Carnival Triumph Jan 20 2007
Carnival Imagination Jan 06
Island Princess Feb 03
Star Princess feb 02
Carnival Celebration - way back
The Oceanic - now I'm dating myself
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What is going on with sewer smells in ships? Just got off the Valor and we smelled it almost daily in our room, the hallway and at the tables by the pool, It would come and go. It can't be too healthy to be smelling this all week. It's gross, enough to make you not want to cruise. A few days we woke up to that smell. I complained to the purser's desk and they acted like they never heard of it. but other passengers complained about it also. I have cruised since the 70's and have never heard of this. I did a search on google for sewer smell and passengers on the Holiday, Glory, Triumph and the Caribbean Princess have smelled it also.That is not normal. If you smell it they have a problem. And.... for the purser's desk to act like you were the first to complain..... they were just stiffing you. I would expect the cruise line to try and rectify the situation..... because word spreads fast.
worst part was all the people walking in bare feet! YUCK!
There are several causes for sewage smells on cruise ships today.
The primary one is the new state of the art sewage treatment plants that most cruise ships have today. The only by-product that goes into the sea is drinking-quality water. The waste solids are burned, leaving only ashes. But an additional by-product is an awful sewer smell. Ideally, the odor is vented to the top of the smoke stack, where the wind blows it away. But too many new ships have discovered pin holes and cracks in the vent piping. Even the tiniest holes or cracks can cause dreadful odors to permeate the ship. It is not dangerous, but very annoying.
Another annoying odor causer is the drain in your bathroom floor. Instead of an odor trap like your drains at home, ships have a scupper with a small metal dome inside. If the ship rolls a bit the water barrier in the scupper is broken and the sewer gases from the grey water tanks below are allowed to escape into your cabin. Contrary to popular belief, grey water smells are far worse than sewage smells. Pouring additional water into the floor drain of your cabin usually solves the problem.
Despite endless warnings about what can and cannot be flushed down a vacuum toilet, many passengers just don't get it. They treat the toilet like a garbage disposal. Once it stops up, sewage and smells escape along corridors and into cabins until the engineers can correct the problem. On a large ship this typically occurs 20 or more times per day, all over the ship. A single toilet stoppage can have negative effects on as many as 60 additional cabins.
Norwalk Virus has an additional by-product; bad odors. The two most popular chemical bleaches that are sprayed, fogged, and wiped everywhere to combat the virus have very annoying smells.
Virkon smells almost exactly like urine. Virox smells remarkably like vomit. During NLV outbreaks ,we mix these bleaches to a stronger concentration, giving them even stronger odors. When you first board a ship, the chances are very good that the thorough cleaning just completed will result in some annoying odors.
When you put thousands of people on something the size of a cruise ship, then feed them all they can eat, I'd expect sewage to be a problem. Think of all the food that gets eaten. We all know what it turns into. Nasty.I like it! It reminds me of my office at home.
I get annoyed when I smell a sewage smell on a cruise ship, but I'm pretty forgiving about it. Things can't work perfectly all the time. With that much sewage to deal with it doesn't seem like it would take much of a hiccup in the system for the smell to go where it shouldn't.
My wife and I have encountered the sewage smell on all of our cruises. My solution was to put a wet wash cloth over the shower drain..........Voila!In fact, they do have a trap in the shower drain, but it is an "inverted bucket" type, not a "P-trap" or "barrel trap" like you have at home. More likely the cause was the bathroom floor drain trap drying out. This is a separate drain from the shower, and is usually a round drain tucked under the toilet, or a trough drain at the bathroom door. A glass of water down these traps daily will replenish the water evaporated by the dry A/C air.
It is apparent that they do not have a conventional trap in the shower drain to in order to minimize the required space between decks.
We also have experienced foul odors on most of our cruises on Celebrity, RCI, and Princess. Most were sporadic. We learned here on CC to take one of the small, flat round rubber drain covers and it does stop the odor from coming up from the floor drain. It doesn't help, however, the smells that sometimes permeate hallways in some areas. It would be great if the cruise ship designers could solve this problem, but we're not holding our breath!As noted above, a glass of water down the drain works as well, and saves you from bringing a drain cover. The smells you experience around the ship are from the same problem that happens in your cabin's bathroom, the floor drain traps dry out. These drains are in places like the service pantries (where the stewards get their ice and wash the glasses), the lockers where they store the linen carts, and various "technical lockers" or pipe run spaces where the drains see little or no water on a regular basis, but have to have drains for accidents, and so the traps dry out. Usually, once the crew smells this, they will refill the traps and the smell goes away for a couple of weeks.