The Centers for Disease Control cited enough violations during a surprise inspection to give the cruise ship Veendam a failing grade , an uncommon occurrence in the industry. Holland America, which owns the vessel, said the score was an “aberration.”
Inspectors noted multiple sanitation violations during the Aug. 19 visit, including a fly on the buffet, brown liquid dripping on clean dishes, out-of-order refrigerators, and a cook not wearing a beard restraint while preparing food. Other safety violations found were improperly installed anti-entrapment drain covers in pools, faulty dishwashers and a broken ice machine that was leaking onto the pool deck.
CDC inspections are done twice a year on all ships that dock at U.S. ports, but cruise lines aren’t informed in advance. The ships are graded on a 100-point scale, with anything 85 or below considered a failing grade. The Veendam, a 16-year-old ship that can carry 1,930 passengers and crew, was graded at 77.
Failed inspections are highly unusual in the industry, and only five ships have received a failing grade since 2007. Cruise ship injury lawyers note that the industry has made big efforts to maintain sanitary on-board environments in recent years as illnesses such as the Norwalk virus sickened passengers, drawing negative media attention.