Several new sources, including the popular Cruise Radio Blog, are reporting that the Regal Princess recently failed a recent sanitation inspection (conducted earlier this month) by the United States Public Health. The USPH gave the ship a score of just 77. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published its official report for the inspection.

USPH inspectors found flies and soiled surfaces and equipment in the galley, inadequate acute gastroenteritis logs and reports, clogged nozzles and drain lines, potentially unhygienic swimming pools and hot tubs, a child in diapers in a pool, and a food employee with long, dirty fingernails (1 mm past his fingers), included in the 44 violations.

This is the lowest sanitation score in the seven year history of this cruise ship. It ties the lowest score ever given to a cruise ship operated by a major cruise line (like Carnival, Norwegian, or Royal Caribbean). It is the lowest sanitation score ever for a cruise ship operated by Princess Cruises.

Ironically, the Regal Princess received a perfect score during the last inspection two years ago, as well as during its first three inspections from 2014, 2015 and 2016.

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.” VSP operates under the authority of the U.S. Public Health Service Act.

The VSP 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 by the hardworking shipboard employees.

The Regal Princess joins the ranks of several other Carnival Corporation-owned cruise ships which failed USPH inspections in the last several years, including the Carnival Breeze (77), Carnival Fantasy (77), Carnival Triumph (78), Carnival Vista (79), Carnival Liberty (80), Golden Princess (81), Carnival Legend (83), Carnival Paradise (83), and Carnival Liberty (83).

Princess Cruises has been in the news lately on a non-stop basis after the failed quarantine of the Diamond Princess where nearly 700 passenger and crew member, so far, have been infected with coronavirus. Additional guests and crew from this ship will probably test positive in the next several weeks.

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Photo credit: Bahnfrend – CC BY-SA 4.0 via commons / wikimedia.