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Margaritaville at Sea failed a surprise health inspection due to too many people in hot tubs and concerns about food safety

Monica Humphries   

Margaritaville at Sea failed a surprise health inspection due to too many people in hot tubs and concerns about food safety
  • CDC officials failed Margaritaville at Sea Paradise on a surprise health inspection.
  • The ship scored 83 points, below the 86 needed to pass, with 65 issues noted.

On May 1, CDC officials boarded Margaritaville at Sea, a Jimmy-Buffet-themed ship that welcomes 1,680 passengers, for an unexpected health inspection.

The Vessel Sanitation Program officials gave the ship a failing grade. During the visit, they noted 65 issues on the ship, which resulted in an 83-point score. A score of 86 is needed to pass.

In the inspection detail report, officials noted food and drink concerns as well as crowded whirlpools.

In a statement sent to Business Insider, representatives for Margaritaville at Sea said, "Following internal policies, immediate corrective actions have been taken to address the issues identified in the inspection."

"Many of these issues have already been resolved and we will be working with USPH for a reinspection as soon as possible. We expect this reinspection will exceed USPH standard," the statement continued.

The report noted concerns about food and drink safety

Across the Paradise ship, there are seven dining venues, six bars, and food and drink areas for the ship's workers.

Within these spaces on Paradise, the officials noted in the inspection report that one worker handled an ice machine with gloves that "were stored with tools," adding that "it was unclear if the crew member washed his hands before putting on gloves."

The report stated that items like heavy cream were not in cold enough environments to meet CDC standards and that a crew member "could not demonstrate competency in verifying the concentration of the chemical used" while washing lettuce.

Additionally, numerous fridges, freezers, and deep fryers were out of service across the ship, areas of decks were soiled and in disrepair, and multiple rooms on the ship also didn't reach the required light intensity of 220 lux, the inspection stated.

Beyond food and drink, the officials noted that whirlpools often had six guests, although they're designed for a maximum of four people.

Margaritaville at Sea Paradise isn't the only ship to fail its inspection

In a statement sent to Entrepreneur, the Vessel Sanitation Program officials said, "Inspections usually take 6-8 hours, depending on the number of inspectors, ship size, amount of time the ship is in port, and issues identified during the inspection."

Previously, the MSC Seaside failed with a score of 67, Business Insider reported last spring. During that inspection — the lowest score given in six years — officials found a "crew member's hands and refrigerator door handle covered in hamburger blood" and "black filth residue" on four yogurt containers.

Meanwhile, fifteen ships gained perfect scores in last summer's report. Those ships included Disney Fantasy, Disney Wonder, Carnival Celebration, Carnival Panorama, Carnival Sunshine, Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Millenium, Celebrity Summit, MSC Seascape, Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas, Oceania Riviera, Rotterdam, Silver Moon, Norwegian Joy, and Norwegian Pearl.

Margaritaville at Sea Paradise scored an 87 in the biannual report last year.

In the past two years, multiple Business Insider reporters have boarded the Margaritaville at Sea Paradise ship, and their reviews have been mixed. Reporter Brittany Chang was on the ship's inaugural sailing, where she noticed outdated features and quality issues, deeming a Paradise cruise "not worth it."

Lauren Mack came to a similar conclusion after boarding the ship last summer following the cruise line's multimillion-dollar renovation. During her cruise, she moved staterooms twice due to cigarette smoke smells and felt like the ship lacked a cohesive theme.

"Margaritaville has all the cruise basics, but I think they're scaled back in quantity and quality," Mack said. "If you temper your expectations and want an extended booze cruise or a beach day on a budget, you may find the cruise worthwhile."


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