By Dave Berman and Wayne T. Price, FLORIDA TODAY and Lena Groeger, ProPublica
For many cruise passengers, it’s the gourmet restaurants and vast buffets that are among the highlights of their voyages.
But a caution to cruisers: The rating of ships’ food operations, based on federal health inspections, can vary widely.
A new study released today by ProPublica compiled the ratings of every major cruise ship for food safety, as well as data for numbers of criminal incidents aboard those ships and the number of deficiencies found during U.S. Coast Guard inspections.
The study showed that all seven cruise ships now based at Port Canaveral passed all of their health inspections since 2010. But it was a close call for two Royal Caribbean ships — Enchantment of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas — which each received 86 ratings once during that time span. A score below 86 on a 100-point scale is considered failing.