• Most of the more than 200 active cruise ships the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has inspected received passing grades: at least an 86 on the agency's 100-point sanitation score.
  • But a handful earned failing grades for a variety of reasons, including improperly stored food and the presence of flies in food-and-beverage areas.
  • Princess Cruises' Regal Princess received the lowest score, with 77 points out of 100.
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Most cruise ships are pretty clean, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which inspects ships to make sure they maintain proper sanitation.

Most of the more than 200 active cruise ships the CDC has inspected received passing grades: at least an 86 on a 100-point sanitation score. But a handful earned failing grades for a variety of reasons, including improperly stored food and the presence of flies in food-and-beverage areas.

Given the close proximity between passengers, the effects of poor hygiene can spread quickly - as evidenced by Princess Cruises' Diamond Princess ship, where hundreds of passengers contracted the Wuhan coronavirus as the ship failed to use proper health procedures, according to an infectious-disease expert. (A Japanese health official disputed the expert's claims.)

These are the four cruise ships that currently operate in the US market and received a failing grade during their most recent CDC inspection, ranked in descending order of the inspection score.


4. Le Boreal

Cruise line: Compagnie Du Ponant

Date of most recent inspection: October 6, 2017

Inspection score: 84

Violations: Food stored at excessive temperatures and in a dirty shopping cart; dirty and broken dishwashers; a dirty coffee machine; a dirty ice machine; flies found in food-and-beverage areas.

Compagnie Du Ponant did not respond to a request for comment.


T3. Safari Endeavour

Cruise line: Un-Cruise Adventures

Date of most recent inspection: September 9, 2018

Inspection score: 79

Violations: An absence of backflow-prevention devices for a coffee machine and a glass-washing machine; milk and half-and-half stored at excessive temperatures; failure to discard expired sour cream and salsa; storing eggs and other food items in dirty containers; dirty cups, bowls, and cutting boards; storing dishes, pots, and utensils in dirty ovens.

"We immediately took corrective action when the Safari Endeavour received a poor inspection report from the CDC last year," an Un-Cruise Adventures representative said. "These steps included senior management on site to retrain ship staff, accelerated check-ins and monitoring of procedures on board, and flying two executive chefs to the Vessel Sanitation Program headquarters in Miami for further training."


T3. Silver Wind

Cruise line: Silversea Cruises

Date of most recent inspection: March 18, 2018

Inspection score: 79

Violations: Flies in food-and-beverage areas; a broken soap dispenser near the pot-washing area; dirty equipment in washing and food areas; storing clean cups and pots near dirty ones; food stored at improper temperatures.

A Silversea representative said in May that the Silver Wind has since been re-inspected and received a passing score. A CDC representative said in October that the Silver Wind has not been re-inspected.


1. Regal Princess

Cruise line: Princess Cruises

Date of most recent inspection: February 5, 2020

Inspection score: 77

Violations: A leaky espresso machine, low chlorine levels in a pool, a child with a diaper in a pool, improper food storage, a dirty cutting board, broken dishwashing machines, flies present in food-storage and service areas.

Princess Cruises did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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