April 23, 2001
It used to be a big-deal novelty when a cruise ship scored a perfect 100 on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's notoriously tough sanitation inspection. No more, it would seem, as two more ships have attained perfection, at least in terms of food storage and handling, sanitation, cleanliness and the other myriad areas checked out by the CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program. They are? Norwegian Dream, the circa 1992 ship, which was inspected earlier this month, and Oriana, a P&O ship (launched in the mid-90s). Oriana nearly made the honor list last time around; last fall she nailed a 99. On the other side of the spectrum it's been less than titillating to see who's flunked as fewer and fewer cruise ships (particularly those known to American travelers) are achieving that dubious distinction. Currently there are just four and none are household names on these shores: the Vistamar, Topaz, Aegean I and Pacific Venus.