The Future of the Muster Drill?

Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!

#1
Orlando, FL
2,131 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
This was in Richard Fain's latest blog entry...

Every ship needs a good system for mustering the guests in times of emergency. Furthermore, safety regulations require that our guests practice mustering at the beginning of every voyage. This drill is a good safety protocol that ensures that every guest is familiar with the safety procedures.

But it is a royal pain in the ass - an important pain, but a pain nonetheless.

Under our current system, the guests all have to go back to their staterooms, get their lifejackets, and walk through the hallways carrying or wearing their lifejackets. The lifejackets are uncomfortable and bulky and many guests leave the belt hanging. After the drill, they have to take their lifejackets back to their staterooms. It’s also a time consuming and difficult process for the crew. All in all, it’s a laborious, uncomfortable, manual process that can actually distract from the important safety purposes for which it was designed.

So for OASIS we decided to see if we could make it better and more efficient. Our initial idea was simply to automate the record keeping, which we have done with a wireless system that allows for real time accounting of guests at their muster stations. The team however did not stop here and ended up with a dramatically new process that greatly improves the effectiveness and convenience of the drill.

The team quickly realized that the biggest issue was making the guests return to their staterooms to get the life jackets. But there really is no benefit to making them do this and we intend to get away from this practice. On OASIS, they decided to store the lifejackets at the mustering stations instead of the staterooms. This takes up more space at the mustering stations (lifejackets are very bulky) but we have the space. It also frees up a smidgen more space in every stateroom.

The advantages are so overwhelming that you have to wonder why we haven’t done this before. The only answer we have come up with is that we never looked at this process as carefully before OASIS. Just to make sure this is as big an improvement as it seems, we’ve been running extensive testing on other ships. The universal reaction is that this is a dramatically better system. Amongst other benefits, it is safer - the guests can go directly from wherever they are to their muster stations and we don’t have all of the cross traffic with guests wearing bulky lifejackets.

Of course, now everyone wants this on all the ships and we intend to do so as quickly as we can - the NASA effect lives on.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

(really Symphony of the Seas, not Harmony)

Past Cruises:

2017 Jewel of the Seas
2016 Harmony of the Seas, Disney Dream
2015 Enchantment of the Seas x 2, Oasis of the Seas, Norwegian Sky
2014 Radiance of the Seas
2013 Brilliance of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas
2012 Monarch of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas
2011 Liberty of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas x 2
2010 Radiance of the Seas, Splendour of the Seas, Monarch of the Seas x 4, Grandeur of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas
2009 Disney Wonder, Monarch of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas
#2
Atlanta, GA
4,157 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
This makes sense. Especially since I seem to recall from my last two muster drills was to head straight to the muster station if you heard the emergency horn, not to go back to room first. Since the only time most passengers are likely to be all in their rooms is at night, it seems this is a better plan.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
8/26/02 - Carnival Sensation; 4/23/05- Oosterdam; 4/8/06 -Veendam; 1/1/07- Marco Polo to Antarctica; 5/25/07 - 9 night Explorer OTS; 2/16/08 7 night Summit; 3/09/09 - 14 night Coral Princess Full Panama Canal Transit; 11/29/09 - 7 night Liberty OTS; 11/28/10 - 7 Night Solstice; 05/01/11 - 14 Voyager OTS -TA; 9/25/11 - Serenade OTS; 1/21/12 Oasis; 5/27/12 Xpedition -Galapagos Is.; 9/28/12 Monarch OTS Bahamas; 11/25/12 Allure; 4/21/2013 Mariner - TA; 10/29/13 Royal Princess;5/20/14 Equinox Mediterranean;11/02/14 Quatum OTS Maiden;06/06/15 Serenade OTS Arctic Circle


#3
Ocala, FL
1,056 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
Sure makes much more sense - especially should there be a "real" emergency and you weren't close to your room and had to go directly to your muster station where the vests are actually kept.....
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Joyce & Dear Husband Lynn


Upcoming:



<a href="http://www.ucruiser.com/"><img src="http://www.ucruiser.com/ticker/rccl/tickers/zi84dlafubg4xwbw.png" alt="Cruise Countdown Tickers" border="0"/></a>


Looking Back:

