Tourism & Cruises

Brown shower water and flies on buffet bagels helped this Carnival ship fail inspection

Carnival Fantasy in a New Orleans port in 21016.
Carnival Fantasy in a New Orleans port in 21016. AP

Brown shower water, film on pool water and flies on bagels were part of a historically bad failed July CDC inspection of Carnival Cruise Line’s Fantasy.

The worst inspection in Fantasy’s history — 77 out of 100 with 85 being a passing score and 78 in 1990 being the previous low — was the cruise line’s only inspection fail in July. Carnival ships Inspiration (97) and Imagination (94) also were inspected in July by the Centers for Disease Control under its Vessel Sanitation Program.

“The results for Fantasy are not reflective of our robust standards and dedicated commitment to our guests’ health and safety,” said a statement from Carnival Cruise Line. “We have already taken corrective action, added additional staff and asked (United States Public Health) for a re-inspection as soon as possible, with every expectation that we will exceed USPH standards.”

Cruise ships are subject to two unannounced inspections per year. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Majesty of the Seas also failed a July inspection, scoring a subpar 82.

Fantasy is based in Mobile, Alabama and cruises the Caribbean and Panama Canal. The July 18 Inspection Detail Report opens with “The inspector noted brown water discharged from two shower hoses in the medical center. Medical crew reported these shower hoses were not used often.

“A crew member confirmed that they see brown water in their shower that is used at least twice daily.”

No reason was given for the brown water.

There were other water problems, such as records showing the chlorine level on two of the water slides dipping under two parts per million 13 days earlier. The inspector saw, first hand, problems with the main pool water:

“There were many patrons in the pool at the time of inspection. There was a visible film on the top of the water, and there was excessive visible debris floating on the water. There was a crew member with a net that was manually skimming the pool, but this is not an effective method.

“Also, there was standing, stagnant water at the forward port side of the waterpark. There was visible debris.”

As far as food service, a bulk container of half and half got thrown out for being too warm. Several food displays lacked complete sneeze shields.

“During breakfast service, three large bowls of bagels and sliced bread were out for self-service with flies on the food. There were not less than 15 small flies on the bagels and bread. These items were discarded.”

The inspector found fault also with the way crew dealt with dirty cutlery.

“The soiled cutlery was taken out of the tray and put with the soiled. The cutlery that were not soiled were deemed clean and stored separately. The staff member took the cutlery that was not heavily soiled and wiped it with a cloth and deemed it clean. The heavily soiled cutlery touched some other cutlery that were deemed clean.”

“This system provided for clean utensils to be contaminated by soiled items. Management staff explained how this system is used on a daily basis.”

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Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.