No one wants to be stricken by a nasty gastrointestinal virus on a cruise. So to keep the traveling public informed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention inspects ships and publishes the results. A score of 85 or lower is consider a “fail.”
Some of the ships on this list are obscure charter operators, but others are familiar to anyone who cruises.
So, without further ado, here are the winners … I mean, losers. (I’ve included an excerpt from the report for your reading enjoyment.)
1. TSS Oceanic (also known as the Peace Boat)
Date of inspection: June 26, 2009
There were trays of sliced cold cuts and cheese that were tested at 46-48.6°F in portable refrigeration unit P30. The thermometer in this unit registered 48°F … Side shields were not provided where crew members line up within one meter of food on display … The sneeze shields were too high because of the depth of the tray slides.
2. Pride of Aloha
Date of inspection: Dec. 21, 2007
The backflow prevention device on the soap dispenser was leaking … The large hotel pan of mixed butter had an internal temperature of 45 °F and another large pan of escargot butter had an internal temperature of 45 °F … Hotel pans of raw tuna and raw cod fish were stored on the same shelf and immediately beside a cold-smoked salmon and cream cheese terrine in the walk-in refrigerator of the Garde Manger.
3. MV Clipper Pacific
Date of inspection: July 14, 2008
A sample was collected for an e. coli test for the water bunkered in New York on 07/13/2008 but this sample still had not been tested on 07/14/2008 and the engineer had the sample in his pocket … There were numerous potable water connections throughout the vessel that were not fitted with backflow prevention devices … There were numerous potable water connections throughout the vessel that were not fitted with backflow prevention devices.
Date of inspection: April 4, 2008
Although medical staff stated that handwashing tips and hygiene information was provided to passengers and crew diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis, this information was handwritten by the medical staff for each case, and no copies were on the vessel for review … Sponges were used throughout the ship in sanitizing solution buckets for wiping following cleaning of food and non-food contact surfaces … The deck at the starboard bar side, beneath the coffee counter was heavily soiled with black tile glue, dirt debris, and there were electrical cords stuck to the deck in the debris which made cleaning difficult.
5. Celebrity Infinity
Date of inspection: Dec. 3, 2008
A travel mug with milk residue, an individual portion size box of cereal and a spoon were stored on the shelf in this room … A food employee was observed tasting food with his finger … A side sneeze shield was not provided on the buffet.