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Entertainers on a locked-down cruise ship had to become cleaners after Covid-19 struck - new book

Business Insider US
The Zaandam cruise ship pulls into Port Everglades.
  • Cruise ship entertainers had to become cleaners when Covid-19 hit, according to a new book.
  • Two dancers carried disinfectant tanks and sprayed corridors daily, Bloomberg reported per the book.
  • The excerpt said the cruise ship was understaffed because workers were ill with the virus.
  • For more stories visit Business Insider.

Entertainers onboard a cruise ship had to take on cleaning jobs when the vessel went into lockdown because of Covid-19, according to a new book.

Cabin Fever, by Michael Smith and Jonathan Franklin, details what happened in March 2020 when the virus spread on Holland America's MS Zaandam cruise ship, according to an excerpt of the book reported by Bloomberg.

The virus had infected many crew members, leaving the ship understaffed, per the excerpt. As a result, entertainers onboard Zaandam were forced to help with disinfecting the interior of the ship.

Some of the jobs involved wiping down surfaces, door handles, handrails, and buttons in elevators with antibacterial handwipes, while others were in charge of filling up dozens of hand sanitizer dispensers, according to Bloomberg's report of the book.

Two dancers had to spray disinfect in corridors on a daily basis from tanks carried on their backs, the book said.

The dancers joked about the job being called the "Covid Buster," a reference to the film "Ghostbusters."

One housekeeper on the ship worked 14-hour shifts to deliver meals to the 716 cabins, the excerpt said, reported by Bloomberg.

A volunteer worker who came from another cruise ship, MS Rotterdam, said there were only 15 staff well enough to take food to guests' cabins, according to the book.

Only 11 workers were available to clean the kitchen, take out trash, and operate the dishwashers, rather than the usual 24 workers, Bloomberg's report said.

Four passengers died on board the Zaandam and dozens more had Covid symptoms on a cruise that began in Argentina and was due to end in Punta Arenas, Chile.

Due to the outbreak nobody was allowed to leave the ship in Chile and passengers without symptoms of the virus were transferred to another cruise liner after a fortnight, Reuters reported at the time. The Zaandam had to travel to Fort Lauderdale to dock.  

Holland America didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

The cruise industry had to rapidly when the pandemic struck. Insider has reported how some crew had to cope with loneliness, a lack of shore leave, and mandatory quarantines.

Some passengers and staff even had to eat rotten food and didn't have enough water, The Washington Post reported.

Others told Mail Online they "felt like lepers" after being forced to isolate in their cabins during Covid-19 outbreaks.



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