The cover illustration depicts a giant shark with red streaks near its jaws (possibly blood) in the foreground. Behind the shark is a sunken cruise ship, and debris littered on the ocean floor.
YOU CRUISE, YOU LOSE!
You're on a two-week cruise to Japan with a friend — and no parents! Par-ty! This should be a total blast — if you can survive the deadliest cruise ever. A man on board claims the ship is really a laboratory for evil experiments. Experiments that turn passengers into gross fish-creatures! Now the man is planning to blow up the ship! Should you warn the captain or hit the water?
If you stay on board, will you be turned into a giant shrimp? If you jump overboard will you be able to survive the killer sharks? The choice is yours in this scary GOOSEBUMPS adventure that's packed with over 20 super-spooky endings!
You and your friend, Glenn, take a two-week cruise to Japan. A fellow passenger says that people are doing experiments on the boat that are causing passengers to turn into fish-like creatures and he is therefore going to blow the ship up. You have to choose between telling the captain about the bomb threat and jumping off in order to get away from the explosion. If you and Glenn follow the passenger, you see the results of some of the experiments and have to defeat the one in charge of the operation. If the ship blows up, you meet a group of new friends and you all have to work together to survive.
You and Glenn meet up with a passenger who explains he will blow up the ship with everyone on it because passengers were being turned into gross fish creatures. He then explains that the cruise was run by someone named "The Boss", who is the one turning the passengers into the creatures. Two burly crewmen take him away and explains that they are taking him into a place called "The Room", where The Boss is working. The crewmen spot you and Glenn. You and Glenn split up and talk to a woman named Mrs Bass about the passenger's story. Another passenger named Mr Smith tells you not to tell the captain, but you do anyway. You and Glenn find more creatures on the way to The Room. When you and Glenn reach The Room, you meet Mrs. Bass and Mr. Smith. Mrs Bass tells you to spray a fire extinguisher in The Boss' eyes. However, you and Glenn have to choose wisely ...
The ship blows up and a lifeboat takes Glenn, while the other takes you. The people on the boat are four teenagers who were on the cruise. Their names were revealed to be Bob, Steve, Judy, and Hal. All the five of you have a little supply of food and water, but all of you can still survive the adventure. When you spot a far away island, Hal and Judy get thrown off of the boat. At the island, hostile strangers force you three to take the "test", which turns out to be dangerous. Steve betrays you and Bob, and you escape on a boat alone. However, you still have to go home, but you are exactly far away from "home".
List of endings
There are eighteen bad endings and eight good endings.
- Dying of paralyzing poison.
- Being eaten alive by a gigantic lobster.
- During a magic show, you're eaten up by a tiger.
- Washed up in very hot water.
- A plane flies by and drops a parachute. You think that the parachute is some sort of care package, but instead, it's a nuke.
- You decide to swim to Glenn. He turns out to be holding a piece of wood that is not big enough for the both of you. You then try to swim to a lifeboat, but it turns out you are sinking.
- A piranha is ready to have a meal with Glenn as the main course and you as dessert.
- You crash your canoe into an iceberg and freeze.
- A shark eats you, Hal, Judy, Bob, and Steve.
- Glenn smacks you on the back for doing a great job. But Glenn smacked you too hard and you fall deep underwater from the top of the ship.
- Crushed inside the ship's garbage compactor.
- Drowned when a riptide sends you out to sea.
- A Komodo Dragon eats your arm.
- Tribespeople make you their new chief. You live happily for many years, but then get killed when a volcano destroys the island.
- Getting poisoned while playing a game of darts. Another competitor threw the dart at your arm. It looks like an accident, but as you lie dying, the ship's doctor tells you this is what you deserve for getting in the way of their plans.
- Sentenced to life imprisonment for smuggling. But the judge takes your age into account, so you have only one life sentence to serve instead of two.
- You and Glenn decide to go after a passenger without any help. The ship's steward finds you and throws you and Glenn in a small cabin without food and water. You have dehydrated to death by the time the ship reaches Japan.
- Getting eaten as a jumbo shrimp.
- You find a chest full of jewels and doubloons, but are never rescued, and have to stay on the island forever. However, when you die of old age, you'll still be the richest person on the island.
- You end up going home but smell like fish.
- Arriving in California and taken to a fancy sushi restaurant.
- When playing a game of mini-golf, everyone applauds you and you become a mini-golf pro.
- Dolphins attract a U.S. Navy ship. The ship drops you off in Hawaii and you spend time at the Marina Institute.
- Tom Bosco, who's turned into a giant turtle, insists you keep him as a pet. It turns out he is a lawyer, so to repay the reader for his tank and turtle food, he does your parents' taxes and helps sue the cruise line.
- A tartar sauce company founded by you, Glenn, and Henri becomes a huge worldwide success, and eventually you become rich and famous.
- A tortoise takes you to the Galapagos Islands; from there you will volunteer for science.
- You end up going home but smell like fish.
- The title is a reference to Plato's "ship of fools" allegory.
- Despite the title, there are actually no ghosts on the ship. (If "ghoul" simply refers to any monster, it should be noted that there are humanoid fish creatures in one possible plot.)
- In 1999, several websites listed the title of this book as "Deadly Cruise", suggesting this was the book's working title.
- None of the endings allow you to reach Japan and go on the vacation you were supposed to have.
- The ending involving Glenn not letting you get on his piece of drifttwood is inspired by the scene on that wooden door in the James Cameron movie Titanic. Ironically, as cold as the Arctic Ocean was in comparison to the middle of the Pacific Ocean in this story, you still die a rather cold death considering your best friend coldly tells you not to get on his piece of driftwood.
- This book references The Love Boat.