Cabin Fever: The Harrowing Journey of a Cruise Ship at the Dawn of a Pandemic

Doubleday. Jun. 2022. 272p. ISBN 9780385547406. $30. HEALTH
It is the early days of 2020 and people are closely watching an ominous virus. But cruise ships are still in operation. The Zaandam, a Holland America cruise dedicated for older people, takes on its globe-spanning passengers in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for a trip around the South American continent. What starts out as a normal cruise quickly becomes a nightmare as COVID hits both passengers and crew. As ports close to the ship, lockdowns begin, and passengers start dying, an international diplomatic scramble ensures to try and help the stranded ship and the people on board before things get worse. Smith and Franklin follow the story from all angles, the passengers, the crew, the officers, and those on land, including families and diplomats, to create a poignant and timely narrative. The writing makes readers feel as if they are there, weathering the ups and downs and unbelievable turns of fate of those on board. It is a riveting true story that will keep people turning pages until the end.
VERDICT A harrowing thriller that brings the wide-ranging impacts of the COVID pandemic into the microcosmic enclosed world of a cruise ship.
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