Saturday, August 31, 2013

Double Standards - Why Was Regent's Sanitation Failure Buried and Now Downplayed (When Silversea Problems Were Highly Publicized)?

I am baffled as to how Goldring Travel seemingly was the first outlet publishing that the Regent Seven Seas Navigator significantly failed its Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Inspection.  On August 26, 2013 I wrote the article:  Regent Seven Seas Navigator Fails CDC Inspection on June 16, 2013 - Why Was This Not Reported?

Regent Seven Seas Navigator
In that article I mentioned the following failures, among others:

  • Tuna salad that was being served to guests was being stored on the same trolley as raw meat AND it was never cooled (being kept at too warm a temperature)...because the staff did not know tuna needed to be refrigerated.  Not bad enough, Regent Seven Seas and its did not have the controls in place to be sure it was not presented past its expiration date.

  • More disgusting to me, the inspectors found so much condensation (read "dirty water") falling from the deckhead (ceiling) in the Poultry Freezer that the deck head was bent and thick ice had formed on boxes containing various foods.  A leak was also found in the vegetable storage room, but it wasn't leaking directly on any food.

  • There was no soap dispenser in the Pool Grill galley hand washing area also is pretty disgusting.  Aside from the people handling your food not washing their hands, one must wonder how such a thing - in plain sight - could be permitted.

  • Two racks of chocolate mouse and a bowl of whipped cream were stored at too high a temperature.

  • There was, of course, the obligatory cockroach found in the Galley Washing area and clean linens being stored on dirty, greasy, racks and clean, white, dishes stacked against a dirty/dusty cabinet

Three days later, on August 29, 2013,.Cruise Critic finally reported this June 2013 failure of the Navigator, but sanitized the article by eliminating all of the foregoing and claiming the failure was really more about bookkeeping errors: Two More Upscale Cruise Ships Fail June CDC Inspection.

Last  night I received my copy of Cruise News Daily, normally a very reliable (and enjoyable) daily newsletter on the cruise industry...and once again there was a whitewash.  In fact, it wrote, "But none of the infractions were anything like what was found on Silver Shadow..."   Actually, other than efforts to hide food (which was high on the stupid scale...and stupid is now off that ship!), the actual sanitation issues were pretty much the same or worse on the Regent Seven Seas Navigator.  (I am not sure how the above are not considered serious.)

Excuses seemed to focus on "the paperwork wasn't correct".  Wait a second!  The paperwork is required to assure things are being done properly.  No paperwork = No documentation = No record of errors, problems or issues.  To me that is a BIG problem; not just merely "crossing t's and dotting i's.)   Possibly it is because of my legal background, but I always look at what isn't there harder than at what is.

My question is, "Why?".  Why is it that Regent Seven Seas Cruises' failure have been reported belatedly and softly and with excuses?  I don't have the answer, but I do have my suspicions.

What do I suspect?  I suspect there is a combination of a much higher advertising budget (Regent Seven Seas Cruises is owned by Apollo Management...which also owns Oceania Cruise Line and a good portion of Norwegian Cruise Lines), far greater leverage with journalists and, to be sure, a significantly different approach with the media.

What does it mean?  It means don't believe the hype, but get all of the facts.  Silence, to be sure, is NOT golden.