• Neighborhood Reads

Laurie's Pick: "Cabin Fever" by Michael Smith and Jonathan Franklin


When Holland America’s cruise ship Zaandam set sail from Buenos Aires, it was loaded with 1200 passengers and 600 crew members. Everyone was anticipating a trip of a lifetime. Many of the passengers were over 65 and had saved for months to afford this trip. Most had heard about the Covid 19 virus on the news, but Holland America assured them that all precautions were being taken. An escape at sea seemed like the perfect diversion, and the cruise line was offering no refunds.


Shortly after setting sail, the world’s ports began to shut down. Passengers began to feel sick. There were only 2 doctors on board and very few medical supplies. Soon passengers were confined to their cabins, and no one wanted to offer them safe harbor. Cabin Fever follows the ship as it sails from port to port, begging for supplies and a place to unload critical patients.


This book is categorized as nonfiction, but it reads like a bizarre dystopian novel. I was amazed by all the heroes. The captain was relentless in his search for a port. The doctors worked night and day, with very few supplies or knowledge of the virus. The crew, many who were sick themselves, struggled to prepare and deliver meals and linens. The passengers endured isolation for weeks while clinging to their roommates. Many perished.


This book is a must for anyone who enjoys cruising. It is also a tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of these courageous people.


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