Silversea Cruises Responds to CDC Failure

July 26, 2013

Update, 8:15 a.m. EDT: Silversea has released more information about its response to the CDC inspection on its Facebook page, including the fact that CCTV is being placed in "appropriate" corridors to ensure no foodstuffs or other equipment is brought into crew accommodation areas.

Additionally, the line confirmed that: "the individuals responsible for this situation are no longer with Silversea." The line did not identify the names or positions of the crew members let go.

Silversea also admitted that its management "has to take its share of responsibility... Our investigation indicates that, in the Silver Shadow situation, some of our staff made an impulsive decision, and we need to look at what happened, who found it necessary to authorise such activity and how we can avoid having this situation happen again."

(July 25, 11:00 a.m. EDT) -- Silversea Cruises has increased training for its food handling crew and brought in an external sanitation consultant to work with the line after Silver Shadow failed a surprise CDC inspection June 17.

"Since the preliminary report was given to us, a full investigation has been carried out into the circumstances which led to this unsatisfactory result," the luxury line's C.E.O. Enzo Visone said in a prepared statement. "A number of steps have been taken to ensure that the standards of food hygiene, in particular are of the highest order."

The fact that crew engaged in an organized effort to hide violations, which Visone referred to as "other issues," also was "rigorously dealt with," he said.

As part of its investigation into the CDC failure, Visone said the line brought an external sanitation consultant onboard the ship during a sailing to work with managers as they go through every aspect of the report.

Additionally, extra training was provided to all food handlers and supervisors, butlers, cooks, waiters and bar staff to reinforce company procedures.

"Implicit in this training," he said, "was that no food or food equipment is, at any time, permitted in cabins or non-designated areas."

Management also has introduced an anonymous call system through which any member of staff can report "failings of procedure" to senior managers without fear of reprisal.

Visone also offered specific details about the health inspection failure not included in the CDC report.

The inspection occurred at the end of a breakfast period and Visone claims the pots, pans and utensils were on working stations and items to return to the galleys were on trolleys, as were refrigerated items so they would be ready for use.

"It is clear that when the galley staff heard that inspectors were on board, instead of continuing their work in the understanding that they were in the middle of a meal service, they tried to quickly remove all trolleys and any items not in the fridges and place them in cabins out of the way. It goes without saying that such practices are against company policy and should not have happened."

A CNN article, however, implies such infractions are more widespread that Visone indicates.

Visone did not say whether anyone was fired by the company for the "organized effort" (as the CDC wrote in its report) to avoid inspection.

According to Visone's statement there will be another inspection by the Coast Guard before Silver Shadow leaves Alaska at the end of August. "We believe and trust the results of any follow-up inspection will demonstrate Silversea's commitment to maintain the best standards in sanitation and hygiene on board its fleet."

--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor