Inspection Infographic

Download our infographic showing the eight areas VSP inspects on cruise ships.

VSP Inspection Infographic

Vessel Sanitation Program: Keeping You Healthy on the High Seas

VSP conducts public health inspections to find out how well cruise ships meet health standards in the VSP Operations Manual. Maintaining high public health standards can help to prevent large numbers of passengers and crew members getting sick with certain illnesses that cause diarrhea or vomiting.

Depending on ship size, one to four inspectors conduct these inspections. Inspectors evaluate eight specific areas on ships.

Medical Center: Review and Interview


  • Medical documents about people who said they had diarrhea or vomiting.
  • Medical center supplies for required specimen containers and shipping containers.


  • Medical staff, to ensure they know about VSP procedures for managing people who have diarrhea or are vomiting.
  • Crew members, to ensure they are well trained in VSP requirements specific to their job and that no crew members are working while they have diarrhea or are vomiting.

Potable Water Systems: Review and Sample

Review charts and logs to see that halogen and pH levels have been correct since the last inspection.

Do a spot-check inspection of some areas of the ship to ensure that the drinking water system is protected.

Take water samples to make sure chlorine and pH levels are correct.

Galleys and Dining Rooms: Review, Observe, and Interview

Ensure that food is being stored, prepared, and served safely.

Check that dishwashers and other galley equipment are well maintained and in good working order.

Interview food service employees to make sure they know safe food handling practices.

Look at employees’ health and personal hygiene.

Swimming Pools and Whirlpools: Review, Sample, and Interview

Review charts and logs to make sure that the cruise ship has followed the rules of the current VSP Operations Manual.

Take water samples to ensure chlorine and pH levels are correct.

Interview staff to ensure they know the ship’s procedure for accidents involving feces or vomit.

Housekeeping: Meet and Discuss

Meet with the housekeeping manager to review the outbreak prevention and management procedures, including the Outbreak Prevention and Response Plan.

Ensure the housekeeping manager is well informed about

  • General disinfection of public areas.
  • Measures to prevent the spread of disease.
  • How to respond in case of a rise in the number of people getting sick with diarrhea or vomiting, or to an outbreak.

Pest and Insect Management: Interview and Review

Interview the environmental health officer or the person in charge of the plan to manage pests on the ship.

Ensure that staff is well informed about how to manage pests on the ship.

Child Activity Centers: Observe, Review, and Interview

Make sure child centers are properly equipped with

  • A place for diaper changing.
  • Toilets.
  • A place for hand washing.

Ensure that the toys are clean.

Ensure staff knows what to do when children are sick with diarrhea or vomiting.

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC): Inspect

Inspect air conditioning/heating and ventilation rooms to ensure that

  • Water is not collecting inside the units.
  • Units are clean.