Silversea Cruises Health Inspection

Notes about Silver Shadow’s Health Inspection

Silversea CruisesHaving sailed on Silversea Cruiess’ Silver Shadow and reading the news about their health inspection results, I thought I would add to the cruise buzz.  I emailed Silversea Cruises to ask what the deal was and I spent some time reading though their press release about the incident (full report is listed below my 2-cents worth about my experience).

I might add that I have been married to an  executive chef who spent over 20 years serving the masses. I can say that when I am in a restaurant (on land or sea) that I am a very picky and food safety is always a concern of mine (having had a terrible gastrointestinal virus I got from a street vendor). Also, I can recall how a scheduled health inspection would cause general panic and fear even in the cleanest commercial kitchens around. So… you can see how I would be intrigued about Silversea Cruises and their recent health inspection.

Blast from the past: Making pizza on Silversea Cruises Silver Shadow

While sailing on Silver Shadow (read voyage recap here), I had a chance to go into the La Terraza galley to make my own pizza. The kitchen kitchen was immaculate and there was nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, I was totally impressed by the way the product was presented for my personal use: wrapped, marked and properly portioned.  This was a unbelievable experience.

Silversea Cruises
Making pizza on Silver Shadow

From Silversea Cruises:  Silversea Cruises Statement on Silver Shadow

The inspection by the USPHS on the Silver Shadow on June 17, documenting an unusually low score, has given the Company great cause for concern.

At Silversea Cruises we pride ourselves on providing the best quality services to our guests. Since the preliminary report was given to us, a full investigation has been carried out into the circumstances which led to this unsatisfactory result and a  number of steps have been taken to ensure that the standards of food hygiene, in particular, are of the highest order.  The other issues contained in the report have been rigorously dealt with as well. Our investigation has included the involvement of an external sanitation consultant travelling on board the ship and our own managers working through every aspect of the USPHS report to ensure full compliance. Following the June 17 inspection additional training was provided for all food handlers and supervisors, butlers, cooks, waiters and bar staff to reinforce company procedures. Implicit in this training was that no food or food equipment is, at any time, permitted in cabins or non-designated areas. Procedures for reporting and replacement of equipment identified in the inspection report were also included in the training programme.

Operational management has also introduced an anonymous call system where any member of staff can report failings of procedures to senior managers without fear of reprisals.

There will be a further inspection by the USPHS before the Silver Shadow leaves Alaskan waters at the end of August, which we welcome as we believe and trust the results of any follow-up inspection will demonstrate Silversea’s commitment to maintain the best standards in sanitation and hygiene on board its fleet.

For reasons of full transparency we have laid out below our investigation’s findings in relation to the main area of concern in the USPHS report:  trolleys and food being hidden from inspectors in cabins.

The unannounced inspection on June 17 occurred at the end of the breakfast period where pots, pans and utensils were on working stations and items to return to the galleys were on trolleys as were stores from the fridges ready for use. It is clear that when the galley staff heard that inspectors were on board, instead of continuing their work in the understanding that they were in the middle of a meal service, they tried to quickly remove all trolleys and any items not in the fridges and place them in cabins out of the way. It goes without saying that such practices are against company policy and should not have happened. We would also like to make clear that following the inspection of Silver Shadow, all food found in the cabins was destroyed and  under no circumstances was improperly stored food served to any guests.

Enzo Visone
Chief Executive Officer
Silversea Cruises


What is Silversea going to do to ensure standards are regularly met and that this practice is not used on ships within the fleet?

– Silversea Cruises has fully investigated this matter and the accusations of a previous crew member. We take this infraction extremely seriously and wish to reassure all guests on our cruises that from all our investigations we believe this to be an extremely uncommon occurrence on Silversea vessels. Our record of inspections with the VSP shows that we maintain extremely high standards of hygiene on our vessels.   As a result of this inspection, we have taken this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the highest possible standards of food hygiene and focused all our attentions on actions to ensure nothing like this can ever happen again.

What specific actions have you taken?

  • We have assigned an external sanitation specialist consultant to travel on-board Silver Shadow. Together with our own managers, the consultant has worked through every aspect of the USPHS inspection report to ensure full compliance.
  • Our Fleet Executive Chef spent one month on-board the Silver Shadow retraining the Galley management Team through policies and procedures
  • Additional training was provided for all food handlers and supervisors, butlers, cooks, waiters and bar staff to reinforce company procedures, with particular emphasis on food sanitation.
  • All equipment that does not meet the requirements of the CDC inspection has been discarded and replaced.
  • CCTV is being placed in appropriate corridors at the next dry-docking to ensure no foodstuffs or other equipment is brought into crew accommodation areas.
  • A procedure in which any member of staff can inform management, anonymously, of any failures to follow procedures involving food handling and preparation is being introduced immediately.
  • Finally, a zero tolerance policy has been instituted in relation to improper food handling at all times, including USPHS inspections.

Have people been held accountable for these actions?

– Yes, the individuals responsible for this situation are no longer with Silversea.  We will not identify the crew members’ names or positions. In addition, we realize that Silversea management has to take its share of a responsibility and ensure that this does not happen again.

Has Silversea management ever pressured crew to hide violations from health authorities?

– Silversea Cruises management directs staff to be transparent with USPHS/CDC inspectors.  Our investigation indicates that, in the Silver Shadow situation, some of our staff made an impulsive decision, and we need to look at what happened, who found it necessary to authorise such activity and how we can avoid having this situation happen again.  Our Executive Chef, external sanitation expert and other managers have spent much time on-board since the inspection re training and briefing teams on what is expected of them in the full understanding that the chefs and their staffs have to provide some of the finest food available anywhere in the world to our guests in the safest manner possible.

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