A Carnival cruise ship has become the sixth cruise ship this year to flunk a sanitation inspection by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Carnival Fascination failed the surprise inspection with a score of only 84. You can read the report from the CDC here.  It’s full of dirty and unsanitary conditions in the galley and food serving areas, as well as problems with the recreational water supplies.

The Fascination had a problem which we are hearing about more often, that is when crew members are experiencing acute gastrointestinal illness but keep working. This substantially increases the Carnival Fascination Cruise Shipchances that they will infect other crew members and the passengers that they come into contact with. The problem is particularly critical when the infected crew are food handlers. 

Five other cruise ships have failed CDC inspections this year.

Two weeks ago we wrote about the Celebrity Summit, the Golden Princess, the Sea Dream Yacht Club’s Sea Dream, and the Caribbean Fantasy operated by America Cruise Ferries all of which flunked the CDC inspections. You can read our article: Disease Breeding Grounds: Three Cruise Ships Fail Health & Sanitary Inspections

A week ago, we wrote about another Celebrity Cruises ship, the Celebrity Century, which also failed the inspection.

Read the U.K.’s Daily Mail article:  Carnival Fascination Fails Health Inspection After Dead Flies, Leaking Brown Material and Cockroach ‘Nymph’ Found on Board


Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Jonathan Schilling

  • Andy

    Hi Jim

    In an earlier post you specifically stated the below comment:

    Again I don’t know. But I do know after being a lawyer for 30 years that there is a very cozy relationship between the cruise lines and federal agencies like the CDC whose surprise inspections are hardly a surprise.

    Now in the above post you state:

    The Carnival Fascination failed the surprise inspection with a score of only 84.

    Surely, if the cruise lines have a cozy relationship with the CDC then the inspection aboard the Carnival Fascination would not have been a surprise.
    As a lawyer, you really must be aware of the implications of making statements that contradict each other.

    The fact that the Carnival ship was subject to a surprise CDC inspection clearly demonstrates that there is no cozy relationship as you allude to.
    It is not unusual for a ship to receive a score that requires improvement.

    7301 S.W. 57th Court.

    Now, I do not know where you eat at lunchtime, but let’s assume you maybe frequent one of the many restaurants in and around your location.

    A quick search of the database of South Florida Restaurant Inspections will reveal information that is likely to alarm or cause un- necessary attention that has no real validity.

    As an example, below are 2 links to restaurant’s that are very close to your location, one is “Zagat” rated.
    Therefore, my answer to you would be, have you eaten at these places close to where your offices are, or will you also highlight the problems that exist in all establishments where food, people and entertainment are prevalent?



    And just for the record, I am informed that the Ruby Princess received a score of 100 in today’s USPH unannounced surprise inspection.

  • Andy:

    Thanks for your comment.

    Yes, I certainly know and believe that there is a cozy relationship between federal agencies and the cruise lines.

    And you would be naive to think that all CDC inspections are unannounced.

    And if we are going to be candid with one another and the readers of this blog, don’t you think you should disclose that you work for Princess Cruises?

    Jim Walker

  • NMoore

    ( comments directed to those cruise company folks who read these posts ) You know in every book I’ve ever read, written by a former cruise ship employee, they all state that the inspections are no surprise. It amazes me that any ship could fail. BUT perhaps the cruise industry should really start thinking about this business of working it’s crew to exhaustion. I’ve never worked in a job where employees performed well when they were sick and exhausted. In fact, the executives at Carnival, Princess, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and the like probably need to remember that the immune system which fights disease, does not function when the individual does not rest. When employees are overworked they get sick, if they work when they are sick, guess what! they get sicker, and they spread it to everyone else. SO if you want to pass inspections and don’t want headlines that your ship has a lab experiment…maybe you need to change some of your kill the workers policies. How about real medical care for the crew, & real sleep, that would be a start. I do cruise, but I do it really carefully. I board with germicidal wipes, I check the history of the ship, and the incidents of disease at embarkation ports. I have a cruise coming up next week, and you know what it will be our last if this industry does not change for the better.

  • Andy


    I frequent this blog as an interested reader.
    I stated in previous comments that I worked for the cruise industry, for me it is not something I am ashamed of, in fact I am proud I work for Princess Cruises.

    Is it wrong for me to read your blog? No of course not, and I am sure you should feel equally pleased that you have industry insiders who are interested in what you have to say.

    That said I feel that in many ways you have a somewhat biased opinion of the cruise industry that is not conducive to the realities of life.

    Cruise ships are huge opulent floating hotels that provide a plethora of entertainment possibilities for many millions of people; just like other entertainment venues they experience the problems.

    The World is not a perfect place, if it were we would not require lawyers!!

    And because we do not live in a perfect World, I try to be prepared for the unexpected, I evaluate the risks involved, and make informed choices based on common sense, because if I made my choices without using a common sense approach, I would never board a flight, ride a roller coaster, use restaurants that do not attain perfect scores or marry the girl my mother warned me not to.