RCCL ~ Legend of The Seas ~ 2-24-2014 - Lynn's 66th Birthday
RCCL ~ Jewel of The Seas ~2-11 & 2-16-2013
RCCL ~ Freedom of The Seas 9-23-2012 - Joyce's 64th Birdhday
RCCL ~ Navigator of The Seas - 2-4-2012
RCCL ~ Oasis of the Seas - 9/2010 - Celebrated my 62nd B'Day
RCCL ~ Radiance of the Seas - 5/2010 - Ultimate Incredible 13 night Alaska Cruise
RCCL ~ Freedom of the Seas - 2/2010
RCCL - Enchantment of the Seas ~ 10/2009
RCCL ~ Liberty of the Seas ~ 9/2008
RCCL ~ Navigator of the Seas ~ 2/2008
RCCL ~ Mariner of the Seas ~ 9/2007
Princess ~ Caribbean Princess ~ 8/2006
#4
23,077 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
the only real problem I see is that for years they have said to grab any medications etc before going to the muster station, since you don't know how long you could be in the life boat. So unless you carry that stuff on you 24/7 you would have to go back.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Liberty Travel-Flight Centre USA
#5
atlanta
5,281 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Originally posted by tahqa
This was in Richard Fain's latest blog entry...

Every ship needs a good system for mustering the guests in times of emergency. Furthermore, safety regulations require that our guests practice mustering at the beginning of every voyage. This drill is a good safety protocol that ensures that every guest is familiar with the safety procedures.

But it is a royal pain in the ass - an important pain, but a pain nonetheless.

Under our current system, the guests all have to go back to their staterooms, get their lifejackets, and walk through the hallways carrying or wearing their lifejackets. The lifejackets are uncomfortable and bulky and many guests leave the belt hanging. After the drill, they have to take their lifejackets back to their staterooms. It’s also a time consuming and difficult process for the crew. All in all, it’s a laborious, uncomfortable, manual process that can actually distract from the important safety purposes for which it was designed.

So for OASIS we decided to see if we could make it better and more efficient. Our initial idea was simply to automate the record keeping, which we have done with a wireless system that allows for real time accounting of guests at their muster stations. The team however did not stop here and ended up with a dramatically new process that greatly improves the effectiveness and convenience of the drill.

The team quickly realized that the biggest issue was making the guests return to their staterooms to get the life jackets. But there really is no benefit to making them do this and we intend to get away from this practice. On OASIS, they decided to store the lifejackets at the mustering stations instead of the staterooms. This takes up more space at the mustering stations (lifejackets are very bulky) but we have the space. It also frees up a smidgen more space in every stateroom.

The advantages are so overwhelming that you have to wonder why we haven’t done this before. The only answer we have come up with is that we never looked at this process as carefully before OASIS. Just to make sure this is as big an improvement as it seems, we’ve been running extensive testing on other ships. The universal reaction is that this is a dramatically better system. Amongst other benefits, it is safer - the guests can go directly from wherever they are to their muster stations and we don’t have all of the cross traffic with guests wearing bulky lifejackets.

Of course, now everyone wants this on all the ships and we intend to do so as quickly as we can - the NASA effect lives on.

Glad they are trying new ideas and implementing them fleet wide. Muster has always been a pain especially when the drill is not close to what they want you to do, ie go directly from where you are to your muster station, so eliminating the need to go to room/bring life vest makes sense.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Have a great day!

Sam & Martha
&


Booked and ready to go!:

Celebrity Silhouette - Jan'18 - S Caribbean

Looking In All The Right Places:
Celebrity Something - Alaska Aug '2018
Celebrity Something - NEW Panama Canal May' 2019


My outlook on life:

Proof of Desire is Pursuit
and
The best things in life aren't things
#6
California
1,783 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
I think it is about time the muster drill became less stressful. To me, it is the worst part of the cruise.
#7
3,485 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Originally posted by Sue L
the only real problem I see is that for years they have said to grab any medications etc before going to the muster station, since you don't know how long you could be in the life boat. So unless you carry that stuff on you 24/7 you would have to go back.
certainly an issue, but many of us do not take daily meds and will not be in your way as you head for your cabin.
#9
23,077 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
Originally posted by RetireeWannabee
certainly an issue, but many of us do not take daily meds and will not be in your way as you head for your cabin.
I don't either, but I know they stress the importance of having your meds with you and while neither you or I have any, many do!!!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Liberty Travel-Flight Centre USA
#10
Melbourne, Florida
266 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
What a great plan. Someone up there is thinking. I wonder what's next?
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

