The Cleanest and Dirtiest Cruise Ships (2024 Ranking) - Cruise with Leo

The Cleanest and Dirtiest Cruise Ships (2024 Ranking)

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Dirty cruise ship

On cruise ships, thousands of people sleep, eat, and have fun every day.

Since they are places with so many people, it is extremely important to maintain very high standards of cleanliness.

Not only as a matter of appearance but also to prevent possible contamination and disease.

For this reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), periodically inspects ships to assess their condition.

After the inspections, the national public health agency of the United States gives a score to each ship.

  • A score of 86 or higher is considered satisfactory
  • A score below 86 is considered a fail

Fortunately, many ships exceed a score of 90, but there are still some that have low scores.

How often do inspections take place and how do they work?

Hair in a drawer
Hair in a drawer

According to the CDC, cruise ships under the US jurisdiction are inspected twice a year. However, if a ship sails outside the United States for a long period, the inspection may not take place.

The ship will then be inspected again as soon as she returns to the US.

The procedures are very meticulous and can take up to 8 hours.

Depending on the size of the ship, there may also be multiple inspectors checking all areas of the ship. Both the ones dedicated to passengers and the ones dedicated to staff.

What is being checked?

Dirty cruise floor
Dirty cruise floor

Inspectors check many different things, which include:

  • Potable water: checking the safety of the source, the microbiological standards, the water production, the potable water systems and tanks, the pipes, hoses, and the handling of potable water.
  • Recreational water facilities: checking the pools and the whirlpools, their filtration systems, and the showers and toilet facilities.
  • Food safety: food safety management, employee cleanliness, hygienic practices, and all the food storage, preparation, and handling procedures.
  • Pest management: plan, development, and use of pesticides and pest control measures.
  • Housekeeping: disinfection and cleaning of public areas and cabins.
  • Child activity centers: checking all the child-related facilities, diaper changing stations, child-size toilets, cleaning, and disinfection.
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning: checking condensate pans, draining, and maintenance.

These are just some of the areas taken into consideration. The operations manuals are way more detailed and include many other things that are monitored and checked.

The scores

Dirty cruise window
Dirty cruise window

Let’s now look at the ships that scored higher, and thus are cleaner, and the ships that scored lower and thus are the least clean.

As a matter of convenience, I have divided them by cruise line.
I want to remind you that ships that travel outside the United States might be checked less often than the others.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Beyond
Celebrity Cruise
  • Celebrity Ascent: 100
  • Celebrity Beyond: 100
  • Celebrity Edge: 100
  • Celebrity Equinox: 100
  • Celebrity Millennium: 100
  • Celebrity Solstice: 100
  • Celebrity Apex: 98
  • Celebrity Eclipse: 98
  • Celebrity Reflection: 98
  • Celebrity Silhouette: 98
  • Celebrity Summit: 98
  • Celebrity Infinity: 97
  • Celebrity Constellation: 91

Norwegian Cruise Line

norwegian getaway vs norwegian viva
Norwegian Cruises
  • Norwegian Bliss: 100
  • Norwegian Breakaway: 100
  • Norwegian Escape: 100
  • Norwegian Gem: 100
  • Norwegian Sky: 100
  • Norwegian Jewel: 99
  • Norwegian Dawn: 98
  • Norwegian Encore: 98
  • Norwegian Getaway: 98
  • Norwegian Jade: 98
  • Norwegian Epic: 97
  • Norwegian Joy: 97
  • Norwegian Prima: 97
  • Norwegian Spirit: 97
  • Norwegian Star: 94
  • Norwegian Viva: 93
  • Norwegian Sun: 92
  • Norwegian Pearl: 90

MSC Cruises

msc seascape ship pic outside
MSC Cruise
  • MSC Lirica: 100
  • MSC Divina: 98
  • MSC Meraviglia: 98
  • MSC Seascape: 98
  • MSC Orchestra: 96
  • MSC Armonia: 95
  • MSC Seashore: 95
  • MSC Seaside: 92
  • MSC Poesia: 87
  • MSC Magnifica: 86


Carnival Jubilee
Carnival Cruise
  • Carnival Panorama: 100
  • Carnival Pride: 99
  • Carnival Spirit: 99
  • Carnival Venezia: 99
  • Carnival Celebration: 98
  • Carnival Sunrise: 98
  • Carnival Dream: 97
  • Carnival Magic: 97
  • Carnival Mardi Gras: 97
  • Carnival Freedom: 96
  • Carnival Glory: 96
  • Carnival Conquest: 95
  • Carnival Sunshine: 94
  • Carnival Paradise: 94
  • Carnival Radiance: 93
  • Carnival Liberty: 93
  • Carnival Splendor: 93
  • Carnival Horizon: 92
  • Carnival Luminosa: 91
  • Carnival Legend: 90
  • Carnival Valor: 90
  • Carnival Vista: 90
  • Carnival Elation: 89
  • Carnival Miracle: 88
  • Carnival Breeze: 86

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean Cruise
  • Brilliance of the Seas: 100
  • Voyager of the Seas: 100
  • Allure of the Seas: 99
  • Odyssey of the Seas: 99
  • Vision of the Seas: 99
  • Wonder Of The Seas: 99
  • Anthem of the Seas: 98
  • Enchantment of the Seas: 98
  • Grandeur of the Seas: 98
  • Ovation of the Seas: 98
  • Radiance of the Seas: 98
  • Serenade of the Seas: 98
  • Icon of the Seas: 97
  • Jewel of the Seas: 97
  • Liberty of the Seas: 97
  • Mariner of the Seas: 97
  • Quantum of the Seas: 97
  • Symphony of the Seas: 97
  • Explorer of the Seas: 96
  • Navigator of the Seas: 96
  • Freedom of the Seas: 95
  • Oasis of the Seas: 94
  • Rhapsody of the Seas: 94
  • Harmony of the Seas: 92
  • Independence of the Seas: 91
  • Adventure of the Seas: 89

The Cleanest and Dirtiest Cruise Ships

Coffee at the buffet
Cruise ship buffet

As you can see, all the cruise ships are above the minimum threshold of 86 points.

Only one ship failed after an inspection in 2023, and it was MSC Seaside.
However, the ship scored 96 points after the reinspection that was conducted a few months later.

According to this results, we can state that Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises stand out as having the best scores overall.

They have multiple ships scoring 100 and many other ships that are above 90.

On the other hand, MSC Cruises and Carnival Cruise Lines have some of the lowest-scoring ships, with both MSC Magnifica and Carnival Breeze scoring 86.

The ships with the worst scores are:

  • MSC Magnifica: 86
  • Carnival Breeze: 86
  • Carnival Miracle: 88
  • Adventure of the Seas: 89
  • Carnival Elation: 89

I also want to remind you that there are always some things that are dirtier than others in a cruise cabin. We talked about them in the article about the 10 things you must do as soon as you enter the cabin.

Your opinion

Indeed, the results of these inspections are very important because they are carried out by professionals.

However, over the years, I have also learned to trust the advice of other cruise passengers.

So if you have been on one of these ships, let us know how you found it!
Have you ever found a ship that was too dirty?


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