The Unsinkable Feces: The Top 6 Dirtiest Cruise Ships






Besides the 2020 pandemic, there are other mundane disasters like measles quarantines, norovirus outbreaks, or head-on collisions with other ships. There’s so much drama on the high seas that make a cruise an unpleasant experience, and that’s where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) comes in. CDC carries out cruise ship inspections to determine the level of sanitation from food stored poorly to purified water, not to mention the unsinkable feces: the top 6 dirtiest cruise ships.

The Top Dirtiest Ships

CDC inspections happen twice a year, and the current results reveal not-so-good reports that can ruin your trip or change your preferred cruise choice. Some of the results are gross, explaining why the Pacific Venus scored as low as position 76 out of 100 for various reasons like increased halogen levels in the drinking water, incorrect filtration in spas, insufficient buffet sneeze guards, and soiled wires in dirty kitchens. These reasons are only a part of the nastiness, but they don’t include upsetting phrases like reddish drip pipes in ice machines soiled with dust and debris and others with pink and brown residue.

Here’s a list of the top dirtiest ships.

Oceania Insignia

Oceania Cruises’ Insignia’s position is 80 due to problems like the inability to maintain proper pH and halogen levels in drinking water. The inspectors also revealed that food was unsafely stored at the wrong temperatures and infiltrated with insects, making it unfit for consumption.

Silver Wind

This Silversea Cruises vessel was ranked in the failing position of 79. According to the CDC report, Silver Wind’s pool and drinking water had low pH and chlorine levels, making it unsafe to drink and dangerous to use. Moreover, the dishwashing area was littered with soiled dishes, not to mention food stored at unsafe temperatures. The food and beverage areas were infested with flies, a damaged soap dispenser was near the dishes washing room, and keeping dirty cups next to clean ones.

Silver Spirit

Silver Spirit is a Silversea vessel that was ranked at 81. Sadly, CDC inspectors discovered that some crew members were unwell, yet they were still working, posing a risk to other passengers. The dishwasher was stuffed with food leftovers; food was left open, meaning cross-contamination is inevitable, and the ship is unsafe.

Regal Princess

Regal Princess is part of the Princess Cruises and was placed at the failing position of 77. The cruise was found in violations like a leaky espresso machine and a child with a diaper in the swimming whose water had low chlorine levels. The kitchen wasn’t different from other failing cruises as the food was stored at low temperatures, there was a dirty chopping board, flies in food storage areas, and a broken dishwashing machine.

Safari Endeavor

This UN-Cruise Adventures vessel is also in the same position (76) as the Safari Endeavor, with multiple violations; the absence of devices to backflow in coffee and glass washing machines. Milk is stored at high temperatures, and the spoiled sour cream or salsa is still in containers. In soiled ovens, eggs and other foods are also in dirty containers, cups, dishes, cutlery, pots, and utensils.

Norwegian Breakaway and Le Boreal

Typically, the Norwegian Cruise Line vessels always get exceptional scores. However, the Breakaway was at position 84 out of 100. It was disclosed that staff continued to work even after the diagnosis of stomach flu. The hot tubs also had extremely high pH levels, and food zones were infested with fruit flies, while leftovers were stored at unsafe temperatures.    

The Le Boreal vessel belongs to Compagnie Du Ponant and was ranked at position 84. Like other failing vessels, Le Boreal was also found to store food and beverage in fly-infested areas. Further, food was held at unsafe temperatures or in dirty zones.

How do Cruise Ships Dispose Of Waste?

All cruise ships have or should have a water-treatment system that keeps clean water running. With thousands onboard, a vessel generates 210,000 gallons of black water and 1M gallons of gray water in a week’s cruise. After collecting the wastewater onboard, it’s first treated before going overboard, and the water is divided into three categories.

  • Gray water from sinks, drains, and laundries
  • Bilge water consists of oils from equipment and the bottom of engine compartments in the vessel.
  • Black water from galleys and toilets

Wastewater is purified by running it through an advanced wastewater purification plant. Black water is added to the integrated treatment system. It goes through a bioreactor ‘aeration chamber.’ The chamber contains bacteria that break down organic contaminants in wastewater before entering the membrane filtration system to filter impurities. In the settlement chamber, heavy substances sink while water floats, and residual material is returned repeatedly for reprocessing.

At the end of these cycles, the remnants are disposed of in low-emission incinerators, and the purified sewage water goes to the ‘disinfection chamber’ for sterilization to make it pure. When all pathogens are out of the water, they are transferred to a storage tank to be discharged overboard. Gray water is minimally treated and released at sea in less sensitive zones.