The Best (And Worst) Carnival Cruise Health Inspection Scores, According to the CDC

Which Carnival ships scored the highest on their latest health inspection? And which didn’t do as well? Below, we have the full list of the latest scores from every ship in the fleet.

Funnel of a Carnival cruise ship
Cruise ships sailing from the United States are regularly inspected by the CDC, with scores and reports issued to the public. We have the latest data across all of Carnival Cruise Line.

There’s no doubt that cruise lines take cleanliness seriously. With thousands of people sailing in a close space, the spread of any illness is a serious threat. Combine that with the headlines generated whenever a cruise line sees an outbreak, and there’s even more incentive for cruise lines to do whatever they can to make sure ships are squeaky clean.

As cruise passengers, we also have an interest in making sure we sail on a clean ship. No one wants to get sick on their vacation, and nobody wants to sail on a ship that gets poor inspection scores.

The good news is that you absolutely don’t have to. Many cruise passengers don’t know that the Centers for Disease Control regularly inspects cruise ships porting in the United States, gives them scores, and provides full public reports about what was found.

It’s all part of the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP). The VSP provides regular inspections of cruise ships sailing from or porting in the United States. Just like a restaurant in your town is randomly checked by the health department, the CDC does the same for cruise ships.

Cruise ships are subject to two inspections every year. Ships are scored on a 100-point scale, and anything less than an 86 is considered a failing grade. The inspections focus on eight areas:

  • Medical facilities
  • Water systems
  • Swimming pools and whirlpools
  • Galleys and dining rooms
  • Child activity centers
  • Hotel accommodations
  • Ventilation systems
  • Common areas

Once inspected, the ship is provided a score and a full report — with any violations — is uploaded to the VSP website.

In general, cruise ships do relatively well on these inspections. It’s rare for a ship to fail. We’d estimate it happens only a handful of times a year. In fact, many more ships earn perfect 100 scores than fail the inspection. In general, most scores are well in the 90s.

So how has Carnival performed in these inspections?

Health Inspection Scores for the Entire Carnival Fleet

With one of the largest fleets of any cruise line, Carnival sees dozens of inspections a year. Overall, the cruise line performs very well, though there are definitely some ships that have done better than others.

We used the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program database to return the latest scores across the cruise line. The following table includes all the latest scores going back to 2023 across two dozen ships:

Across the entire fleet, Carnival's average inspection score is a solid 94.5 out of 100.

The highest score comes courtesy of Carnival Panorama. That ship earned a perfect 100 on its latest inspection. Carnival Venezia, Spirit, and Pride earned nearly perfect 99 scores while Carnival Sunrise and Celebration scored a respectable 98.

That's roughly a quarter of the fleet earning a 98 or higher.

Carnival Breeze
On average, Carnival ships scored well, with an average score well into the 90s. Carnival Breeze was the lowest-scored ship in the fleet according to CDC inspections.

However, not every ship was so close to perfect. In particular, three ships scored in the 80s, getting dangerously close to the score that signifies a failing score.

In March, Carnival Elation scored an 89 on its inspection. The report cited a number of instances of flies around the ship, including near the omelet station, on fruit at a breakfast area, and in the casino.

Carnival Miracle scored an 88 on its latest inspection. Inspectors frequently mentioned condensation collecting in food areas, as well as food debris, and bartenders not washing hands properly.

The lowest score was an 86 aboard Carnival Breeze -- just on the edge of a failing grade. Here, inspectors took issue with errors in the record-keeping for checking pool facilities, clogged drains, food debris, and cleaned dishes with "chunks of food" stuck on them after being sanitized.

You should keep in mind that no matter how well (or poorly) a ship performs on the inspection, they are required to fix any issues seen and submit a corrective report.

How to See What Your Cruise Ship Scored

Headed on a cruise soon and want to know what your specific ship scored on its latest inspection? You can search the VSP database using this page. Simply find your ship in the list and then click search. It will also allow you to see reports, which you can read to see the specific violations found on the ship.

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