"In the past month we were surprised to have both the Grande Mariner and the Grande Caribe fail to pass their yearly VSP inspections. Blount Small Ship Adventures has a very strong inspection record and always puts our customer's health and safety concerns first. Most of the deficiencies in each ship were fixed at time of inspection, and the remaining deficiencies have already been addressed. On October 17, the Grande Mariner scored a passing grade of 91 on its follow-up inspection. We anticipate that the Grande Caribe will pass the re-inspection just as the Grande Mariner did. In the future we hope to work more closely with the CDC to avoid this type of situation."
(October 24, 11:45 a.m. EDT) -- More bad news for Blount Small Ship Adventures. Ten days after its 100-passenger Grande Mariner failed a CDC sanitation inspection, Grande Caribe, the other ship in its fleet, also failed.
Flies, a heavily "soiled" microwave and refrigerator, dirty pans, higher-than-required storage temperatures and 34 other violations earned Grande Caribe a score of 81. An 86 is the minimum passing score.
In its report, CDC inspectors documented observing "several live house flies" flying in the galley and landing on food preparation surfaces and equipment. Inspectors also reported the inside of the microwave and the reach-in refrigerator were soiled with old food residue. The bottom corners and sides of the refrigerator, in particular, were the most notably soiled.
The report also cited several hotel pans, which having been previously cleaned and sanitized, were still soiled with leftover food residue. Additionally, there were previously cleaned pots and pans stored on shelves that were soiled with dirty, old food residue and other debris.
Inspectors also found air temperatures were not adequately monitored, resulting in instances of temperatures exceeding the required holding temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit – as high as 47 degrees.
The ship was previously inspected March 23, 2012, when it scored a 91.
--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor