You Can’t Make this Ship Up

Business Strategies, Life Lessons and True Stories From Forty Years at Sea

All Aboard!

How would you manage and grow your business if you had to live with your team and clients? Paul Rutter is a customer-experience expert and has survived three decades of life at sea as a cruise director for the largest ships in the world.

In You Can’t Make This Ship Up, he recounts the hilarity of life on the high seas and the lessons he learned along the way. These lessons and life-defining moments are the perfect guide for sea and land-based businesses to thrive in a culture based around exceptional customer service.

Could you or your company survive if you had to live with your customers, clients, and coworkers?

Thousands of officers, staff, and crew spend months at a time on board a cruise ship in close quarters, with a short break on land with our families, then we’re back at sea to do it all over again. And our customers are sailing right there with us every day. It’s a life we love. I know I do.

As a Cruise Director for the last thirty years, I have learned many lessons about management, leadership, sales and marketing, driving revenue, and, most of all, respect for the crew members, passengers, and the people who inhabit the places I have visited all over the world. A ship is a microcosm of society and the lessons learned at sea are easily translatable to life and business on land. In fact, I am a frequent speaker and trainer for many companies on how to use the strategies I’ve developed over the years to improve employee engagement and retention; increase sales; and create not just repeat customers or customers for life, but generational customers.

In my latest book, You Can’t Make this Ship Up, we’re going to sail through business implementation strategies like:

  • How to Hire Effectively
  • Personality, work ethic and values fit your company’s culture
  • Shaping your Team Up, or Shipping them Out
  • Upholding Solid Gold Standards
  • How Loose Lips Literally Sink Ships
  • Throwing off the bowlines to take some risks
  • Implementing International naptime

And so many other lessons that I’ve learned during my 40-plus years of working on Cruise Ships.

Get your sea legs, and let’s go on a journey.




You Can’t Make This Ship Up” is highly educational, hilariously entertaining and so incredibly true.

– Captain Marek Slaby, Royal Caribbean International

Who knew a business book could be fun, insightful and useful, all at the same time?

– Sam Horn, CEO of The Intrigue Agency

What a journey! You Can’t Make This Ship Up is a tidal wave of practical business solutions through real-life experiences which are both entertaining and informative.

– Craig Coffey, Television News Anchor / Executive Producer

The lessons learned about employee engagement are spot on, as happy employees make for happy customers.

– Valerie Contreras, Human Resources Manager, Royal Caribbean International

From customer service skills to a good laugh, it’s a must-read for anyone who finds cruise life intriguing. The best stories are the ones you really can’t make up!

–  Sarah Dandashy, Travel & Hospitality Expert, Ask A Concierge



About Paul Rutter

Paul has managed and guided some of the largest and most
luxurious cruise ships in the world, taking him to speak on stages
all over the globe where living with his customers, clients, and
co-workers was a way of life. His time on the high seas has
taught him that approaching customer service with the intent
to exceed his customer’s expectations, rather than just meet
them, higher levels of customer satisfaction, retention, loyalty, and repeat business can be experienced.