After miserably failing the December 2, 2017 sanitation inspection by the United States Public Health (USPH) last month, the USPH re-inspected the Carnival Vista today at the port of Miami. The Carnival cruise ship passed the re-inspection with a score of only 88, three points above the failing score of 85.

The December 2nd sanitation inspection found that Carnival Vista crew members were caught hiding perishable food and galley equipment in crew quarters. The report stated that "an organized effort was made to physically move several containers and trolleys of food equipment, utensils, spices, potentially hazardous food items, raw produce, and decorations to a crew cabin hallway and a crew cabin in order to avoid inspection by VSP staff."

Last month, the USPH sanitation inspection resulted in a failing score of only 79.

The USPH concluded that crew members moved trolleys filled with lexan boxes of perishable food and galley equipment in order to hide the items from the inspectors. Included on the trolleys were lexan boxes filled with butter, buttermilk, whipping cream, raw salmon, raw lamb and other meats. Inspectors discovered a skillet of lasagna near a crew member bed. Mixed with this food in the lexan boxes were galley machine equipment and batteries, among other items. Flies were found in some food containers.

In addition, the inspectors found incomplete and/or inaccurate acute gastrointeritis logs, soiled lexan boxes and galley equipment, incorrect time control labels, and raw meat and fish contaminating salad items. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) delayed from December 2, 2017 until January 16, 2018 – a period of six weeks – before publishing the failed score and disclosing the intentional misconduct by Carnival to the public.   

The re-inspection score of only 88 is one of the lowest scores, without failing, of a ship operated by a major cruise line in the past year. Unfortunately, the CDC does not have the leadership to punish Carnival for its deliberate wrongdoing, such as ordering the Vista cruise ship not to sail.

The re-inspection today found more unsanitary conditions, to be officially disclosed by the CDC to the public at some time in the future. 

The Vista is one of four Carnival cruise ships to have failed the inspection by the Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) in the last four months, including the Carnival Breeze (77), Carnival Triumph (78), and the Carnival Liberty (80). The Carnival Paradise (83) also failed the VSP inspection last year.

A crew member who wishes to remain anonymous sent us the draft report today.

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CDC Sanitation Draft Report Carnival Vista

 

  

Hidden Foor and Galley Equipment Cruise ShipsToday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finally issued a report regarding the United States Public Health Inspection (USPH) inspection of the Carnival Vista which took place six weeks ago, on December 2, 2017.  The USPH sanitation inspection resulted in a failing score of only 79.  Any score of 85 or lower is a failing score according to the U.S. Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP).

Most significantly, the sanitation inspectors found that the Carnival crew members were caught hiding perishable food and galley equipment in crew quarters. The report stated that "an organized effort was made to physically move several containers and trolleys of food equipment, utensils, spices, potentially hazardous food items, raw produce, and decorations to a crew cabin hallway and a crew cabin in order to avoid inspection by VSP staff."

The USPH concluded that crew members moved trolleys filled with lexan boxes of perishable food and galley equipment in order to hide the items from the inspectors. Included on the trolleys were lexan boxes filled with butter, buttermilk, whipping cream, raw salmon, raw lamb and other meats. Inspectors discovered a skillet of lasagna near a crew member bed. Mixed with this food in the lexan boxes were galley machine equipment and batteries, among other items. Flies were found in some food containers.  

In addition, the inspectors found incomplete and/or inaccurate acute gastrointeritis logs, soiled lexan boxes and galley equipment, incorrect time control labels, and raw meat and fish contaminating salad Hidden Foor and Galley Equipment Cruise Shipsitems.  

This is not the first time that crew members were caught hiding food and galley equipment. In 2013, crew members on the Silver Shadow hid food, dirty pots & pans and cooking equipment from U.S. health inspectors. The Silversea cruise ship eventually received a failing score of 82. CNN aired a special on the story. Photographs of this practice are to the left, above left and lower left. 

