Last Monday I published an article about the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) failing the Silver Shadow cruise ship following a surprise inspection last month when the ship was calling on Skagway, Alaska. The article is entitled: Silver Shadow Fails Sanitation Inspection After Caught Hiding Filthy Conditions from Health Inspectors
Former Silversea Cruises employees contacted me earlier this year and complained that they were ordered to take trolleys of pots and pans, cutlery and food items from the galley and hide them away from the U.S. public health inspectors in the crew cabins and hallways. We told them to report this practice to the CDC which later boarded, inspected and flunked the Silver Shadow.
The reaction to the story has been mixed. Passengers who learned of the failed score and the alleged “hide and seek” tactics of the cruise ship appear to be upset not only with the unsanitary practice but with what they characterize as dishonesty and a lack of transparency by the cruise line. You can see this sentiment in a series of comments on the popular Cruise Critic boards.
Silversea will not respond to inquiries from our firm, but suggests in a PR statement it released that the incident is an aberration, pointing out that the scores on its previous inspections throughout its small fleet of cruise ships have been in the high 90″s and it also recently scored a perfect 100.
This argument, in my opinion at least, seems to be no different than a student caught cheating on a test who defends his failed score by pointing out that he received straight A’s on all of the previous tests. The student’s dishonesty is surpassed only by his disingenuity.
The other reaction to the story is that this is “business as usual.” This sentiment is being expressed by crew members. We have heard from crew members over the last 20 years who have told us of similar stories of the lengths to which some cruise lines go to obtain a passing USPH score. The comments to our article on Facebook, by crew members at least, are to the effect that this practice is wide spread on other cruise ships. It was back luck that Silversea got caught.
You can see similar comments by crew members about how cruise lines cheat on USPH inspections which were posted to a similar story I wrote in December.
My Cruise Law News Facebook page has over 60,000 followers, and the majority are crew members from all over the world. The consensus seems to be that all cruise lines engage in this practice to one extent or the other. I’d like to flush this issue out further. So I will post a simple question on my Facebook page:
Do cruise lines hide pots & pans, galley equipment and food from USPH inspectors? You can click on the link and see what the crew members have to say about the issue.
Whereas passengers may be disgusted by this practice, I suspect that most crew members will yawn and say that this is business as usual.
July 22, 2013 Update: CDC just released its official report. It’s nasty. Here’s our article. You can read the official CDC report here.
Photo Credit: Former Silver Shadow crew member.