Is Your Cruise Ship Clean? Here’s How to Know for Sure

The cleanliness of your cruise ship might not be something you’d typically concern yourself with when embarking on a vacation but perhaps in addition to checking out the ship’s amenities, you should also review the ship’s Vessel Sanitation Program inspection report. Most common violations won’t kill you but they might make you feel icky and increase the chances that common illnesses could spread more easily among passengers.

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The Carnival Fantasy failed a federal Centers for Disease Control inspection last month with the second-lowest score of all those reviewed. Out of a possible 100 points, where 86 is considered acceptable, the ship rated just 77 points. Among the reasons it failed: the level of water in the pool didn’t reach the skim gutters so any debris in the water wasn’t being filtered effectively, the sneeze guards at some buffet stations had gaps that were too wide to effectively protect the dishes underneath them, some bread items served during a breakfast buffet had more than a dozen flies on them, and used serving spoons were stored with clean serving spoons. Carnival says it’s already taken, and will continue to take, corrective action, and added that the company has asked for a re-inspection of the ship.

How Does Your Cruise Ship Rate?

So how do you know what to look out for in deciding if your cruise ship is clean? Read the CDC reports directly. The agency’s website allows you to search Vessel Sanitation Program results by cruise line or ship. Inspection reports are posted online for everyone to view.

Use this link to visit the Vessel Sanitation Program reports. There’s one link to all ships with perfect scores over the last year’s inspection cycle. You can also use the drop-down boxes to look at individual ships or cruise lines as a whole. Narrow your search by date or score. Not only can you view the CDC inspection reports that list the location, a description of the violation and recommendations to address it but you can also access corrective action reports submitted by the cruise line, if necessary. If it’s more convenient, you can print out these reports, too.

Taking a cruise can be a significant investment and you should feel good about your choice. Using the CDC reports as a tool to effectively shop for your next cruise is just one way to make sure you have the vacation you’ve always dreamed of.


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