Cruise Ship Law

Holland America Cruise Ship Fails Surprise CDC Health Inspection


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Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. is comprised of attorneys that are nationally-recognized industry leaders in the field of maritime and admiralty law. Our team of lawyers has over a century of combined experience, has successfully handled over 3,000 cases, and has recovered over 300 million dollars in damages for our clients.

Unsanitary cruise ships are the breeding grounds for disease outbreaks, accidents and other unexpected mishaps, but it seems as though Holland America’s Veendam ship has gone off the deep end- no pun intended – with its latest health inspection.

The 16-year-old, 1,350-passenger vessel failed a surprise U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention inspection on Aug. 19, a rare occurrence for a modern-day cruise ship. Only two other ships from major cruise lines have failed a CDC inspection in the past three years: Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas and Cunard’s Queen Mary 2. It is actually more common for ships to receive a perfect score than to fail.

The CDC conducts these unplanned inspections as part of its Vessel Sanitation Program. The agency chooses passenger ships that dock in U.S. ports twice a year and then grades them on a 100-point scale. Any score below 86 is considered failing. Between finding malfunctioning refrigerators and dishwashers to uncovering flies around food storage and preparation areas, the CDC had no choice but to fail the vessel, giving the Veendam a score of 77.

In their report, CDC inspectors noted they observed managers failing to fix a malfunctioning dishwasher, which resulted in the contamination of clean dishes. Workers were also observed putting the contaminated dishes into clean storage racks, leading to what could become a breeding ground for bacteria and subsequently sick passengers.

Holland America said in a statement to USA TODAY that the cruise line already addressed the issues and claims they were localized.

“All the issues raised in the report were immediately addressed and have now been corrected. We have also ensured that our management and training practices in this area have been refocused to ensure continued success,” read the statement.

Holland America also stressed that the Veendam has previous received passing scores in 32 other CDC inspections since the vessel’s inauguration.

“While unacceptable for Holland America Line, the unsatisfactory score is highly unusual and an aberration. We are confident that this will not occur again, and that Veendam’s (CDC) scores in future will return to their consistently high levels,” said the cruise line.

Sanitation is imperative on a cruise vessel due to the large number of people onboard. Both passengers and crewmembers can become severely ill due to lack of hygiene, undercooked food, contaminated utensils, dirty bed sheets, and many other unsatisfactory conditions. Disease can also spread quickly, and sometimes a vessel’s onboard medical staff is not properly equipped to handle an outbreak.

In the event that a cruise line allows an unsanitary environment aboard one of its vessels and someone becomes ill, they are advised to turn to a cruise accident lawyer to immediately discuss their rights. Our maritime attorneys have years of experience in fighting for the rights of those who have gotten sick or injured due to a cruise line’s negligence and will see to it that you and your loved ones obtain a successful recovery for any medical costs, injuries or losses. Call us today to discuss your options and ensure the cruise personnel responsible for the incident are held accountable for their negligence.

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