Two More Upscale Cruise Ships Fail June CDC Inspection

August 29, 2013
(12:05 p.m. EDT) -- A second and third upmarket cruise ship failed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention inspections in June, the same month that Silversea's Silver Shadow also flunked its inspection.

Both Regent's Seven Seas Navigator and Un-Cruise Adventures' Safari Endeavour earned scores of less than 86 during their vessel sanitation inspections. Poor record keeping, food handling, storage and debris violations all contributed to the failures.

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

Regent Seven Seas Navigator - Score 79
The detailed CDC report, compiled after a June 16 inspection in Skagway, Alaska, and posted online this month, is dominated by record keeping violations, including those related to the quality of drinking water and food temperature control. CDC inspectors reminded crew to maintain records on all inspection and cleaning procedures, as well as written time control plans to ensure compliance with food temperature requirements.

But CDC inspectors also did find food debris on servingware, buffets items offered without serving utensils, food kept out too long and "one small fruit fly" hovering above food. Inspectors recommended the crew ensure that the surfaces of utensils, room service trays and dinnerware are kept clean.

Seven Seas Navigator has passed every other inspection but one in December 1999 since it launched.

Regent Seven Seas' President Kunal S. Kamlani posted a message on the line's Cruise Critic forum to provide more detail.

"Seven Seas Navigator's June 16th, 2013 USPH inspection score was a huge disappointment to all of us and illustrates the need for constant vigilance and adherence to established procedures. Immediately after we received the inspection results, we took corrective action on all items and terminated the contracts of the Head Chef and the Food and Beverage Manager," he wrote. "We are pleased to report that subsequent to the June inspection, both the Canadian Authorities and the USPH re-inspected Navigator on August 7th and August 25th, respectively. Seven Seas Navigator scored a 95 on the USPH inspection and a 97 on the Canadian inspection."

Added Kamlani, "We do not tolerate sloppy operations or lack of adherence to established procedures. We will do everything within our control to prevent a repeat of this unfortunate event in the future."

Safari Endeavour - Score 81
Poor record keeping also helped Safari Endeavour earn a less than satisfactory score on its June 16 inspection in Juneau, Alaska. But inspectors also documented personal crew drinks in food preparation areas, food debris on otherwise clean utensils and dinnerware, and cracked or corroded equipment making cleaning difficult.

Inspectors reminded crew that employees must eat and drink only in designated areas where the contamination to exposed food, clean equipment and utensils or other items needing protection cannot occur.

Inspectors also discovered beer, wine, liquor and tea stored in areas not designated as food storage areas, including the forward potable water tank room and bow thruster room. Health regulations require food and drink to be stored away from possible contaminations in designated rooms.

The ship also received several citations for not doing pH adjustments or testing to the potable (drinking) water system and lack of record keeping. A violation also was issued for the absence of backflow prevention devices.

Inspectors also found that crew had not performed any disinfection after cleaning cabin whirlpool tubs. The CDC requires that private whirlpool spas in passenger cabins be cleaned and disinfected between every occupancy or weekly, whichever is more frequent.

According to the CDC's Web site, this is the first time Safari Endeavour has undergone a vessel sanitation inspection.

Dan Blanchard, CEO and principal for Un-Cruise Adventures told Cruise Critic the failing score was unsatisfactory.

"We take these professional assessments very seriously and immediately took corrective action including implementing new policies and procedures, crew training, and an emphasis on record keeping. On August 25, the vessel was revisited by the CDC in Juneau for a follow-up inspection. We are happy to report the Safari Endeavour passed with a score of 98 out of a possible 100."

CDC inspections, which subject every ship calling at a U.S. port to a surprise exam, are notoriously stringent. So far this year, other ships that have not passed their inspections include Carnival Fascination, Celebrity Century and Summit, Golden Princess and SeaDream II. The CDC has posted subsequent passing scores for all vessels, except SeaDream II.

--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor