Cleaning a large cruise ship can be an overwhelming task, especially because norovirus outbreaks have caused hundreds to become ill during single voyages in recent years. These outbreaks have led to an industry-wide concern about cruise ship cleanliness, and some lines have worried that potential customers will seek out other vacation options.
In order to limit the risk that viruses will spread throughout your vessel, you need to have a comprehensive cleaning plan in place. As food areas receive a constant stream of heavy traffic and rarely have down time, it can be difficult to figure out a way for your custodians to clean these locations on a regular basis without disrupting patrons. Here are some tips on cleaning these high-traffic areas.
Cruise Ship Cleaning Challenges
With thousands of people in such close quarters on cruise ships, you cannot guarantee that every area will remain clean at all times. In fact, ABC News reports that in the instances of two norovirus outbreaks in April 2015, custodial teams were scrambling to stop the spread of the illness while hundreds of passengers and crew members experienced symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea. Public health officials recommended frequent hand washing for all of those aboard the affected vessels.
Better Cruise Ship Cleanliness in Food Service Areas
When cleaning cruise ships, you should begin by focusing on points of frequent hand contact, especially in food service areas. In an effort to prevent the spread of bacteria, employees who serve food must always wear gloves and should avoid touching their face and hair while working. These employees should also wash their hands frequently during their shifts.
In order to prevent your guests and employees from getting sick and ensure that your facilities are as clean as possible, your custodial crew must combine daily deep cleaning with quick sweeps throughout the day. They should tackle each type of dining area as a separate challenge. When working in quick service areas, your team should remove dirty plates and glassware from tables as quickly as possible. These tables can be a breeding ground for germs, especially in cases when passengers are eating finger food, as this sets up a scenario in which these patrons could have potentially transferred bacteria and germs from their mouths to the table and surrounding area.
Once employees have cleared any and all plates and silverware, they should clean the table surface before a new passenger sits down in that location. You must ensure that your custodians do not use rags to clean more than one surface, as this can lead to dangerous cross-contamination. In an effort to prevent this bacteria transfer, your team should use a numbered microfiber towel instead, as this product will allow them to clearly see which sides of the towel they have already used to clean another surface.
Concession areas where ice cream and other treats are served are equally problematic. Throughout the day, these stands can get very messy, as patrons may spill their drinks or drop crumbs in the surrounding area. As such, your team should sweep through these locations regularly to clean up these messes and remove any bacteria that may have built up as a result. In an effort to prevent cross-contamination, your team should use a squeegee system to wipe these areas down.
For more information on food service cleaning, click here.