The pandemic is pushing for an evolution of the muster (safety) drill procedures on cruise ships.
To avoid gatherings of large passenger groups in confined spaces and maintain social distancing, the cruise lines are now reinventing the traditional process, using technology and other innovations.
Cruise Industry News has studied the new approaches taken by three major cruise lines.
Royal Caribbean’s Muster 2.0
Royal Caribbean Group announced the replacement of the safety drill with Muster 2.0 in 2020.
The new program transforms the process originally designed for large groups of people into a faster, more personal approach that encourages higher levels of safety, the company previously said.
With Muster 2.0 guests will review safety information individually, using their stateroom TV or a smartphone before visiting their assigned assembly station, where a crew member will verify that all steps have been completed and answer questions.
Each of the steps will need to be completed prior to the ship’s departure, as required by international maritime law.
In addition to Royal Caribbean Group’s brands and joint ventures, the new Muster 2.0 may also be used by other cruise operators through licensing. Currently, patent licenses have already been granted to Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. – the parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Carnival’s Hub App
Restarting service in July, Carnival Cruise Line recently revealed more details on its new safety drill procedures. The drills will now be divided into two parts, leaving the large-gathering safety briefings behind.
First, the guest will need to go to its muster station, using instructions received via Carnival’s new smartphone app – the Hub App. Crew members will be positioned around the ships to help guide the passengers. The crew will also make sure everyone visits their assembled muster stations in the first hour and a half of being onboard.
The second part of the safety drills with Carnival is watching a safety video, which will be available in all staterooms and must be watched before the ship sails.
A protocol will be in place to control the attendance of the passengers in the new safety procedures. If a guest fails to complete the mandatory steps, he will be limited in what he can do on the ship.
While temporary for now, the new method may be implemented on a permanent basis if it proves to be effective and working, according to Carnival.
MSC’s Safety Video
The first major cruise line to resume guest operations, MSC Cruises, has been in service in the Mediterranean since August 2020. To ensure social distancing during safety drills, the company has also changed its method.
Now, safety drills are carried out as soon as all the passengers board the vessel. To complete it, guests are asked to watch a five-minute video shown in their cabins and then head to their assembly stations.
At the muster points, a crew member scans each passenger’s cruise card, completing the process.