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Queen Mary 2 fails sanitation inspection

By A. Pawlowski, CNN
Cunard's Queen Mary 2 offers regularly scheduled transatlantic crossings between New York and Southampton.
Cunard's Queen Mary 2 offers regularly scheduled transatlantic crossings between New York and Southampton.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Government inspectors found a number of violations on the Queen Mary 2
  • As a result, the ship received a score of 84, or "not satisfactory"
  • Ship's operator: All the issues raised in the report were immediately addressed
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(CNN) -- Queen Mary 2, billed by its owners as "the most magnificent ocean liner ever built," isn't getting such rave reviews from government sanitation inspectors.

The ship was checked earlier this month as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Vessel Sanitation Program, which aims to prevent gastrointestinal illnesses on cruise ships.

During the visit on June 10, inspectors found a number of violations, including "extremely dirty" water and floor tiling in a splash pool; a human hair in an ice machine; and various chemicals stored near napkins, paper cups and utensils.

As a result, the ship received a score of 84. The government has two score classifications: Anything 86 or higher is "satisfactory," while scores of 85 or lower are considered "not satisfactory."

Failing grades for ships, especially the larger vessels, are extremely rare, according to CruiseCritic.com. There have been no failing scores since Albatross, a private ship, received a score of 69 in February 2010, the site reported.

The kind of violations found on board the Queen Mary 2 are unacceptable, especially the dirty pool water, said Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor in chief of CruiseCritic.com.

"I've been chronicling the CDC scores for 14 years and this one is unusually bad," Brown said. "What really bothered me was the use of the word 'filthy' five times."

Cunard Line, which operates the Queen Mary 2, called the ship's most recent grade "an uncharacteristically low score." It stressed that on most previous inspections, the ship scored over 95 and achieved the maximum of 100 on three occasions.

"The poor assessment on 10 June resulted largely from one small area of the ship's overall operation. All the issues raised in the report were immediately addressed and have now been corrected," said Cunard spokeswoman Jackie Chase in a statement.

Ship and shore management have now "redefined certain roles and responsibilities" and the company's training schedule has been stepped up, Chase said.

"The Company is confident that failings of this nature will not occur again, and that the ship's VSP scores in future will return to the customary consistently high level."

So should you worry if you have a cruise coming up on the Queen Mary 2? Brown said you shouldn't have second thoughts.

"I'm sure after this, it's probably the cleanest ship out there," she said.