Silverseas Luxury Cruise Ship Crew Hides Raw Pork in Cabins; CDC Cites Other Violations

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Cruise-ship failings are no stranger to the news. Carnival Cruise Lines' Triumph debacle, which left passengers stranded on the high seas without food or toilet facilities, and Costa's Concordia accident, which led to 32 deaths, come to mind, specifically. But now, even the luxury cruise market, in which passengers shell out $5,000 to $10,000 and more, is under fire after the latest news.

Recently, CNN reported that the Silversea Silver Shadow failed a surprise health inspection by the Centers for Disease Control on June 17 in Skagway, Alaska. The inspection was held after a crew member anonymously sent pictures to the CDC showing "meat in crew cabin sinks and trays of food in the corridors in the hallways outside those cabins."

That's quite a different experience from what is touted on the Fort Lauderdale-based cruise line's website, which promises dining to be "a high priority at Silversea," with "gastronomic excellence" a "given thanks to Silversea's partnership with the prestigious Grands Chefs Relais & Châteaux. No matter where you dine, their influence is readily apparent in the great diversity and presentation of culinary selections on board your all inclusive cruise."

According to the CDC inspection detail report, a host of violations was cited, including finding food "stored on the deck, under and on beds of the galley crew cabins"; food equipment "found on the deck, on and under beds and blankets, and on trolleys located in the galley crewmember cabins 302-326. These included previously cleaned sheet pans, a large meat slicer, knives and other utensils, microwave oven, a conveyor toaster oven, plates, and serving trays"; and "food stored too warmly in crew cabins: The food temperatures of just some of the many potentially hazardous foods stored in the crew cabins included: numerous cheeses from 50-68 °F, sliced and full pieces of deli meats from 58-63 °F, and raw pork at 47 °F."

The CDC also noted that "an organized effort was made to physically remove over 15 full trolleys of dry foods, spices, canned foods, cooked foods, milk, raw meats, pasteurized eggs, cheeses of all types, baking goods, raw fruits, raw vegetables, and a variety of both hand held and counter model food equipment, pans, dishware and utensils to over 10 individual cabins shared by two or three galley crew members in order to avoid inspection by VSP staff. All the out-of-temperature, potentially hazardous foods were discarded along with most other foods that were not canned or in original containers. The lead VSP inspector poured concentrated chlorine liquid over all the discarded foods as they were dumped into garbage bags to ensure they would not be used again. "

The cruise line received a final score of 82. A score of 85 or lower is considered not satisfactory.

The Silver Shadow currently has a four-star rating and a 78% favorable guest review on Cruisecritic.com.

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

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