When you’re paying good money for a cruise holiday, you expect the ship to be tip top shape, especially when you’re travelling with a popular and well respected company.
That’s why passengers and fans of popular P&O Cruises were left shocked when the Oceana cruise ship failed a basic health and safety check recently.
Health inspectors shut down the ship’s swimming pool and spa bath after finding the chlorine levels were too low and housed unsanitary conditions.
They also issued fail marks to kitchen staff after they found cheese and sandwiches being kept in “potentially hazardous” temperatures.
The luxury liner failed over 20 health and safety checks all together, posing a significant danger to passengers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the liner with a score of 82 out of 100. The pass mark 85.
Health inspectors found six trays of cheese in the kitchen were not stored in the appropriate temperature range, while “noticeably dirty tile grout in this area [the kitchen] was soiled and in disrepair”.
They also found fruit flies in one of the pantries.
To top it all of, inspectors also found that a food handler had suffered symptoms of acute gastroenteritis, which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, but did not report it for nearly two-and-a-half hours.
Speaking about the failed inspection, maritime lawyer Jim Walker said: “In an era when cruise lines are quick to blame every single norovirus outbreak on the passengers, this CDC report provides an insight into how deficient water sanitation and disgusting food handling practices by a cruise line can jeopardise the health of the travelling public.”
It’s the first time the Oceana has failed a health inspection test since P&O Cruises took over in 2002. It has previously scored at least 95 per cent every time.
A P&O Cruises spokeswoman said: “We are extremely disappointed in the result of this inspection and we immediately rectified the areas identified as needing attention.”
Fans of P&O Cruises have jumped to the Oceana’s defence.
“I cruised on the Oceana last October and found the service good, My cabin a balcony was kept in tip top condition. No grumbles about the food either,” said one happy cruiser.
But others say it just confirms their long-held beliefs about cruising.
“Definitely not my idea of a holiday, being crammed within a confined ship with thousands of passengers and crew,” said one skeptic.