Cabin Fever

Michael Smith, Jonathan Franklin


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Octopus Publishing Group
14 July 2022
ISBN: 9781913068738
272 pages

From the publisher

‘The authors of this absorbing book have a strong command of detail, context and narrative structure… the results are impressively claustrophobic.’ – Times Literary Supplement

‘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

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.