Queen Mary 2 is a dirty, filthy girl

Queen Mary 2 sails past the Statue of Liberty.
From The Mirror of London

NEW YORK -- Cunard flagship Queen Mary 2 has failed a hygiene inspection by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, scoring a shocking 84 out of 100.

Fruit flies and cockroaches in a storage locker, sediment in ice-making machines, and a "filthy" swimming pool were among more than 60 violations cited in the report on the inspection, carried out when the ship was berthed here on June 10.

The 3,000-passenger ship has passed every previous CDC inspection, scoring a perfect 100 on three occasions. It has only once before scored less than 92 in 15 checks carried out during the last seven years. Anything below 85 is counted as a fail.

The unwelcome visitors were found in a locker in the Kings Court buffet restaurant. Ice machines in Kings Court and in the Commodore Club bar needed cleaning, and a human hair was found under the lid of an ice maker in a crew galley.

Draught beer lines in the casino bar and Golden Lion pub were found to be "heavily soiled," and the inspectors criticised the storage of food on wine directly on open decks. and various chemicals stored near napkins, paper cups and utensils.

Tiles and water in the Minnows splash pool were said to be "filthy with dark materials and hairs."

Cunard say some staff have been disciplined and re-trained as a result of the inspection. A spokesman said: "The poor assessment resulted largely from one small area of the ship's overall operation. All the issues raised in the report were immediately addressed and have now been corrected.

"Ship and shore management have now redefined certain roles and responsibilities to clarify accountability and the company's already rigorous training schedule has been stepped up."

The CDC carries out surprise Vessel Sanitation Program checks twice a year on all ships using American ports. No other cruise ship operated by a major line has failed a CDC inspection during the past three years .

A Dowd's Guides note:

The Queen Mary 2 also made news in May when a Malaysian man was arrested for  smuggling nine Chinese illegal Chinese immigrants into Brooklyn. They were not stowaways and their names appeared on the ship's manifest, but they were found to be trying to get onto U.S. soil without proper documentation.

Seen on our travels


Chinese top 'world's highest bar' list

Ozone, 118 floors up in Kowloon.

A few years back, I reported on the world's smallest bar, a former railroad structure in Cleethorpes, England. Now comes word of the world's highest bar, a title that has come to be dominated by the Chinese.

Ozone, at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong hotel, presently reigns as the highest -- on the 118th floor of the International Commerce Centre in Kowloon.

The new spot moved ahead of 100 Century Avenue on the 92nd floor of the Shanghai Park Hyatt which itself had edged out Cloud 9, located on the 87th floor of the Shanghai Grand Hyatt.


Dowd's Guides
Shanghai Travel Guide
Touring Kowloon


Wild Turkey latest to spread its wings

Visitors flock to new Wild Turkey distillery.
If you've heard about the periodic, albeit brief, shortages of bourbon in some markets, you know the demand for the iconic American spirit continues to grow.

The latest expansion in the production process went on line this week with the dedication of the expanded distillery that produces Wild Turkey in Lawrenceburg, KY. The new $50 million distillery will be able to produce twice as much bourbon as the old one.
Eddie Russell
Kentucky produces 95% of the world's bourbon and the spirit has become globally in demand.

"The export market is so great for us," said Associate Distiller Eddie Russell, "and bourbon has had a resurgence in the U.S., so it lets us be prepared for the next 20 to 30 years."

Maker's Mark is working on a $50 million expansion that will boost production by about 50% and expand bottling capacity at its operations near Loretto, KY. It plans to build 20-25 new warehouses needed for storing barrels of whiskey that will age at least six years.

Heaven Hill Distilleries Inc., whose brands include Evan Williams bourbon, added two storage warehouses earlier this year, boosting its capacity by about 40,000 barrels at a cost of about $5 million.

Also, several bourbon makers have expanded, or are expanding, visitors facilities as whiskey tourism continues to grow.

There now are more than 4.7 million barrels of bourbon aging in warehouses across the state, the highest inventory since the early 1980s.


• Kentucky Bourbon Trail
• Dowd's Guides


Tullamore building new visitor center

Manager D.E. Williams' name was the basis for the "dew" in the brand.

TULLAMORE, Ireland -- Since new owner William Grant and Sons took over Tullamore Dew, not all the changes are behind the scenes.

The decade-old Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre is to be upgraded as part of the company's aim of making it a major tourist attraction in the Midlands.

The original center was opened in the old bonded distillery warehouse in 2000 as a joint venture between C&C -- which then owned the brand, and the tourism support service Fáilte Ireland.

The new center will include an interactive Tullamore Dew history, a whiskey tour and expert tasting sessions. The company hopes it will be completed in time for peak tourist season in 2012 and attract 40,000 visitors annually.

Tullamore Dew is the second largest selling Irish whiskey in the world, behind Jameson's. It was purchased by William Grant and Sons last year. The distillery was founded in 1829 by Michael Molloy in County Offaly.

Contrary to popular belief, the "dew" in Tullamore Dew isn't totally an homage to Irish moisture. The initials of Daniel E. Williams, the distillery's general manager in the late 1800s, were used as the brand of whiskey he created.


Dowd's Guides
• Fáilte Ireland

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