Over the years, we have heard from thousands of crew members from around the world about the tremendous amount of effort they spend trying to get the cruise ships ready for USPH Inspections. USPH inspections in theory are suppose to be unannounced, but in reality they are rarely a surprise, crew members tell us. Cruise lines routinely hire people in a supervisory position from federal agencies like the USPH, FBI and Coast Guard. In turn, the cruise lines sometimes receive a head’s up from their friends in the federal government when the ship will be met by a team of USPH inspectors.

When a USPH inspection is about to happen, the food and beverage workers will literally work 18 to 24 hours on the days right before the cruise ship arrives in the port where the inspection will take place. There are certain types of baking pans and sheets used everyday for frying greasy food which are extremely difficult to get clean and probably won’t pass inspection. There are hundreds of these pots and pans which the crew try and clean in the pot wash room but it’s difficult to get them all spotless. So what happens is that the galley cleaners are sometimes instructed to rack the pans and sheets in large trolleys and then hide the trolleys down in the crew quarters.

When the USPH inspection is truly a surprise, crew members tell us that there is often a mad scramble to dump everything dirty into lexan boxes and cartons and then stash the stuff in crew members Hidden Foor and Galley Equipment Cruise Shipscabins and corridors on the crew-only areas on the lower decks. 

A bad USPH score is a kiss of death for a cruise ship F&B department head and his supervisors. Ships cut corners to pass inspections.

Over the years, many crew members send us photos of the food and equipment which they are ordered to hide in the crew quarters (photo right from the MSC Poesia).  

What I can only conclude from the report regarding the Carnival Vista is that the USPH inspection was in fact a surprise inspection that caught Carnival doing what it and other cruise lines regularly do – hiding food and galley equipment from sanitation inspectors. 

You can see additional photographs of this practice from the from the Silver Shadow here.    

In addition to the Carnival Vista, the Carnival Breeze also officially flunked its USPH inspection which took place five weeks ago. Last month, we were tipped off of the failed inspection score of only 77 by crew members and we published the news on December 11, 2017.  The official CDC report was finally published today and the Vista did in fact receive a failing score of only 77.

There was a long list of unsanitary conditions found by the inspectors on the Carnival Breeze. Inspectors documented 25 red garbage bins which were "full and overflowing with food waste in the provision corridor on top of wooden pallets and directly outside a lift labeled for food."  Most troubling was evidence that crew members on the Carnival Breeze were working even though the medical records indicate that they were suffering from signs of acute gastroenteritis (this was also the situation with the Vista). Meanwhile, food handlers aboard the Vista who did not work while ill with gastrointestinal symptoms were disciplined on several occasions for not working. 

As I stated in Are Failed USPH Cruise Ship Sanitation Inspections Really Rare?, approximately 20 cruise ships have  Hidden Foor and Galley Equipment Cruise Shipsfailed USPH inspections in the last four years. 

Neither the Vista nor the Breeze submitted corrective action reports, indicating that they have corrected the deficiencies noted by the USPH inspectors last month. 

It’s discouraging that the USPH does not promptly publish reports when a cruise ship fails an inspection. As I previously stated, It seems disconcerting that if the CDC is really concerned about preventing disease on cruise ships, that it would sit on reports of potential public health hazards on several cruise ships for well over a month.

Photo credits: Anonymous crew members aboard the Silver Shadow and MSC Poesia.

The Miami Herald covered the story earlier this afternoon – Inspectors caught Carnival crew hiding dirty conditions. It’s their third ship to fail.

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Carnival BreezeYesterday, while the cruise world was following the news of the fire aboard the Carnival Liberty, a cruise passenger went overboard from the Carnival Breeze.

Reportedly, a highly intoxicated passenger (people are saying 30 – 35 years of age) went overboard while the Carnival cruise ship was off the coast of Cuba.

Fortunately, the Carnival crew rescued the man. Passengers took photos and video of the rescue (you can watch a video here from my Facebook page).

The usual response we see when someone ends up in the water like this is to call him "stupid" and wonder how he survived the fall and not get sucked under the ship.  But I always visualize a drunk overboard passenger’s bar tab (i.e., a print-out of onboard purchases).  