    Your article regarding the USPH inspection of the Carnival Fascination was biased, it missed important facts.
    Therefore to clarify certain points I will post my opinion based on available factual information:

    1. Carnival Fascination was launched in 1994

    2. Her first USPH Inspection was on 08/12/1994

    3. Since that time she has only 2 USPH inspections that were below the score of 85, which is classed as unsatisfactory.

    4. In 19 years of service this ship has consistently scored high 90 or above in USPH inspections, in fact, on 5 consecutive occasions in 2011 it scored 99.

    I am not in a senior position within the cruise industry, I am however interested in how the public perceive our industry, after all my livelihood is dependent on customers boarding our ships to enjoy a quality vacation, which is why I find it hard to read comments that do not adequately reflect the reality of cruising that I have been involved with for many years.

  • Dead flies, cockroach nymph, ill crew members not quarantined and filth around the buffet speak for themselves.

    I like debate and criticism back and forth. But most cruise line employees in the corporate offices, like you, who comment here use only a first name, a hotmail account, and praise the cruise industry while not disclosing that they work for a cruise line. It’s not surprising that your industry is known for a lack of transparency.

  • NMoore

    I don’t mean to insert myself into your discussion with Jim, Andy, but I would like to add an additional comment. I understand that you may have no influence on the corporate decision making process, just as I had no influence on the mega corporation I had worked for once coming to FL. You may well be a person of ethics, and compassion, and I will assume this.
    Nonetheless, the cruise industry must be held accountable. Times are changing rapidly, and while you chastise Jim for a slanted perspective, you must realize that information about the dark side of this industry is readily available everywhere. Personally, I love boarding a ship,& watching the sea from my balcony. We look forward to our upcoming trip, this is true. But, ethics matter, and the cruise industry behaves like it operating in the dark ages, and yes, it’s abysmal treatment of crew leads to inadequacies. There is no excuse for any ship to fail an inspection. There is no excuse for any crew member to not have proper sleep, shore time and breaks throughout the day. We won’t even get into the poor pay, and what about the lack of proper medical care? Why should a sick crew member fear a job loss when they need to rest and recover? These issues directly affect passengers and I am disgusted by the cruise industries tenacious resistance to change. Truth is, I will hate to no longer cruise, and you know, there are plenty of people like myself, who have been passengers, and who have decided to forego any future trips. Many of us want the industry to take responsibility and do the right thing. If they do, we will happily return.
    Perhaps the folks in the board meetings need to remember this ” Sew a wind, reap a whirlwind”.

  • Clinton Gomes

    Dear Jim

    I liked your unbiased opinion on the cruise industry, though sometimes its a mix n match which also works wonders.

    The cruise industry also takes things lying down and the CDC is a wake up call and in the best interest of all (crew & guest alike).


  • I do not work for any cruise line, but I am a travel agent. I have sailed on the Fascination many times and have never gotten sick. Regarding this incident with the Fascination I want to point out all you have to do is check with your local city govt and review records of restaurant inspections! Restaurants on land seem to have more problems with sanitation than cruise ships do. When will DateLine or RockCenter do a hit piece on land based buffets and restaurants? Scott

  • Vanessa White

    This is the first time a Carnival ship has failed an inspection in 5 years. Average score during that time? 97. I think they’re doing ok 🙂

  • Janice

    I went on the cruise ship Facination March 27-April 2nd of this year, the first night (Sat) on the ship someone in our same hallway had thrown up in there room the cleaning crew wascleaning it up with the door open all you could smell was throw up and diaharreaha, that was a huge turnoff, I even told my husband great were trapped on here with a sickie….well tuesday rolled around and I was so sick I couldn’t leave the cabin I had the same thing then, I couldn’t eat at all and and could barely drink,then weds my husband got it,we didn’t tell anyone besides the cabin cleaning crew, we just stayed to ourselves inside the cabin,so I wonder how many ppl actually got sick and it was undocumented? Needless to say I’m not in a hurry to go on my next cruise…

  • Roberta Huggins

    My husband and I just returned from a five day cruise on Carnival Fantasy on 4/17/15. My husband was acutely ill with vomiting and diarrhea. I had to stop at an URGENT CARE facility and he was diagnosed with norovirus. He was given medication (Zofran and Lomotil) He continues to vomit and have diarrhea this morning. I called Carnival Cruise lines yesterday and they were unconcerned. Just didn’t care. That was my 9th cruise with them and will be my last. We also experienced toxic paint fumes coming in through our air conditioning vent in cabin. I reported this and nothing was done. I saw a lot of sick staff on board also to include food servers. Also after tables were cleared, a wet, dirty cloth was used to wipe tables off and they then appeared greasy and dirty as if they had never been cleaned. I am a nurse by profession for 32 years now. SO I do know clean from dirty…