Fort Lauderdale, FL – The Queen Elizabeth 2 ocean liner failed a federal health inspection after regulators found cockroaches in the kitchen, mold residue on ice makers and blocked drains in the nursery.
The ship, one of the world’s most famous cruise liners, will be allowed to continue sailing, and there is no fine, though a re-inspection may be requested to clear the ship’s name.
Cunard Line officials said there were no unusual circumstances that explained the inspection failure. “It’s unacceptable from our point of view,” Cunard President Pamela Conover said Tuesday. Worn or malfunctioning equipment cited in the inspection report was being replaced, she said, and workers were getting rid of the cockroaches.
The discovery was made when the ship docked at Port Everglades two weeks ago on the first leg of a four-month world cruise, despite greater sanitary precautions taken throughout the industry because of a spike in gastrointestinal illnesses. These type of illnesses are very common with fungal exposure.
The ship has had cases of stomach illness, but not enough to be considered an outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
CDC and Cunard officials did not immediately return calls Wednesday for additional comment.
The ship, known as the QE2, left Fort Lauderdale on January 7. It is expected to dock next Saturday in Los Angeles, where it could be re-inspected.
Inspectors who toured the ship on Jan. 3 gave the QE2 a grade of 85 on a scale from 1 to 100. Grades below 86 are unsatisfactory.
Health authorities rarely block a ship from sailing after a failed inspection unless there is a drastic problem, such as a broken refrigerator. That was not the case with the QE2.
Of about 600 ship inspections done by the CDC in the past two years, only five have scored “not satisfactory.”
The QE2 previously failed inspection at Port Everglades two years ago when it scored 79, and again in April 1997, when it scored 80.
The aging ship, which made its first trans-Atlantic voyage in 1969, has been overhauled several times. Cunard, whose majority owner is Miami-based Carnival Corp., plans to take the QE2 out of trans-Atlantic service next year.