Monday morning.’

My reading experience was amazing. I was laughing out loud while reading almost all the incidents. Especially when Sam mentions the type of people he meets on the cruise and the types of questions ( mostly stupid) they ask. He literally dedicated a chapter to it. Can you imagine? I loved how candidly he described everything, and he even mentioned some of his embarrassing encounters without any hesitation.


The language of this book is very simple. As an entertainer himself, Sam has a great storytelling ability, and this book is the evidence. Along with the funny stories, this book also mentions some eye-opening incidents from Sam's life.

The only thing I did not like is this book contains some grammatical errors. With proper editing, this book can become one of the most fun memoirs one can read.


If you are someone who is looking for a short and easy read, or if you have doubts about going on a cruise, then this book is for you. This book will probably guide you a little if you are planning to work on a cruise. Overall, I liked the book.


The stories I tell are far more relatable (I hope) and even though most of them have no real point, life lesson or moral outcome. I wouldn’t be doing my job as an entertainer, if I didn’t try to make you laugh. This is not the Hero’s journey, this is the fool’s trundle.

- Sam Catling, Author of Seems like Smooth Sailing.




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