I also read this book (it was sent to me to review for free). i found nothing impressive ab out this guy, and in fact ai didn't like him.
The first thing you have to remember is that cruise ships are not subject to American hiring laws, and an American on a cruise ship is going to face the same the issues and American would face overseas working in a country with a heavy tradiitonal of bosses looking out for their own etc.
I thought the author only included that stuff to seem sensationalistic - I don't think we got the whole truth in that situation. Plus I am sure there were people who were there longer and worked harder who deserved to be promoted ahead of him.
One thing I have learned about foreign cultures is that "lying" - as in saying what they think someone wants to hear, is done all the time. The don't do it seriously, its like a cultural thing - like always saying your cousin is pretty. The guy was trying to ask for special favors based on being an American, and cruise ships never give special favors for any reason.