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Construction Inspections

Learn about cruise ship construction inspections and equipment reviews and how to request them.

Construction Inspections and the VSP Construction Guidelines

The VSP Construction Guidelines provide a framework of consistent construction and design guidelines to help protect passenger and crew health. VSP is committed to promoting high construction standards to protect the public’s health.

The guidelines cover components of a cruise vessel’s facilities related to public health, including

  • Food storage, preparation, and service.
  • Water bunkering, storage, disinfection, and distribution.
  • Recreational water facility design and construction.

Cruise ship owners and operators select ship design and equipment that best meet their needs. The selected design and equipment must also meet VSP’s sanitary design criteria standards and routine operational inspection requirements.

The first guidelines for construction of cruise ships were published in 1997 and 2001 as the Recommended Shipbuilding Construction Guidelines for Cruise Vessels Destined to Call on U.S. Ports. In 2005, the guidelines were renamed the VSP Construction Guidelines.

How to Request Plan Reviews, Consultations, and Construction-Related Inspections

Cruise vessel owners or shipyards that build or renovate cruise vessels can request plan reviews, onsite shipyard construction inspections, and/or final construction inspections of new or renovated vessels before their first or next operational inspection.
To coordinate or schedule a plan review or construction-related inspection,

  • Submit an official written request to the VSP Chief at vsp@cdc.gov as early as possible in the planning, construction, or renovation process. VSP honors requests depending on staff availability.
  • Make your request more than 45 days before the desired date(s). VSP encourages coordination well before the 45-day minimum to better plan the actual dates.

At least one representative qualified to answer questions and empowered to make corrections, additions, or deletions must attend plan reviews and construction-related inspections. Consult the VSP Construction Guidelines for more information.

Equipment Standards, Testing, and Certification

Although the VSP Construction Guidelines establish standards for equipment and materials installed on cruise vessels, VSP does not test, certify, or otherwise endorse or approve any equipment or materials used by the cruise industry. Instead, VSP recognizes certification from independent testing laboratories such as NSF International, Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and other recognized independent international testing institutions.

Equipment manufacturers and suppliers should not contact VSP to request approval of their products.

VSP grants cruise line requests for equipment reviews depending on staff availability. Submit an official written request to the VSP Chief at vsp@cdc.gov to request reviews.

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