Plus
Grace Line- Santa Magdalena 1968
Regal Princess 1999

Carnival Destiny 2000
Carnival Spirit 2001
Carnival Fantasy 2002

RCI
Soverign of the Seas 2003,2004,2005,2006,2007,2008 final sailing
RCI Mariner of the Seas 2004, 2005, 2006
RCI Enchantment of the Seas 2007,2014
RCI Liberty of Seas 2008
RCI Monarch of the Seas 2009,2010
RCI Majesty of the Seas 2009
RCI Oasis of the Seas 2010
RCI Radiance of the Seas 2010
RCI Jewel of the Seas 2011, 2012,2013
RCI Voyager of the seas 2012
RCI Adventure of the Seas 2013
RCI Vision of the Seas 2014
RCI Quantum of the Seas 2015
RCI Independence of the Seas 2015
RCI Seranade of the Seas 2016
RCI Allure of Seas 2016
RCI Harmony of The Seas 2017
Future Cruises
RCI Rhapsody of Seas Mar 2017
RCI Granduer of Seas May 2017
RCI Radiance of the Seas Jul 2017
#11
Carson City NV
3,110 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Sounds like a great improvement by not having to drag the lifevests through the hallways. While muster may be considered distasteful to most veteran cruisers, it surely is an important and critical component to safe cruising. Kinda like CPR - a refresher can only help should a situation occur. And besides, the muster can be a great way to meet some new cruise buddies
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Mike

Past Cruises:
Freedom of the Seas - E. Caribbean - November 2016
Serenade of the Seas - Snowbird Migration - October 2015
Serenade of the Seas - Bahamas - April 2014
Liberty of the Seas - TA - October 2011
Monarch of the Seas - Baja - June 2008
Voyager of the Seas - W. Caribbean - March 2008
Vision of the Seas - Alaska - August 2006
Monarch of the Seas - Baja - August 2003
Viking Serenade - Baja - October 2001
#12
Kutztown, PA
3,148 Posts
Joined May 2007
Originally posted by Sue L
the only real problem I see is that for years they have said to grab any medications etc before going to the muster station, since you don't know how long you could be in the life boat. So unless you carry that stuff on you 24/7 you would have to go back.
That's an issue I never thought about. Maybe they should tell people to leave their important medications in a bag (marked and given by RCCL) on a designated shelf. Then on the first day when you meet your cabin steward one of their check list items would be to find out if you have medications. They could then send the stewards around to any of their cabins that have medications to retrieve them and bring them to the muster stations as all their passengers should be at the same location. The only issue their would be liability and I'm not exactly sure what other responsibilities a steward would have in an emergency situation.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
04/10/2000 - Disney Magic - Port Canaveral - 4 Night Bahamas
07/07/2001 - Carnival Victory - Manhattan - 5 Night Canada
06/16/2002 - Nordic Empress - Manhattan - 7 Night Bermuda
07/16/2004 - Voyager of the Seas - Cape Liberty - 9 Night Western Caribbean
06/09/2007 - Liberty of the Seas - Miami - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean
01/02/2010 - Oasis of the Seas - Port Everglades - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean
11/22/2012 - Independence of the Seas - Southampton - 13 Night Westbound Transatlantic
05/17/2013 - Grandeur of the Seas - Baltimore - 7 Night Bermuda
01/11/2014 - Grandeur of the Seas - Baltimore - 10 Night Western Caribbean
11/23/2014 - Quantum of the Seas - Cape Liberty - 8 Night Bahamas Inaugural
12/01/2014 - Quantum of the Seas - Cape Liberty - 11 Night Southern Caribbean
09/18/2015 - Jewel of the Seas - Vancouver - 8 Night Pacific Coastal
10/23/2016 - Harmony of the Seas - Barcelona - 13 Night Westbound Transatlantic
04/17/2017 - Anthem of the Seas - Cape Liberty - 12 Night Southern Caribbean

Cruise Photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/dmpicone/
Oasis of the Seas video series: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgd7VFO5yRo
Independence of the Seas video series: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...IJaWs--llGvkn0
Grandeur of the Seas 5/17/13 video series: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...Zwii1p1oZ58Lwf
Grandeur of the Seas 1/11/14 video series: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...aUv8jwKinUONT9
Quantum of the Seas 11/23/14 & 12/1/14 video series: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...cBZFPWPqNM3nVq
Disney World video series: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...akwBLswkcePo4O
#13
26,223 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by RetireeWannabee
I've also not understood why some musters are in the auditorium. Not great access to the lifeboats and not at all good for peaceful exit.
Where the muster drills are held is a very minor issue. Wherever they can hold the drills where passengers can listen to and absorb the information being provided is what really matters. If it is better to impart that information in a venue such as the theater rather than out on deck where weather conditions may distract guests, then I see no problem if they hold the drill in the theater. It should be understood that in an actual emergency it may not be possible or safe to head blindly to the designated muster station. What is most important is knowing to follow the instructions of the crew who are trained to handle a variety of scenerios including some where certain muster stations will not be accessible.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature




#14
Fredericksburg, VA USA
5,301 Posts
Joined Oct 2002
I slightly disagree... I think the muster drill serves two purposes, the first being to make sure you know where your particular station is and how to get there... then once you are there, to teach you what to do when you do get there. The second part could be done anywhere but obviously the only way to make sure you know where it is is for you to be in the right place, at least once.

