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on 17 June 2010
I have nearly gone pop waiting for this to be published! After reading Holiday SOS last summer I couldn't wait to hear about Ben becoming a ships Dr and sailing the 7 seas.

This was as entertaining as the last one and had some terrific characters with interesting stories (all with names changed for obvious reasons - Ben is a Dr after all) but what I found equally as fascinating is how a cruise ship actually works and what is going below decks.

I don't want to give too many specific examples as I am mindful of giving too much away and spoiling it for some people, but I loved the senior Dr on the ship - Edward Marlborough, what a lovely guy the sounded like :) Also the wonderful Mrs Philip and Mr Baxter who was determined to make it to Singapore - you will have to read the book to find out why of course.

This would be a terrific holiday/beach/airport read (I was supposed to be taking mine on holiday on the 1st July but they published it early and I just couldn't contain myself! I read it in less than 24 hours!)

Oh and Dr Ben, if you happen to read this, maybe it would be worth considering staying out of Egypt?
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on 12 July 2010
Just loved this book! really loved the easy, friendly camaraderie between the two doctors and the three nurses. I've worked with a man very like the older doctor, someone who is ready to retire, but who has enjoyed his career so much he is not sure if he really wants to. And it's very clear why this job would be such a hard one to give up. I also loved how the old timers joked with Ben about how quickly he would get hooked on cruise ship life - and how right they were! It was also really nice to read about how different passengers and crew all helped each other and pulled together when required. lots of very heartwarming stories all the way through - but I laughed quite a lot as well. I don't want to give any of the funny stories away - but the italian waiter in particular is hilarious!
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on 20 August 2010
I loved this book.

It chronicles the real life adventures and incidents seen by a cruise ship doctor on a round the world cruise.
The writing syle is very easy and pleaant to read, and incidents are told in such a way as to give enough information without becoming grisly or gruesome. Some parts will make you smile while others may bring a tear to your eye. The narrative flows well and never becomes tedious.

Ben Macfarlanes first book, holiday sos was also hugely enjoyable and I think this one was even better. You get a real feel for the cruise ship life, from the passengers in huge suites through to life in the crew areas below the passenger decks. We meet characters who are hilarious and ridiculous, to others who you wish you could track down in real life and give them a hug - and one or two less pleasant ones also.

This was such an easy to read book as the authors "voice" is so friendly. I read this book cover to cover in one sitting and was dissapointed when I came to the end. I sincerely hope that Ben Macfarlane will continue to write about his medical adventures.

A very good read.
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on 3 October 2010
I bought this book after reading an interview with Ben MacFarlane in Sabado magazine and loved it. After coming back from a cruise earlier this year I was intrigued by how the crew lived and what went on on the other decks that passengers didn't get to see. This book was a real eye-opener and I loved reading about the different workers, their cabins, their lives and their jobs. There is so much on a big cruise ship that we don't see. Thankfully we didn't end up in a medical centre ourselves - but it's good to know what we might have expected if we had! Loved some of the funny stories of the waiters and so on - loved the fact that the book was a real mix of happy and sad. great read if you travel a lot or are going on a cruise anytime soon.
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Have you ever wondered what happens to passengers on a cruise if they are taken ill for any reason? This book tells the story from the point of view of the medical staff on a cruise liner. Doctor Ben Macfarlane, who has also worked as a doctor accompanying patients home when they are taken ill abroad, describes some of the problems he had to deal with on a round the world cruise. You may enjoy his previous book Holiday SOS

There are incidents both funny and sad as well as heart warming and not everyone survives to the end of the cruise. I was surprised at the variety of ailments which were presented to the medical staff. From DTs to Cirrhosis of the liver and severe sunburn which could have resulted in the patient's death as well as people simply forgetting the medication they normally take. Then there were crew members exaggerating their ailments to get a few days off work and patients simulating claustrophobia in order to get an upgrade to a cabin with a window.

I think one of the incidents which stuck in my mind was the man who had gone on the cruise in order to visit Singapore for the first time since the war and pay his respects to his comrades who didn't make it home. He was terminally ill and the medical staff did their best to keep him alive long enough to do what he wanted. I was also touched by the many friendships which were made on board and how willing many people were to help their fellow passengers.

This is an interesting to read though it may prove to be an expensive purchase for me as I would now like to go on a cruise!
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on 29 September 2010
From the first paragraph to the last this book had me hooked. It is such a roller coaster ride of edge of the seat incidents. Superbly written, I got a really good sense of Dr Ben Macfarlane and his colleagues who just came to life on the page. I have an interest in all things medical and enjoyed trying to second guess some of the conditions and problems the cruise ship passengers and crew presented poor Dr Macfarlane with. But even if you are not a medical person this book is simply an exciting mix of people, travel, faraway places, work, relationships and play. What more can you ask for?
Read it and enjoy.
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on 8 September 2010
This is a great book for anyone interested in what it's like on board a cruise ship. Dr. Ben Macfarlane had me hooked from the first page and I found it fascinating to discover what it's like to be part of the medical team on a round the world trip. A cruise ship is just like "Upstairs, Downstairs" - some of the crew aren't even allowed to see the passengers and live and work entirely below the waterline. One nurse even described that section of the ship as being like an open prison! As you read through this book, you feel sorry for some of the people Dr. Macfarlane meets and treats, whilst others leave you reeling with their utter selfishness and irresponsibility. It isn't a story of what really happened on one voyage but a compilation of Dr. Macfarlane's experiences brought together into one book -but it's none the worse for that. I highly recommend it!
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on 9 January 2011
I'm never going to go on a cruise and so I have no real idea why I bought this book other than the fact that I enjoyed BM's other offering 'Holiday SOS'. I recently reviewed 'Down amongst the dead men' (about a mortuary attendant's life) and criticised it because it was just a series of fictional occurrences (which I am sure have happened in reality) strung together to make a book - in my opinion. Cruise Ship SOS is exactly this and BM even confesses that the stories are compounded from his experience and that he didn't really write the book, a ghost writer made his thoughts into a narrative. Therefore I have to admit I can't quite understand why I liked this so much more than the mortuary one.

However I think it might be because this reads like a novel rather than a list, or a primer for post medical school or a diary. I found it so engaging that I read it in three bursts staying up late to finish it because it was in places quite a page turner. The characters were rather good too, admittedly they are not incredibly detailed but I think they are good enough that you have some empathy with them, I did anyway.

Whilst I wouldn't take a cruise it is nice to know that there are excellent helping hands on board should something go minorly or majorly wrong (which it does...frequently!).

I found the book, like his other one, to be quite uplifting and ended up, once again, thinking that there are a lot of decent people out there and if BM really exists then he is a very decent human being.

Well worth a read, I would imagine more so if you have been on a cruise.
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on 5 September 2010
I read one of this authors books before so was looking forward to reading about his adventures onboard.however I found this book a bit boring to be honest.I was disappointed to read that the things in the book were part of seperate trips and not one trip as suggested in the book.I read it quickly and wouldnt recommend it either.Boring, sorry !!
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on 9 September 2010
Reading the reviews on Amazon and seeing a great magazine review I really was looking forward to reading this...I anticipated it to be a good holiday read..just what the Dr ordered!
Instead I read (eventually plodding through it, I can very very rarely leave a book unfinished!)a ghostwritten narrative with stereotypical characters with no real aim or purpose. Supposedly written as a novel it was more like a collection of short anecdotes...very few of which were moving or mildly humourous. I didn't want a challenging book (nothing wrong with a "holiday read" every so often) but this offered no real insight or intrigue.
Very disappointing, dull but at least I finished it..hence 2 stars!
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