Cruise Ship Health and Sanitation Scores Available on the Web

Heightened concerns over the spread of S.A.R.S (Sever Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and the fall 2002 cruise ship outbreak of the Norwalk virus, also known as the common stomach flu, has brought much scrutiny to all venues of the travel industry. Cruise ships in particular have been under fire.

Cautious travelers have prematurely perceived the vessels as potential vacation health hazards. A more informed public should know that there has never been a case of S.A.R.S reported on any cruise ship. Additionally, the Norwalk virus affected less than 1/10th of 1% of passengers on the infected lines.

The image of a floating resort with passengers in close physical contact consuming food from a single source has raised red flags among already jittery travelers.

While attending a high school reunion in Philadelphia earlier this year, I was confronted by several classmates who proclaimed that they were against taking a cruise vacation because the chance of getting S.A.R.S is too high.

The irony is that cruise lines have much higher standards of sanitation and are tested more often than their inland counterparts. Also, because it is a contained environment, the cruise lines are much more effective in maintaining high standards and controlling possible health risks.

Imagine the impossible task facing the Hyatt Hotel in Washington’s Dulles airport to contain its recent Norwalk virus outbreak. Thousands pass through their door everyday. How many customers will transport the 'bug' and get sick at home?

Get informed

The Center for Disease Control conducts tough routine checks on all cruise ships in U.S. ports. These sanitation scores are available to the general public on their government web site:

When using this information, be sure to thoroughly check the ratings of your prospective cruise ship. The most common cause of a low score is usually related to food preparation and refrigeration temperatures not being within acceptable ranges.

To put this in perspective, Conde Nast Traveler reports that your chances of becoming ill on a cruise ship are 1 in 159,000. One low score does not reflect a real problem. It is not uncommon for ships to earn nearly perfect scores during these inspections.


For more information or to book an interview with John Krieger of Admiral of The Fleet Cruise and Tour Center contact Footwork Media Productions at 214.826.4992 or via email at

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