Cruise ship illnesses can easily spread on board and are often related to the food served. If food is off or equipment is dirty it doesn’t take much for sickness to spread throughout the passengers and crew. Fortunately, cruise inspections are carried out on ships to make sure proper sanitation and food storage rules are adhered to. However, an insider has revealed the shocking truth about how some cruise ships try to get around these inspections.
Jim Walker, a lawyer who specialises in cases involving cruise-line employees and passengers, told Business Insider of the ingenious ways some cruises get away with breaking the rules.
He revealed that if food is improperly stored or equipment is dirty during an inspection, some cruise managers will order the crew to hide the items in their own cabins.
This is so the inspectors won’t realise rules are being broken and they won’t be penalised.
He also added that the food taken away to the crews’ rooms can also be later served to passengers.
In 2013, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) carried out a surprise inspection on a Silversea Cruises ship – the Silver Shadow – in Alaska following a tip-off.
A crew member had sent photographs to the CDC of meat in cabin crew sinks and trays of food in corridors outside crew cabins.
The CDC noted an “organised effort to physically remove” 15 trolleys of food (including raw meat, milk and cheese) along with dishes and utensils from the kitchens in crew members’ cabins to “avoid inspection.”
The CDC gave the Silver Shadow ship an inspection score of 82 – scores of under 85 are “not satisfactory,” said the CDC website.
One crew member told CNN at the time that he and his colleagues had been ordered to sleep with food in their cabins by superiors.
CDC inspectors poured chlorine liquid over the discarded food on the food to prevent it being served, said the final report.
Silversea spokeswoman Gina Finocchiaro told CNN in 2013 they were “deeply disappointed” in the outcome of the inspection” and called the incident an “anomaly.”
However, Walker said it was not uncommon for cruise ships to hide food away from government inspectors.
“We also asked crew members from other cruise lines whether cruise ships playing “hide and seek” from the USPH [the United States Public Health Service] is a common practice in the cruise industry,” he wrote on his website cruiselaw.com. “It’s not a scientific poll, but around 90 per cent of crew members said “yes.”
He told CNN that managers on board the ship “were essentially caught playing a game.”
A Silversea spokeswoman told Express.co.uk: “The health and safety of our Guests is paramount. At the time this happened, we took this infraction extremely seriously and reassured all guests on our cruises that from all our investigations we believed this to be an extremely uncommon occurrence on Silversea vessels.
“Our record of inspections pre and post this incident with the VSP shows that we maintain extremely high standards of hygiene on our vessels.
“We have since taken several initiatives to ensure standards are regularly met and that nothing like this can happen again.”
Express.co.uk has contacted Cruise Line International Association for industry comment on such incidents.
This week an elderly British couple were arrested after a stash of cocaine was allegedly found in their suitcases.