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Carnival Cruise Line's In The Hot Seat

RNCollins

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Carnival Cruise Line's Christine Duffy

In The Hot Seat / Travel Weekly / By Tom Stieghorst / February 20, 2018
http://www.travelweekly.com/In-the-Hot-Seat/Carnival-Cruise-Line-Christine-Duffy

“The U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) inspects cruise ships that visit U.S. ports to check their sanitation and hygiene conditions and grades them on a scale of 1 to 100. Most ships get a passing grade of 86 or higher, which was why it was so surprising that four ships from Carnival Cruise Line received unsatisfactory grades in a two-month period from Nov. 11 to Jan. 4. Two of the four, the Carnival Breeze and the Vista, are Carnival's two newest ships. The others were the Carnival Triumph and the Liberty. The three ships that were graded under 86 in 2017 represent nearly 20% of all the ships that failed in 2017, out of a total of 256 inspections. Cruise editor Tom Stieghorst spoke with cruise line president Christine Duffy about the run of failures.

Q: How do you account for it? I can't think of a year in which four ships from a single line were graded unsatisfactory, much less four in two months.


Christine Duffy
A: Neither can we. Obviously, it was very concerning to all of us. We have a dedicated shoreside team that manages the work with USPHS and then teams onboard the ships. We've always been very proud of the scores that we've gotten.

Q: What do you say to passengers?

A: I think the most important thing to say is that the findings have really not compromised public health.

Q: Are there specific issues that produced those low scores?

A: While there's a lot of retraining, and refocus and reemphasis that we are taking care of, based on some of the scores, a lot of it has been administrative inconsistencies, and also issues where we have been asked to replace certain equipment. So there's different standards and different equipment that we are replacing. But it takes some time from that point to the time when we'll be able to get it onboard the ships. That is all in process. Some of it may be coffee pots, ... salad bowls.

Q: Were all the Carnival ships inspected during November and December graded unsatisfactory?

A: Carnival Glory and Carnival Pride were also inspected during this time and got scores of 99 and 95, [respectively].

Q: How alarmed should people be about the "unsatisfactory" label?

A: I think some of this is reminding people that a passing score is 86, which is a pretty high bar. Failure doesn't actually indicate any unsanitary or public health concern. Obviously, if there were, we wouldn't be able to sail. There's been no disruption to any of our guests.

As you know, we are the only industry in hospitality that is in a program where it's voluntary. We pay for all the services that USPHS provides. I think when the program began, it was with the idea that setting the pass/fail at 86 would make sure that all the cruise lines and cruise ships would get information before there was ever a problem, to be able to address it.

Q: One problem that seemed to occur on several ships was crew working while they were ill. What can you do to discourage sick crew members from working?

A: Some of that was actually people who were not filling out the forms before they were coming back to work. That became a deduction in points. We have reiterated to all of our crew members, to the medical team onboard, to our department managers, that if someone is sick we don't want them working. The last thing we want is to have any issues that would create a public health concern or an outbreak. Fortunately, we have not had those, so clearly, again, I think some of this is we need to do a tighter job on the documentation when someone was writing in and signing out, and so those were part of the administrative inconsistencies that have caused these failures.”
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
We cruised on Carnival Liberty & survived.

The ship sailed to the Bahamas from Port Canaveral FL Jan. 7, 2018, returning Jan. 11, 2018.

No issues. No complaints.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 

bizaro86

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We had a visibly sick cabin steward on NCL once. I think the wages and work environment (you can't leave) on a cruise ship pressures staff to work when sick, even if against official policy.
 

Passepartout

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Carnival president Duffy covers her heinie pretty well, but fails to explain how other lines consistently get better USPHS scores than Carnival, with far less incidence of breakdowns of major shipboard systems (like plumbing, propulsion, navigation). I am reminded of the many, many times l have taken a stairway on a Celebrity ship, and there is ALWAYS a crew person wiping down the handrails, and not being allowed into a dining venue without a crew person squirting Purell on my hands.
 

pedro47

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Four (4) Carnival Cruise Ships failed their CDC & Prevention Vessel Sanitation Health Inspection with scores below 86. 86 is the lowest passing score...
The Highest score to achieve by the CDC is 100.
The ships are lisited below:
Liberty scored 80 out of 100
Breeze scored 77 out of 100
Vista scored 79 out of 100
Triumph scored 78 out of 100.
 
