Mention Carnival Cruise Lines and most people remember Kathy Lee Gifford singing away about endless parties, dazzling shows and, well…fun. But that’s not the entire picture. What goes on, to the oblivion of most passengers, is how their ship stays so clean. Except for perpetual vacuuming and polishing of the public area, guests don’t realize the endless hours that the cleaning crew spends scrubbing and sanitizing every inch of the ship.
There was a bit of exciting news at Carnival headquarters this week following a routine ship inspection. After the surprise visit from the United States Public Health department, Carnival Liberty received a coveted 100 score on its inspection. Overseen by the CDC, the unannounced inspection takes place twice a year, for any ship which sails to a foreign port and includes a port call in the US. Sometimes, the Captain might have an inkling that an inspection is looming on the horizon if there hasn’t been on in a few months, but no one ever really knows when the clip-board toting inspectors will come aboard.
The inspection encompasses every possible shipboard sanitation area including proper food handling, preparation, storage procedures. Even the walk-in freezers and refrigerators are given a thorough once-over. They check the overall cleanliness of the galley and adjacent areas where there is contact with food. A ship’s chef once told me that their score was “dinged” one point due to a chipped floor tile. Sure enough, there was an inspector back on board within a very short time to make sure that this broken tile had been replaced. It’s an incredibly detailed inspection. Equally important as the food handling areas, the potable water in the spas and pools is also checked for contaminents.
To make the perfect score on the Carnival Liberty even more memorable, this is a record-breaking fifth time this year that a Carnival ship has received a perfect 100 score from the USPH. The other four ships to receive a 100 score are the Carnival Dream, Carnival Freedom, Carnival Sensation and the Carnival Pride.
So the next time you are waiting for an elevator on one of the Carnival “Fun Ships” and there’s a crew member right in back of you sanitizing the handrails or finials, know that what you see happening is only the tip of the sanitation iceberg.