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Date Published: March 27, 2013
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Three Cruise Ships Fail CDC Inspection
Courtesy of Mmaxer/Shutterstock.com (2:02 p.m. EST) -- Three cruise ships have failed their first 2013 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention inspections. Celebrity Summit, Golden Princess and SeaDream II all earned scores of less than 86 during their vessel sanitation inspections. Food debris, dead insects and records indicating sick crew members worked while ill contributed to the failures.

The CDC's surprise cruise ship cleanliness exam is conducted twice a year, with an 86 considered passing.

Celebrity Summit - Score 81
In a detailed report compiled after the January 19 surprise inspection of Celebrity Summit, CDC inspectors documented finding dead insects and insect droppings in the storage room of Celebrity Summit's Mast Bar, as well "heavily soiled" front bar counters. The report recommended crew ensure equipment be kept free of any accumulation of dust, dirt, food residue and other debris.

Inspectors also found that records indicating crew, including a "food worker," reported for work after the onset of acute gastroenteritis, working about five hours before reporting to the medical unit. Conflicting medical records showed the worker was in isolation at the time, but the worker's manager insisted the individual "had to have worked during the time period given the documentation."

Additional violations were cited for overloaded washing stations, a dirty glass found among clean dishes, cracked or corroded equipment making cleaning difficult, various log errors and lack of safety or crew instruction signs.

This is the first time Celebrity Summit has failed a CDC inspection since it launched in 2001. Cruise Critic has reached out to Celebrity Cruises for comment.

Golden Princess - Score 81
Crew members working while ill also helped Golden Princess earn a less than satisfactory score on its February 7 inspection. Among the three reported cases were an assistant buffet steward and a spa massage therapist, who both reported for work after experiencing acute gastroenteritis symptoms. Neither went to the medical center until much later. The report recommended that all employees with AGE symptoms be restricted from work and should report to the medical center as soon as symptoms emerge.

Another infraction involved a buffet crew member using his bare hand to move salmon from the edge of a plate into the center. Per vessel sanitary guidelines, all food employees should use suitable utensils to move or touch food.

Additional violations were cited for an inoperable soap dispenser at the hand washing station, soiled cutting boards and waffle makers, soiled grease pan housings on grills and various log errors, among others.

This is the first time Golden Princess has failed a CDC inspection since it launched in 2001. In an official statement, Princess Cruises said, "We regret to confirm Golden Princess received an unsatisfactory score from a recent CDC inspection. As we take this very seriously, we're committed to take immediate corrective action to address the issues and ensure proper measures are in place to prevent this from happening again."

SeaDream II - Score 84
In a report compiled after the January 20 inspection of SeaDream II, CDC inspectors documented discovering that the ship's reverse osmosis unit that supplies water to the ship's potable water system was operated while the ship was anchored consistently almost on a daily basis. Staff explained they had been doing this for years because they need to produce water at anchor because the ship has very little time moving from port to port on itineraries. CDC inspectors reminded crew that reverse osmosis units, distillations plants and other processes that supply potable water should only be operated while a vessel "is making way" and should never be operated in polluted areas, harbors or at anchor.

Other infractions included finding "at least" two items served undercooked, numerous chipped or scratched shelves making cleaning difficult, clean dishes stored in areas that also stored dirty dishes, and the storage of pool chemicals and bleach right next to boxes of water, soda and beer.

SeaDream II previously failed its CDC inspection in February 2002.

In an official statement, SeaDream Yacht Club said, "It is our standard practice to do spot checks on cleaning procedures, cleanliness, stock keeping, working practices, personal hygiene, and the correct handling of food in line with USPH requirements. Historically, both SeaDream I and SeaDream II pass this comprehensive inspection with high marks. It's quite disappointing because SeaDream II lost points on operational procedures; missing a passing score by one point (Editor's note: the ship actually missed by two points). Corrective actions were immediately taken and SeaDream II requested and welcomes a re-inspection."

Two cruise ships have so far earned perfect scores in 2013, including Holland America's Eurodam and Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas.

--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor



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