Having muster stations on external decks has always been a bit of a puzzle to me. In an emergency, the weather may very well be a factor already, I can't imagine trying to organize and load lifeboats with all those people standing right there, especially if there is high wind and heavy seas.

Some ships have the muster stations inside, in spaces near the doors to the lifeboat area. Seems a lot smarter, you can lead the people out as they are ready for them to get into the lifeboats.

You can't plan for all contingencies, all you can do is plan for as many as you can afford.

Theron
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Click here to tell me stuff
-----------------------------------------------------
NCL Getaway 2/21/2016 Western | Enchantment of the Seas 10/28/2013 Bahamas | Enchantment of the Seas 1/5/2013 Eastern | NCL Epic 11/24/12 Eastern | Enchantment of the Seas 8/3/12 Bermuda | Enchantment of the Seas 2/18/12 The Bahamas | Enchantment of the Seas 9/22/11 Canada&NE | Enchantment of the Seas 5/28/11 Bermuda | Oasis of the Seas 5/15/10 Western | Freedom of the Seas 8/2/09 Western | Grandeur of the Seas 5/30/09 Bermuda | Adventure of the Seas 10/26/08 Southern | Vision of the Seas 12/9/07 Mexican Riviera | Grandeur of the Seas 8/19/07 Bermuda | Empress of the Seas 5/26/07 Bermuda | Grandeur of the Seas 10/27/06 Western | Grandeur of the Seas 10/28/05 Western | Explorer of the Seas 9/27/03 Western | Celebrity Century 9/28/02 Eastern (Thanks to Lili) | [133 days at sea! and counting!]
-----------------------------------------------------
[Cruise Tip Calculator - calculate the amount and type of bills you need to stuff your tipping envelopes]
[Version 2.1: Cruise Maps - a growing collection of cruise related maps from all over]
[Cruise Tools - Cruise Budget Spreadsheet - Plan your cruise costs]
[Theron's Albums - Photo albums of previous cruises and other places]
#15
Greensboro, North Carolina
1,671 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Originally posted by RCCLCARIB
I think it is about time the muster drill became less stressful. To me, it is the worst part of the cruise.
I totally agree!!!!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Navigator – 7/2003 & 12/2010
Mariner – 9/2004 & 9/2007
Liberty – 9/2008
Freedom – 11/2008 & 9/2009 & 12/2011 & 9/2013 & 4/2014 & 9/2016 & 12/18/16
Oasis – 9/2010
Monarch – 12/2010
Allure - 9/2012 & 11/29/15
Independence - B2B 12/2012 & 12/2014
Legend - 12/2013
Jewel - 9/2014
#16
622 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
There could be a situation where a ship is listing and life boats cannot be launched from one side of the ship. In that case, having a muster station on the starboard side of the ship would be useless if they were unable to launch lifeboats from that side. Having muster stations inside allows the crew to direct people to any one of a variety of life boats as opposed to being restricted to just one.

And as for the new procedure - brilliant. While it's true that a lot of people will have to go back to their cabins for medications, hats, warm clothes, etc., at least they won't have to be carrying all that stuff AND a life jacket while making their way through narrow corridors.
#18
Canada
136 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
I think this is a brilliant idea. Aside from the many benefits such as freeing up space in the stateroom & not having to lug the things to the drill there is also less work for the stateroom steward in having to provide the adequate amount & type (adult/child) of jacket for each cruise as well as less wear & tear on the life jackets themselves.

The only thing is that because your life jacket has your assigned muster station on it, the crew can direct you where you should be going. I think during a real emergency most people would not remember what their muster station was.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
"Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time."

1959 Home Lines–Italia–Transatlantic
1992 (08/21)–Premier–Oceanic–Bahamas
1993 (08/20)–Premier–Oceanic–Bahamas
1994 (08/27)–Carnival Holiday-7 day W Caribbean
1995 (08/26)–Carnival Fascination–7 day S Caribbean
1996 (08/25)–Carnival Inspiration–7 day S Caribbean
1997 (08/31 & 09/07)–Carnival Destiny–14 day W & E Caribbean
1998 (08/30)–Carnival Inspiration–7 day S Caribbean
1999 (08/29 & 09/05)–Carnival Paradise–14 day W & E Caribbean
2000 (08/27 & 09/03)–Carnival Inspiration–14 day Carib. European Delight/Dutch Treat
2001 (09/02 & 09/09)–Carnival Destiny-14 day Carib. European Delight/Dutch Treat
2002 (09/22 & 10/03)–Carnival Paradise–21 day Exotic & S Carib. & Panama Canal
2003 (09/13 & 09/20)–Carnival Glory–14 day W & E Caribbean
2004 (09/11 & 09/18)–Carnival Glory–14 day W & E Caribbean
2005 (09/30)-Carnival Liberty-12 day Grand Mediterranean
2006 (09/28)-Carnival Liberty-12 day Grand Mediterranean
2007 (09/22 & 10/04)-Carnival Freedom-24 day Greek Isles/Grand Mediterranean
2008 (08/30)-Carnival Splendor-12 day Baltic & Russia
2009 (10/03)-Carnival Dream-12 day Grand Mediterranean
2010 (08/22)-Costa Magica-12 day Baltic & Russia
2011 (09/25)-Carnival Magic-12 day Grand Mediterranean
2012 (09/08)-Costa Mediterranea-13 day Black Sea
2013 (09/01)-Carnival Legend-12 day Northern Europe
2014 (09/28)-Costa Deliziosa-11 day Spain, Morocco, Portugal
2015 (09/28)-Costa Pacifica-11 day Greece, Turkey, Italy
2016 (09/11)-Costa Magica-11 day Spain, Morocco, Portugal

#19
26,223 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by The Cruise-A-Holics

The only thing is that because your life jacket has your assigned muster station on it, the crew can direct you where you should be going. I think during a real emergency most people would not remember what their muster station was.
However, as someone has already noted your assigned muster station might not be accessible in a real emergency. I am sure that the crew will have contingency plans to direct people to accessible stations in such situations. The most important thing to take away from the muster drill is to listen to, and follow, the directions you receive in the event of a true emergency.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature




#20
Canada
136 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Originally posted by negc
The most important thing to take away from the muster drill is to listen to, and follow, the directions you receive in the event of a true emergency.
So true . . . too many people don't treat the drill seriously and don't pay attention.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
"Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time."

1959 Home Lines–Italia–Transatlantic
1992 (08/21)–Premier–Oceanic–Bahamas
1993 (08/20)–Premier–Oceanic–Bahamas
1994 (08/27)–Carnival Holiday-7 day W Caribbean
1995 (08/26)–Carnival Fascination–7 day S Caribbean
1996 (08/25)–Carnival Inspiration–7 day S Caribbean
1997 (08/31 & 09/07)–Carnival Destiny–14 day W & E Caribbean
1998 (08/30)–Carnival Inspiration–7 day S Caribbean
1999 (08/29 & 09/05)–Carnival Paradise–14 day W & E Caribbean
2000 (08/27 & 09/03)–Carnival Inspiration–14 day Carib. European Delight/Dutch Treat
2001 (09/02 & 09/09)–Carnival Destiny-14 day Carib. European Delight/Dutch Treat
2002 (09/22 & 10/03)–Carnival Paradise–21 day Exotic & S Carib. & Panama Canal
2003 (09/13 & 09/20)–Carnival Glory–14 day W & E Caribbean
2004 (09/11 & 09/18)–Carnival Glory–14 day W & E Caribbean
2005 (09/30)-Carnival Liberty-12 day Grand Mediterranean
2006 (09/28)-Carnival Liberty-12 day Grand Mediterranean
2007 (09/22 & 10/04)-Carnival Freedom-24 day Greek Isles/Grand Mediterranean
2008 (08/30)-Carnival Splendor-12 day Baltic & Russia
2009 (10/03)-Carnival Dream-12 day Grand Mediterranean
2010 (08/22)-Costa Magica-12 day Baltic & Russia
2011 (09/25)-Carnival Magic-12 day Grand Mediterranean
2012 (09/08)-Costa Mediterranea-13 day Black Sea
2013 (09/01)-Carnival Legend-12 day Northern Europe
2014 (09/28)-Costa Deliziosa-11 day Spain, Morocco, Portugal
2015 (09/28)-Costa Pacifica-11 day Greece, Turkey, Italy
2016 (09/11)-Costa Magica-11 day Spain, Morocco, Portugal