Cruise Ship - Centers for Disease Control - CDCIn a story widely reported in the national media, the Centers for Disease Control failed Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas after conducting a surprise vessel sanitation inspection last month. 

On November 18, 2011, CDC inspectors boarded the Monarch of the Seas, which is the cruise line’s oldest vessel, and found numerous public health risks and violations if the CDC’s sanitary standards.

The popular online cruise community, Cruise Critic, first reported on the nasty situation, followed by the USA Today cruise blog, CruiseLog.  

The CDC found a whopping 43 unsanitary conditions and "deficiencies" in the cruise ship’s procedures which were in violation of the CDC’s Vessel Safety Program (VSP) manual.  Included in the report were the following:

  • Dish-washing equipment in poor condition;
  • Improper cooling temperatures for stored provisions;
  • Improper cooking temperatures for cooked food;
  • Accumulations of food debris in wash and rinse areas;
  • "Clean" plates soiled with food residue;
  • Soiled plates stacked with clean plates;
  • Waiter stations, food preparation counters, slicers, and strainers soiled with dirt and food particles;
  • Live and dead fruit flies on food preperation surfaces throughout the galley; and 
  • Improper procedures for public toilets, shower-head disinfection, and disease outbreak and prevention.   

You can read the complete inspection report here

Cruise Ship Fruit FliesIt is rare for a cruise ship based in the U.S. to fail a CDC inspection.

For a cruise line which spent billions on its gigantic new Genesis class cruise ships the Oasis and the Allure of the Seas, it looks like its oldest cruise the Monarch is showing significant signs of neglect which risk sickening its passengers. 

Anyone who sailed recently on the Monarch care to leave a comment?  

Photo credit: amNY Photo Illustration


  • amy

    I sailed on the Monarch this year in July and didn’t realize or suspect any of that! 🙁 That is really scary. It is an extra old ship!

  • johnson

    I realize a lot broken equipment in explorer

  • Fabio

    Rcl spent billions in new ships but is very cheap company when comes to replace old and broken equipment.

    Signs of neglet regarding sanitation,safety etc but they can cover in most of the days of the year …

  • Alicia

    My friend and I sailed on this ship in August. We both noticed that the ship was showing its age and was badly in need of upgrades. Doesn’t make sense since they’ve upgraded their other oldest ship, Majesty of the Seas. I’m pretty disgusted now after reading this article. Other than some of the food in the buffet not always being that hot and our stateroom not appearing to be as clean as it could be, I didn’t notice any of these other things.

  • Pepito Perez

    I worked at the Monarch for around 5 months, I was there when we failed the USPH inspection. But I just wanna make it clear that it’s not about the company making less efforts to keep this ship clean and working, but about individuals who don’t accomplish their tasks. MANY people were fired because of those mistakes, showing how much the Company cares about the well-functioning of the ships.

  • cheryl

    We sailed in Feb. 2011, other than bad plumping problems and a very tiny cabin, all else was wonderful. Our service and food was outstanding

  • Sandy Anderson

    I went on my first cruise ever with my niece on January 9th to the 13th. We went on the Monarch of the Seas owned by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. I do not have time to mention everything that was not good about this cruise, but I will say that after watching the failed attempted rescue of a young crewmember who had jumped to his death, this was my first and last cruise I will ever do. I have spent many years in the field of Social Work and after this experience I will never go anywhere again where people are exploited and used for the pleasure of others.

  • Thomas

    I sailed in Mid-March… My first cruise ever. And my absolute last with Royal Caribbean. The Monarch was disgusting. They were renovating it while I was on the cruise. We couldn’t even use portions of the pool deck. The elevator floor broke off and stuck to the bottom of my shoe. The boat was just completely run down and disgusting. So disappointed in RC.

  • Amy

    Im going on the monarch this week for a vacation to the bahamas an now I’m very concerned:( after reading this article and the comments I am really not looking forward to this cruise:'( GROSS!!

  • Sherri

    My husband and I just had our first cruise on the Monarch of the Seas last week and it was a WONDERFUL experience. The food in the Windjammer cafe was not always hot or a good variety, but it was still good. The dinner service and food was always over the top excellent! My husband is a former executive chef so he is very good at critiquing food and service. He was 100% satisfied with the dinner food and service as well as the room service, however the Windjammer Cafe he would rate in the low 90%. We saw NO bugs of any sort and our stateroom was always in very clean condition. I think the ship is older and is showing its ware, but the service is still 100% awesome! For those of you who witnessed the man who fell to his death, I cannot imagine how traumatizing that was, but to blame RCI for his fall or death is not accurate. RCI did everything they could to save the man by calling mayday immediately after his jump and searching for him with the help of coast guard and other cruise lines. I’ve seen numerous videos on youtube of Monarch rescuing “man overboard” or cuban immigrants at sea and doing a terrific and heroic job. The man took his own life and although very tragic and sad, RCI did what they should’ve done.

  • Kayla

    I took my very first cruise on MONARCH OF THE SEA July 2009. It was by far the most relaxing trip ever. Everything was very nice. Cruise ship was showing a little age but we were still very pleased…..

  • Rick Venable

    I have been on three cruises and all of them on the Monarch of the Seas before and after all of the comments made here. I was on the second to last cruise out of Port Canaveral on that ship. The ship was a little worn on the second trip but both of the others were great as the ship was renovated between the second and third trips. The ship was always clean and the food was excellent. Pretty much all cruise ships have had people who fall/jump overboard. Its impossible to stop it unless you cage them in. We loved our trips on the ship and we are going on another cruise on the Freedom of the Seas in June.