Carnival Fascination Fails CDC Health Inspection

Mike Schuler
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April 11, 2013

Carnival Fascination in Key West, FL in 2011. File photo.

The PR nightmare for Carnival Cruise Lines continued Thursday when a report published by the cruise ship news website,, said the Carnival Fascination failed a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sanitation inspection, and for some rather gut-churning deficiencies.

Of course, the story was quickly picked up by several mainstream media outlets. So we looked into the CDC report and here’s what we found:

During a surprise inspection by inspectors with the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) held on February 21, 2013, the Carnival Fascination scored an 84 out of a possible 100 points (a passing grade is 86 and above).

In total, the Carnival Fascination was cited for 44 items ranging from simple oversight (no paper towels at a hand washing station in a men’s bathroom ) to downright disgusting (flies and a roach nymph around the deck drain below a juice dispenser, a large fly around uncovered raw hamburger patties, and a salad bar not protected by the sneeze shield). The list goes on…

In addition to each deficiency cited, the CDC issued a number of recommendations for fixing the issues and Carnival complied, submitting a corrective action statement for review.

The Carnival Fascination has only failed a CDC VSP inspection once previously in the ship’s nearly 20 year history (a 74 in 1997).

In all fairness to Carnival Cruise Lines, the 84 score was hardly the lowest recorded this year. Celebrity Cruises ship Celebrity Century failed a February 8th inspection with a score of 78. A total of 6 ships, including the Carnival Fascination, have failed the CDC inspection in 2013.

Overall, Carnival Cruise Lines scored pretty high in the inspections held so far this year. Three Carnival Cruise ships have scored 98 points and one ship, Carnival Sensation, scored a perfect 100.

The report cards from every inspection by CDC inspectors are available to the public on the CDC website, but if you’re a cruiser or you work on cruise ships, it’s probably best you don’t start digging around.

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