Cruise Ship Cleanliness is Serious Business
Since the early 1970s, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has helped the cruise industry fulfill its promise of clean, sanitary ships that minimize any risk of gastrointestinal or other communicable illness. Through the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program, every vessel that has a foreign itinerary, carries more than 12 passengers and calls on a U.S. port receives unannounced inspections twice a year. The cruise lines also work with the CDC on crew training and passenger education.
Each cruise ship inspection takes about five to eight hours and covers the ship’s water supply; the filtration and disinfection of spas and pools; the storage, preparation and serving of food; employees’ hygienic practices; and the general cleanliness and physical condition of the ship. Ships receive inspection scores based on a 100-point scale. To pass, a ship must receive a score of 86 or more. A ship that does not pass inspection will be reinspected within 30 to 45 days.
The inspection process is rigorous, and the cruise lines rise to the challenge. In fact, it’s not unusual for ships to receive a perfect score of 100. Some ships that recently earned perfect scores include Disney Cruise Lines’ Disney Dream; Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Norwegian Sky, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Gem; Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2; and Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam and Oosterdam.
Health Canada conducts unannounced inspections on cruise ships that visit Canadian ports during its cruise season, which extends from April through October. Health Canada uses a very similar inspection and scoring system to that used by the CDC.
For more information on how cruise lines keep their ships clean and safe, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
Learn more about cruise ship maritime safety.