Cruise ships: Floating palaces or floating petri dishes? A few high-profile incidents may have given some people the impression that a cruise vacation is virtually guaranteed to come with a side of the stomach flu. For example, in March 2017, an outbreak of norovirus sickened almost 8% of passengers and 3% of crew on the Coral Princess. Read a few more of those stories, and you might get the idea that cruise ships and sickness go hand in hand. But thankfully, that’s not the case.
Because it’s so easy for disease to spread on cruises, the CDC makes a special effort to ensure cruise lines are doing all they can to keep passengers safe and healthy. One aspect of the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program is random inspections. Many of those inspections go swimmingly – cruise lines don’t want a boat full of vomiting passengers, after all — but occasionally an inspector turns up something pretty gross.
Here are 15 dirty and disgusting things that the inspectors have spotted on cruise ships. The last one is something you definitely don’t want to encounter in your cabin.
1. Dirty beer taps
Planning to kick back by the pool with a cold beer on your next cruise? You’d better hope that someone’s cleaned the taps recently. During one inspection on the Hanseatic, a German-owned ship that specializes in trips to the Antarctic, the inspector noted that a beer tap “had a buildup of a brownish substance” on the inside of the dispenser. On the Un-Cruise Adventures Safari Quest in 2015, “the lines for the beer taps were soiled with debris when checked with a drinking straw.” It had been over two months since the taps had last been cleaned, according to the crew. Gross!