How clean is that cruise ship?

If you have ever wondered about how effectively (or otherwise) hygiene is maintained in those important, behind-the-scenes areas on cruiseliners, such as food preparation and storage zones, there’s now a way to find out before you book.

The US Government’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a Vessel Sanitation Program that monitors all cruise ships visiting US ports, and this includes most of the ships visiting Australia.

Ships are subject to two surprise inspections a year, with CDC officers checking areas including galleys, restaurants, self-service buffets, laundry areas, room-service operations, children’s play areas and medical centres. Points are awarded for cleanliness in each area, with 100 points the maximum possible score.

The inspections are making news this month after the CDC awarded perfect scores to MSC Cruises liner Lirica and SeaDream Yacht Club’s SeaDream I from inspections in December. Only 20 or so liners – including Sapphire Princess, which is in Australian waters on a summer program and Diamond Princess, which will be here next summer – scored 100 per cent on their 2007 inspections.

Most vessels owned by the major cruise lines normally score in the mid to high 90s. Queen Mary 2, for instance, scored 97 from an inspection in June last year. QE2 scored 95 in May.

The CDC says any score below 86 constitutes a failure.

To checkout how your ship scores click on this link www.cdc.gov/nceh/vsp/default.htm.

THE CLEANEST SHIPS

MSC Lirica
SeaDream I
Diamond Princess
Emerald Princess
Noordam Holland
Norwegian Dream
Norwegian Dawn
Seven Seas Mariner
Summit
Liberty of the Seas
Adventure of the Seas
Pacific Princess
Coral Princess
Sapphire Princess
Caribbean Princess
Golden Princess
Carnival Pride
Star Princess
Millennium

Each ship received a perfect cleanliness score of 100 from Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

report: Mike Heard

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