Silversea Cruises’ Silver Spirit cruise ship recently failed a sanitation inspection by United States Public Health (USPH) inspectors, in February. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published its official report for the inspection.

On February 15, 2019, USPH sanitation inspectors conducted an inspection of the the Silver Spirit cruise ship and gave the cruise ship, operated by Silversea Cruises, a failing score of 81.

You can locate the report here.

You can locate the corrected actions report of the cruise line here.

In the lengthy report, inspectors found numerous sanitation violations, including: potable water bunkering and calibration problems; inaccurate pipe disinfection logs; soiled backflow prevention devices, dishwasher nozzles, rinsing arms and manifolds and drain lines which were blocked with food debris; numerous fish products which were improperly stored with fruits, salami and cheese; improper time control plans in the officer/staff mess and passenger buffets; improper hand-washing temperatures/procedures/facilities (absence of soap); a small, broken and heavily soiled refrigerator was located in the engine room office area with a rotten apple and spoiled milk inside; and failure to follow protocols regarding acute gastrointestinal (AGE) involving a crew member who reported late to the crew medical facility, amongst other violations .

This is not the first time that a Silversea Cruises ship failed a USPH inspection.

In March of last year, the USPH inspected the Silver Wind and found numerous unsanitary violations. Repeated problems were noted in the ship’s potable water treatment. Inspectors located over two dozen flies in the galley, food preparation and dish washing areas. Inspectors located food items and food service equipment hidden in crew member lockers inside a changing room near an engine and air conditioning unit. The USPH issues a score of only 79. You can read the USPH report here.

Six years ago, in 2013, Silversea Cruises was caught ordering its crew members to hide perishable food in crew quarters aboard the Silver Shadow. CNN aired a special program about the “hide and seek” games which crew members were ordered to play on the Silver Shadow cruise ship, where the ship routinely hid trolleys of food items in crew members cabins to avoid detection by USPH sanitation inspectors.

Our blog was the first to cover the story in our article Silver Shadow Fails Sanitation Inspection After Caught Hiding Filthy Conditions from Health Inspectors.

Silversea engaged in an intentional, calculated scheme to hide food and galley equipment in the crew cabins. Crew members on the cruise ship alerted our firm that they (galley workers) were being ordered by their supervisors to take trolleys of perishable foods (eggs, fish & cheese) to the crew quarters and hide the food from inspectors during bi-annual CDC inspections. We advised the “whistle-blower” crew members to notify the CDC. As a result of a surprise inspection, the CDC discovered that the cruise line hid “over 15 full trolleys” of food and food equipment, pans, dishware and utensils in “over 10 individual cabins” in order to avoid scrutiny of vessel sanitation inspectors. It flunked the Silversea ship with a score of 82.

You can see photos of the cruise line’s practices on our Facebook page here.

You can watch the CNN video here.

But Silversea didn’t learn its lesson.  In 2015, two years after the disastrous Silver Shadow inspection, the Silver Shadow failed again, with a score of only 82.

Regarding the Silver Spirit, the last sanitation scores were 98 in 2018 and 99 in 2017. It earned perfect scores of 100 on three occasions, in 2013, 2012, and 2011.

The purpose of the Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is to assist the cruise ship industry to “prevent and control the introduction, transmission, and spread of gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses on cruise ships.” The VSP operates under the authority of the U.S. Public Health Service Act, and applies only to cruise ships calling on U.S. ports. Few countries outside of the U.S. inspect cruise ships for sanitation problems.

USPH sanitation inspectors conduct inspections twice a year on cruise ships, when they are in a U.S. port. The inspections are supposedly a surprise, although many crew members have stated that federal inspectors sometimes give advance notice of the inspections to the cruise ships. A score of 85 or below constitutes a failed sanitation score, and often leads to the firing of the shipboard Food & Beverage department heads and/or managers and always result in increased work for the shipboard employees.

It should be embarrassing for a high-brow Silversea cruise ship like the Silver Wind to miserably fail an USPH inspection like this.

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Update: We were contacted by a Silversea crew member who wishes to remain anonymous who stated that the Silver Spirit was re-inspected last April 2 in Fort Lauderdale and scored a 92.

Photo credit: Silver Spirit – Brian Burnell / George Hutchinson CC BY-SA 3.0,