The most I have seen on a passenger’s tab is 23 drinks in the course of around 5 hours.  Serve that much booze to anyone and you are guaranteeing that something bad will happen. Unless it can be shown that the passenger smuggled a bottle of booze aboard, a bartender or group of bartenders who over-serve that mush accohol to a passenger should be immediately fired. 

There is a direct correlations between intoxication and violence, sexual assault and reckless conduct. Drunks flying over the rails is a clear indication that Carnival has a drinking problem on its cruise ships.

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Photo Credit: JUAN RAMON RODRIGUEZ SOSA via Wikipedia Creative Commons 3.0   

Carnival Breeze MedevacDefense Imagery and Video Systems has reported that the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a 79 year-old passenger from the Carnival Breeze yesterday.

The cruise ship was approximately 90 miles northwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico when the passenger needed emergency medical treatment.

The Coast Guard helicopter hoisted the patient and a cruise ship nurse and transported them to the Isla Grande Airport, where emergency medical services transported them to the "Centro Medico" Hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Photo Credit: Defense Imagery and Video Systems 

 

 

Travel Agent Central reports a hour ago about what appears to be a small fire which broke out aboard Carnival’s new cruise ship, the Carnival Breeze.  

The publication states that shortly 2 PM (ship time), crew members from the "Alpha" fire team were summoned via the ship’s public address system to a forward portion of the crew area on Deck O where smoke was accumulating. Fire doors in the forward section of the ship closed as well. 

The ship’s Master, Captain Vincenzo Alcaras, reportedly announced over the PA system the fire team Carnival Breeze Cruise Ship Firearrived and observed the electrical system smoking. The team "extinguished it immediately" and the "ship is now continuing on as normal" to Dubrovnik.  The article didn’t contain much of an explanation regarding the cause of the fire.

Cruise director, John Heald, himself a cruise celebrity blogger, also apparently spoke to the passengers in an effort to keep them calm.

It will be interesting to learn how a new ship would experience a fire, big or small, so soon.  

Carnival public relations representatives tweeted 30 minutes after the fire but made no mention of the incident.  Instead, @CarnivalPR tweeted a link to a promotional article on USA Today’s Cruise Log  "A new look for industry leader Carnival Cruise? We’re reporting live from the cruise line’s new Carnival Breeze." 

Too bad that @CarnivalPR didn’t bother to tweet about the fire on its new ship.

 

June 20, 2012 Update:

Some other cruise media people on the cruise mentioned a small fire,such as @ExpertCruiser: "Small electrical fire on #CarnivalBreeze extinguished. Captain made announcement that everything is under control. Good job by crew."

Where there’s smoke, there’s no fire? 

Carnival Public Relations has stated that there was no fire, only smoke in the crew quarters due to overheated fan belt in an air conditioning unit.  Here is the Carnival statement:

"A fan belt inside an AC unit in a crew area overheated and started generating smoke. There was not an actual fire and no smoke entered guest areas. The ship’s crew responded immediately and all is well. The Carnival Breeze is continuing on its voyage as normal."

Thanks Carnival for clarifying matters . . . 

My friend has a blog – Mikey’s Cruise Blog which contains a quote from cruise director Heald:

"It is a beautiful day here at sea. Blue skies, calm seas spoiled only by a burning smell on deck 0 ( crew deck ) forward that had alarms sounding, alpha team calls ( fire investigation) and my fat arse running up 6 flights of stairs to the bridge. All is well, there was an electrical fan belt which had produced the smell and there was no fire or smoke but a strong burning smell on the crew deck forward. So, 10 minutes later I let the guests know what had happened as I insist on always letting them know and especially as we had paged the fire teams over the PA system. Anyway, the ship is continuing on her way to Dubrovnik at full speed with all systems as normal, the guests are calm and having fun, the smell of smoke has dissapissatated (spelt correctly) and I now have to dispose of one ruined pair of Carnival Splendor flashback underpants."