The harrowing story of the Zaandam cruise ship, which set sail with a deadly and little-understood stowaway – Covid-19 – days before the world shut down in March 2020. A story of human kindness, peril and bravery.
In early 2020, the world was on edge. An ominous virus was spreading and no one knew what the coming weeks would bring. Far from the hotspots, the cruise ship Zaandam was preparing to sail from Buenos Aires loaded with 1,200 passengers – British, American, Australian, European and South American tourists, plus 600 crew. Most passengers were over the age of 65.
There was concern about the virus in the news but that was oceans away. Escaping to sea at the ends of the earth for a few weeks seemed like it might be a good option. The cruise line had said the voyage would go ahead as scheduled and it would be safe.
Within days, people aboard the Zaandam began to fall sick. The world’s ports shut down. Zaandam became a top story on the news and was denied safe harbour everywhere. With only two doctors aboard and few medical supplies to test for or treat Covid-19, and with dwindling food and water, the ship wandered the oceans on an unthinkable journey.
Cabin Fever is a riveting narrative thriller, taking readers behind the scenes of the ship’s complex workings, and below decks into the personal lives of passengers and crew who were caught unprepared for the deadly ordeal that lay ahead. It is a story layered with moments of peril, perseverance and kindness. A remarkable tale that is filled with individual acts of heroism and the struggles and the tragedies of the crew and passengers.
My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the place on the tour. I was meant to be reviewing this but unfortunately was prevented from doing so by a technology fail. I hope to be able to read and review at another time but in the meantime I’m shining a light on Cabin Fever for the blog tour. I’ve been a lover of cruise holidays for many years and I’m really very interested in reading this.
What others are saying about the book
‘Gripping… The authors skillfully capture the fear and claustrophobia. A riveting real-life drama.’ – Kirkus
‘Cabin Fever is riveting, taut, and extensively researched. Smith and Franklin have written a page-turning adventure that will keep you reading late into the night.’ – Martin Dugard, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Taking Paris
‘A gripping account of how an invisible stowaway – the Covid-19 virus – transformed a fun-filled luxury cruise into an unimaginable nightmare.’ – Sara Gay Forden, bestselling author of House of Gucci
‘Extensive first-hand testimony and the authors’ brisk, matter-of-fact style enrich this propulsive account of how a holiday cruise turned into a nightmare. Readers will be riveted.’ – Publishers Weekly
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Michael Smith is an award-winning investigative reporter at Bloomberg Businessweek. His stories document financial crimes, the business of narcotics and human trafficking, and environmental and labour abuses in corporate supply chains. Smith has won dozens of awards over his 30-year career, including the prestigious George Polk, Maria Moors Cabot, Robert F. Kennedy and Overseas Press Club prizes. Recently, he has reported extensively on the Covid outbreaks on cruise ships. He is based in Miami. Cabin Fever is his first book. Twitter: @SmithMarkets.
Jonathan Franklin is an award-winning public speaker, investigative journalist and author. Franklin’s previous books include A Wild Idea, 438 Days: An extraordinary story of survival at sea (now under development as a major motion picture) and The 33, the inside account of the dramatic Chilean mining rescue and a US bestseller. A native of New Hampshire, he splits his time between Portland, Maine and Punta de Lobos, Chile where he lives with his wife and daughters. Twitter: @FranklinBlog