The CDC's surprise ship cleanliness exam is conducted twice a year, with an 86 considered passing.
In a detailed report, compiled after the February 21 inspection of Fascination and posted online this week, CDC inspectors documented several problems with food areas. Among the violations: exposed food items on the top shelf of a buffet area were not protected by a sneeze guard; a pulper in a food preparation room was heavily soiled with food waste; the drain below a juice dispenser in the room service prep room was inaccessible for cleaning and when opened was found to be dirty with several small flies and a roach nymph near the drain.
Inspectors also found one instance of a crewmember who reported for a partial day of work after the onset of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) symptoms. The crewmember wrote in his self-administered questionnaire that he went to the crew mess hall for breakfast, lunch and dinner that day.
The report recommended that employees with AGE symptoms should report to the medical center as soon as the first symptoms appear, be restricted from work and isolated in a cabin or designated restricted area until symptom free for 24 hours.
Additional violations were cited for several instances of corroded equipment, loose piping in the galley and missing and/or cracked tiles.
According to Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen, "Corrective action was taken immediately, with several issues being resolved during the inspection and all issues resolved within 24 hours of the inspection."
Gulliksen also emphasized that no "critical" violations of health regulations were found in the ship's potable water, temperature control, food handling or refrigeration systems.
This is only the second time Carnival Fascination has failed a CDC inspection since it launched in 1994. The last time it failed was June 1997.
Gulliksen told Cruise Critic such a failure is rare. "In the past five years, no Carnival ship has failed a U.S.P.H. inspection and the fleet's average score during that time period is 97. The average over 20 inspections already conducted in 2013 is 97.2."
Since January 2013, a Princess Cruises ship, two Celebrity ships and a SeaDream yacht have all failed a CDC inspection.
--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor