Yesterday (May 3) a broken pipe aboard the Carnival Dream flooded around 50 cabins on the ship and sent water cascading down deck 9. Photos (right) and videos posted on Facebook show water pouring from the ceiling and down the walls.

Carnival confirmed that the water line break involved “clean water from a fire suppression system.”

By all accounts, Carnival did the right thing. After crew members quickly dried the area and replaced the carpeting, Carnival offered a 100% reimburment to those effected, an additional 50% off a future Carnival Dream Flooded Cabincruise and the option to be flown home today.

But other cruise lines have not been as generous when passenger cabins flood during cruises.

A flood aboard Royal Caribean’s Serenade of the Seas back in January 2015 affected several hundred cabins, but the cruise line offfered only a partial cruise credit to this affected guests.

Probably the most egregious situation involved a flood due to a broken pipe aboard the Freedom of the Seas back in January of 2011 (photo and video below). Royal Caribbean refused to refund any portion of the cruise fares of the inconvienced passengers – instead offering only a 50% on a future cruise. One story involved a couple’s first vacation after the husband served in the Iraqi War.  You can see a video of the mess here.

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Photo credit: Top – Facebook (Marla DeAnn Haase); bottom – Facebook (Jess DaPonte‎). Freedom of the Seas Cabin Flood

 

 

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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A member of Cruise Critic posted a photograph of some kind of device designed to prevent the insertion of a key card to unlock a passenger cabin door as well as to padlock the door handle from moving.

The passenger apparently sailed aboard an unidentified Royal Caribbean cruise ship last month, and invited the fellow Cruise Critic members to speculate on why this device was used.

Cruise Passenger Door Locking DeviceWas the device used to lock a passenger in the cabin? This seems very unlikely.

Or was the device used to keep the cabin secure for an investigation by law enforcement officials to search for drugs or to investigate a crime scene?

Aren’t these cruise ship doors designed such that there is a master lock or key which can prevent cleaning personnel out of the cabins following crimes?

What happened on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship at the end of last month?

Which cruise ship was this (some speculate the Liberty of the Seas or the Monarch of the Seas)?    

As a maritime lawyer who has represented many passengers whose family members have been sexually assaulted in their cabins, I have seen many incidents where the passenger cabins were meticulously cleaned when the crime scenes should have been preserved.

Is this a device designed to prevent that from occurring? 

I am curious why any cruise line would use this particular type of locking device?

Anyone have information to solve this riddle?  Please leave a comment below.

 

Photo credit:  Cruise Critic member SSPhone

Consider this massive public relations failure by this cruise line: 

After this couple’s cabin was flooded by a busted water pipe, Royal Caribbean Cruises refused to refund any portion of the cruise fare – instead offering only a 50% on a future cruise. This was the couple’s first vacation after the husband served in the Iraqi War.  Royal Caribbean, which has the most obnoxious PR department in the world, issued the understatement of the year: "We . . . sincerely regret if we did not satisfy their expectations."  

We have heard gobbledygook like this from Royal Caribbean before.

The Army vet responded: "You guys promise a vacation of a lifetime . . . but you’ve given up on us and not tried to help us out."

WHDH Channel 7 in Boston reported that the couple described the flood as a "torrential downpour" from the ceiling. 

Do you ever wonder why cruise lines like Royal Caribbean have bad reputations?

 

https://youtube.com/watch?v=Tav-eGv-kd0%3Frel%3D0

 

Update: It turns out that this is on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas two weeks ago. Here is a video on Facebook from one of the passengers on the cruise ship. The couple was apparently upgraded to another cabin, but no refund.  Just the 50% off in the future.

 

If you like this article, consider reading other articles about the various ways that the cruise industry has ruined its reputation with its counter-productive crisis management philosophy:

Royal Caribbean Press Statements And Other Gobbledygook

And The Cruise Industry Wonders Why It Has An Image Problem . . .

And The Cruise Industry Wonders Why It Has An Image Problem . . . (continued)

The Cruise Industry’s Reputation – A Sinking Image

 

(Video courtesy WHDH Channel 7 Boston)