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Talent312

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Passepartout

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I've never become ill aboard any cruise ship.
I hadn't either until last November when, in Bermuda, I fell into a rough coral street ripping up my arm and leg pretty well. I hoofed it back to the ship, (Celebrity Equinox) and was encouraged to go to the infirmary on board. There is a doctor and 2-3 nurses. There is also a full dialysis center aboard. I had to wait while 3-4 other people went ahead of me, and when it became my turn, I was told that the doc would see me for $135USD or I could clean my wounds myself and they'd give me a supply of large bandages and antibiotic ointment to cover the wounds. Long story short, after cleaning up in the shower, the towels looked like there had been a chain-saw massacre. Anyway, I was somewhat pleasantly surprised to find the completeness of the medical facility on board the cruise ship. Fwiw, I did heal, and with no infection. All is well.

Jim
 

Sapper

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Carnival Cruise Line's Christine Duffy


Q: How alarmed should people be about the "unsatisfactory" label?

A: I think some of this is reminding people that a passing score is 86, which is a pretty high bar. Failure doesn't actually indicate any unsanitary or public health concern...”
WOW at the spin! Haha. It sounds like a kid trying to justify their failing grade!

Also, I know an ER nurse in Houston who says she knows when a Carnival ship comes into the port (Galveston) due to people coming in with similar specific complaints.
 

VacationForever

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I hadn't either until last November when, in Bermuda, I fell into a rough coral street ripping up my arm and leg pretty well. I hoofed it back to the ship, (Celebrity Equinox) and was encouraged to go to the infirmary on board. There is a doctor and 2-3 nurses. There is also a full dialysis center aboard. I had to wait while 3-4 other people went ahead of me, and when it became my turn, I was told that the doc would see me for $135USD or I could clean my wounds myself and they'd give me a supply of large bandages and antibiotic ointment to cover the wounds. Long story short, after cleaning up in the shower, the towels looked like there had been a chain-saw massacre. Anyway, I was somewhat pleasantly surprised to find the completeness of the medical facility on board the cruise ship. Fwiw, I did heal, and with no infection. All is well.

Jim
You know that your travel insurance would have covered the cost...
 

Passepartout

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I didn't think Medicare or its supplements paid if you are out of the US.
I called. They told me that they would cover up to whatever medicare pays- anywhere in the world as long as they were provided an itemized invoice- in English.
 

pedro47

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The Carnival spokesperson stated that the score 86 is a pretty high bar. OK, please explain why three (3) of the four (4) cruise ships scores were under 79 or lower. Sound liked there is a problem somewhere on those cruise ships?
 
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Glynda

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I believe Plan F covers out of the US.
I have forgotten which we have. Will have to check as I’ve bought trip insurance for that among other things the last two years. Thanks!
 

Glynda

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I called. They told me that they would cover up to whatever medicare pays- anywhere in the world as long as they were provided an itemized invoice- in English.
Have you, or anyone reading, put them to test? Curious as to actual experience.
 

Talent312

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We bought Plan F in large part due to it's foreign coverage.
We knew someone who fell on a pier, struck her head and had to be transported 1st locally, then to the States.
.
 

Passepartout

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Have you, or anyone reading, put them to test? Curious as to actual experience.
Nope. I took the el-freebo way out, but we have TravelGuard anyway and if necessary, one or the other would have covered it. So far we haven't had emergency medical necessity overseas. (Knock wood!)
 

beejaybeeohio

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I hadn't either until last November when, in Bermuda, I fell into a rough coral street ripping up my arm and leg pretty well. I hoofed it back to the ship, (Celebrity Equinox) and was encouraged to go to the infirmary on board. There is a doctor and 2-3 nurses. There is also a full dialysis center aboard. I had to wait while 3-4 other people went ahead of me, and when it became my turn, I was told that the doc would see me for $135USD or I could clean my wounds myself and they'd give me a supply of large bandages and antibiotic ointment to cover the wounds. Long story short, after cleaning up in the shower, the towels looked like there had been a chain-saw massacre. Anyway, I was somewhat pleasantly surprised to find the completeness of the medical facility on board the cruise ship. Fwiw, I did heal, and with no infection. All is well.

Jim
Hi Jim!
Would never have guessed you were injured when we had a late lunch together in the Oceanview Cafe a few days later!
Barb
 
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