Cruise ship holidays as luxurious holiday events where passengers covered with costly cruise deals get attended to by eager cruise crew for all needs including food. They can eat at any time and anywhere.

But crews do not have that luxury. A book by a former cruise staffer Brian David Bruns “Cruise a la Carte” throws light on a “rule” that bars cruise crews from taking food into their cabin.

According to cruise news, there is a rationale behind the crew specific rule. But that will sound disgusting.

Cruise ships apply many rules on passengers and crews. But some are specific to crews and passengers are exempted.

The above food rule is exclusively for the crew. But it gets violated by many crew members adept in sneaking in foodstuff stealthily.

“Food is not allowed in crew cabins, though all crew types sooner or later sneak some in,” wrote Bruns.

He notes dry goods are occasionally allowed. The author also says Asians tend to hoard instant noodles and making a late-night snack is hard to notice.

The reason is sanitation

Now Bruns reveals what forced this rule. It is all about maintaining sanitation.

According to Bruns: “The real reason food is denied in crew cabins is because it ends up in the toilets in a most non-biological manner. Ship toilets are very sensitive. The crew? Not so much.”

Bruns recalled this problem from his cruise ship days.

“When working on Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas, we had to contend with this latter issue to the extreme. Fishbones blocked the sewage system so often that the entire aft crew deck smelled like feces. Literally.”

The book says how the author stood shuddered seeing the overworked crews brushing teeth beside toilets that were overflowing with lids open. They never cared to flush.

Contraband food was not the only bizarre that was flushed down the toilet. During Bruns’ stint, a crew member flushed a shoe and a huge mess followed. It led to blocking the entire waste systems of the ship and the hotel director himself rushed out to pick the culprit.

Sanitation checks in cruise ships

However, there is regulatory oversight to keep cruise ships hygienic.

Under the Vessel Sanitation Program, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) periodically inspect hundreds of cruise ships entering U.S. ports.

Cruise ship
A cruise ship is pictured in the Marseille harbor on September 20, 2012. Gerard Julien/AFP/GettyImages)

The CDC performs checks on the ventilation and drinking water systems, food preparation and storage, and sanitation of common areas, dining rooms, pools, and medical areas.

The CDC rates cruise ships on a scale of 100-points and points are deducted when violations are frequent. Any score below 85 is considered not satisfactory.