Celebrity's Century Flunks CDC Inspection

December 6, 2004
Celebrity Cruises' Century was recently found wanting by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Vessel Sanitation inspection crew after a look-see in November. The ship scored a 79, which is seven points below a passing grade. While most of Century's infractions would merit an eye-lowering snooze from most cruise travelers -- the ship was docked for things like "PW system halogen analyzer maintained, operated, calibrated" -- there are a few that just might wake them up again.

The worst infractions, from a traveler's point of view, fall under the ship-needs-a-good-exterminator" category. The Lido galley, for instance, was docked three points when an inspector wrote in the CDC's report that "adult and juvenile roaches were noted in the galley under a refrigerator, under the blast chiller and in the potwash area." The inspector also spied "roaches in these areas were crawling on the deck, bulkhead and deckhead."

The pesky insects were also spotted in the ship's butcher shop, where the inspector observed two cockroaches "in the blade compartment of the butcher saw."

This is the first time since Century's launch in 1996 that the ship failed; up until now, the ship's twice yearly inspection has always merited strong 90-plus scores (86 is passing).

On Celebrity's part, executives there seemed appropriately horrified. Dietmar Wertanzl, the company's senior vice president of fleet operations, issued a statement:

"As you can appreciate, I am extremely disappointed with the results of the recent U.S. Public Health inspection onboard Century. I can assure you that this is very much an exception versus the rule. The results do not represent Celebrity's high sanitation standards, nor what we continuously seek to achieve onboard our ships. I also can assure you that we are taking all the steps necessary to ensure that this situation does not occur again."

Wertanzl says that a corrective action plan has already been submitted to U.S. Public Health and Century is slated to be inspected again within 30 days. "Rest assured," he added, "our corrective action plan is aggressive, with the sole purpose of obtaining results that live up to Celebrity Cruises' and Century's excellent standards and stellar reputation."

Indeed, a search on the most recent inspections of other Celebrity ships reveals Century's score to be an anomaly, with Summit (99), Zenith (92), Millennium (94), Horizon (95) and Galaxy (96) all receiving healthy report cards.

In other CDC-related news, we reported this summer that Windjammer's Legacy had failed its test with a 76; that ship has not yet been re-inspected. And Carnival's Fantasy, which scored an 83 (still below passing) this autumn, also has not gotten the all-clear via a second look by the CDC's Vessel Sanitation crew.

On a more positive note, we're pleased to report that Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas, Crystal Serenity and Silversea's Silver Whisper all aced recent inspections with perfect scores of 100.