MSC Cruises continues to set the highest standards for cruise ship excellence. For an extraordinary fourth straight time, MSC Lirica has earned a perfect score in a surprise inspection by U.S. Public Health (USPH).

Conducting a surprise inspection Tuesday in San Juan, Puerto Rico, USPH officials awarded MSC Lirica a perfect score of 100 following a rigorous examination. This is the fourth straight perfect score for the MSC Cruises’ vessel and the third in a row; the ship was awarded a score of 100 during a March 2008 inspection in Puerto Rico and a surprise Christmas Eve 2008 inspection in St. Thomas, V.I.

This exceptionally rare scoring performance reflects the outstanding state of sanitation, safe food handling, and the general high level of understanding and compliance in the areas of food, water, air and general hygiene onboard MSC Lirica.

“Our commitment to cleanliness and safety is a priority and we are honored that the USPH has once again acknowledged our achievements with this top-rated score,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises (USA), Inc. “The USPH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have very strict enforcement policies so to be consistently recognized in this way is a credit to our own strict policy in passenger and crew safety and health.”

The CDC officers conducted intense inspections of the food provisioning, storage and preparation areas, the ship’s laundry, bars, self-serve buffets, restaurants, warewashing machinery, room service operations, medical and children’s centers, as well as its Integrated Pest Management Program, waste management, housekeeping and public area cleanliness, recreational and potable water protection and supply system, air purity controls, and the ship’s general procedures to prevent or control illnesses such as Norovirus.

Over the years, MSC Cruises’ ships sailing in Caribbean waters have consistently earned “Superior” scores on USPH inspections.