Carnival cruises: Couple’s honeymoon ruined by poop shower

My parents are taking a well-earned respite from the cold of Canada and embarked on a cruise from Florida the other day.

Hopefully it’s better than the one described below.

A couple from Missouri says their honeymoon cruise was ruined by sewage spewing from a shower drain, leaving them to celebrate amid the smell of “poop” inside their cabin.

Christine Parker and John Shoemaker, of St. Louis, detailed their foul experience in November aboard the Carnival Triumph in an interview with the Miami Herald, claiming unsanitary conditions on the 14-deck, 893-foot mega-ship turned what should have been a celebration into a potential health scare.

“We didn’t have a good honeymoon,” Parker told the newspaper. “People expect you to come back so excited and we have been fighting with the Carnival staff and smelling poop in our room. We were exhausted and angry.”

To make matters even worse, Parker claimed crew members aboard the ship acted as if black sewage reeking of fecal matter was no big deal.

For her troubles, Parker said Carnival offered her a $300 credit to be used on the ship and 15 percent off her next cruise with the company — which she doesn’t intend to book anytime soon.

The ship, which arrived back in south Florida on Nov. 11, was later given a failing grade by inspectors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vessel Sanitation Program.

Two other Carnival Cruise Line ships — the Breeze and the Vista, the company’s newest vessel — failed similar inspections in December, bringing the company’s tally to three failed inspections within two months, according to the Herald.

A Miami-based maritime attorney told the newspaper that failed inspections on cruise ships typically occur roughly two or three times per year, making the rash of poor grades a rarity.

Chabeli Herrera of the Miami Herald reports that aboard the Carnival Vista, Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, crew members hid trolleys of potentially hazardous food, equipment and dirty dishware from sanitation inspectors.

Fruit flies were found by the buffet and in a Parmesan cheese container. Crew failed to appropriately document illnesses on board.

On the Carnival Breeze, another of the Doral-based line’s newest vessels, machinery was found to be corroded or not functioning properly. About 25 garbage bins overflowing with waste were found by inspectors near an area where food was handled.

These violations and dozens of others landed both ships failing grades from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vessel Sanitation Program, which routinely inspects cruise ships in an effort to control the spread of gastrointestinal illnesses. Ships must score 86 points or higher, out of 100, to pass.

But December’s reports follow another Carnival failure reported in November aboard the Carnival Triumph, bringing Carnival’s tally to three failed inspections in the past two months.

E. coli at Denver Stock Show came from kids’ area; do people know the risks with petting zoos?

The Denver Post reports that exposure to animals at Denver’s National Western Stock Show was the likely cause of an E. coli outbreak that occurred in the Denver area in January and February, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said today.

Specifically, contact with animals in the "Feed the Animals" exhibit on the third floor children’s area of the exposition center was probably where the outbreak originated, according to the extensive 15-page report.

A total of 30 cases were identified.

Children were disproportionately affected in the outbreak, suggesting a source that children would likely have more contact with than adults.

The report noted that the third floor children’s area of the expo center had a variety of exhibits geared towards children, including pony rides, a playground area, cages housing rabbits and poultry, educational exhibits, and hands-on activities.

In addition, food vendors were also located on the floor.

One of the exhibits was the "Feed the Animals" exhibit, where calves, goats, lambs, pigs and other farm animals were brought in from private owners located throughout the region. …

There were opportunities throughout the day for the visitors to feed the animals.

While feeding the animals was not a risk for illness, touching them put the visitors at higher risk of developing E. coli infection.

The investigators said that while hand sanitizer dispensers were readily available in the "Feed the Animals" area, and there were numerous signs instructing visitors to practice hand hygiene, the use of the sanitizers "was not protective against the illness."

In addition, handwashing facilities with running water, soap and paper towels were not readily available in the area.

There were no signs that warned that animals could cause disease or any that specifically cautioned against sipping from cups or eating or drinking in the animal contact areas as well as the use of strollers in that area.

The investigators suggested that such signs be posted in the future.

Brazil: Environment group says, pee in the shower to save water

I admit it: I pee in the shower.

And 30 minutes ago after returning from the beach, Sorenne peed on me and the towel she was wrapped in (that’s us, right, watching the sunset in Venice, Florida, last night).

But according to Brazilian environmental group SOS Mata, I’m a bona fide environmentalist.
dlisted reports that a new public service announcement is urging Brazilians to piss while showering (below) because it would save some 4,380 liters of water a year if every household didn’t flush their toilet at least once a day. (The original dlisted report is hilarious, if not entirely PG.)

“They even suggest that you make it a non-stop partying by brushing your teeth in the shower while you wash your nalgas and go pissy times.”

I do that too.

Dude, wash your hands

Proper handwashing with the proper tools — soap, water and paper towel — can significantly reduce the number of foodborne and other illnesses.

So says the International Food Safety Network.

People should be washing their hands before handling food and, for example:
• after using the toilet;
• when entering the kitchen to prepare food;
• before handling ready-to-eat food;
• after handling any raw food;
• after changing diapers;
• after playing with or cleaning up after pets; and,
• after handling garbage.

The steps in proper handwashing, as concluded from the preponderance of available evidence, are:

• wet hands with water;
• use enough soap to build a good lather;
• scrub hands vigorously, creating friction and reaching all areas of the fingers and hands for at least 10 seconds to loosen pathogens on the fingers and hands;
• rinse hands with thorough amounts of water while continuing to rub hands; and,
• dry hands with paper towel.

Water temperature is not a critical factor — water hot enough to kill dangerous bacteria and viruses would scald hands — so use whatever is comfortable.

The friction from rubbing hands with paper towels helps remove additional bacteria and viruses.

Next time you visit a bathroom that is missing soap, water or paper towels, let someone in charge know. And next time you see someone skip out on the suds in the bathroom, look at them and say, “Dude, wash your hands!”

And Don’t Eat Poop.

“I wouldn’t be happy showering under a rat”

That from the landlord of a Palmerston North, New Zealand flat, who apparently let her tenants shower with water from a heater containing a dead rat.

The Manawatu Standard reports that the two flatmates are nervously awaiting the results of blood tests after they learnt the "smelly water" they had been drinking and showering in came from a tank housing a badly decomposed rat.

Having suffered bouts of diarrhoea and vomiting before becoming aware of the corpse, they still have to shower at their parents’ homes and clean cooking utensils on the front lawn.

The saga began in early November when a 19-year-old resident noticed the water was "smelly" and she began feeling ill.

Her mother, worried sewerage had seeped into the water pipes, contacted the council, which in turn flushed the home’s pipes.

Several weeks later the shower blocked up, which eventually led to a plumber finding what was left of the large rat.

Rather than remove it, he gave instructions not to use any water until someone else did the dirty work.

The landlord said, "I can’t believe they didn’t ring me to say it was still there. I thought it was gone. Oh, I just feel ill. I have barely slept thinking about rats in tanks. It’s just a dreadful situation, but I thought the plumber or sanitisers had dealt with it."