A muster drill is a mandatory exercise with the objective to familiarize all guests and crew with the location (muster station) where they are to assemble in the unlikely event of an emergency. During this drill, additional safety information (i.e., how to don a life jacket) is presented.
The International Convention of Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulatory guidelines require that a muster drill be held within 24 hours of a ship’s departure from its embarkation port. The muster drill for guests on all ships across our fleet is to be held 30 to 60 minutes prior to departure on the day of turnaround, or embarkation.
Announcements for the guest assembly drill are made in English, or the official language of the vessel. The announcements are made in additional core languages when we have large numbers of guests onboard who do not speak English. On some sailings, announcements may be made in the language of the market, then followed by English and any other approved core language(s).
Guests should not bring life jackets to the muster drill. Our procedures direct guests to proceed directly to their muster stations in the unlikely event of an emergency and upon hearing the emergency signal. This reduces the chance for cross-traffic and improves response time at muster stations, as guests do not need to return to their staterooms to retrieve their lifejackets if they are in another part of the ship at the time. Crew members will provide guests with life jackets at the muster stations. In the unlikely event of an emergency, one of the most important aspects is to account for all persons onboard, and this process facilitates that accountability.
The cruise industry is a heavily regulated industry, and the safety of our guests and crew is always our highest priority.
All of our ships’ officers receive specialized training, and every crew member must participate in safety training modules so they are prepared to respond quickly and effectively in the unlikely event of an emergency. We also conduct weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual drills on all of our ships, to train and prepare for response to a variety of potential situations. In addition, each of our vessels is equipped with advanced fire detection and suppression systems, and every ship has highly trained personnel onboard who can effectively respond to and manage these systems.
The number of life-saving crafts varies on each class of ship. All of our ships have sufficient survival craft for everyone on board, plus additional capacity in reserve, per regulatory requirements.
The muster procedure, as part of the Youth Evacuation Program, will ensure that children are brought to the muster station where they would be reunited with their parents/guardians. This is also mentioned in the general muster drill announcement.
During the mustering process, trained crew with high visibility vests will be posted throughout the ship to assist guests with disabilities. In addition to posted personnel, specially trained crew teams are available to assist guests with special needs.
Balconies and railings represent an important safety feature on our ships. Even though our balconies and railings exceed the height requirements of similar shore-side features, it is important that guests not climb or sit on railings for their own safety. Doing so may result in a guest being injured and is a violation of our Guest Conduct Policy, possibly resulting in the guest’s removal from the ship. While it is safe to travel in a balcony stateroom with children, we recommend small children not be left on the balcony by themselves.
We have a minimum of one fully licensed physician, and a minimum of two licensed nurses onboard every ship.
Should you get sick onboard, you will need to go to the medical facilities. The doctor will diagnose the illness and advise accordingly.
We try to avoid operating any ship in the vicinity of a tropical system, and we will monitor the progress of these storms very closely. If there is a potential threat to any of our guests or ships, the itinerary may be altered to try to avoid any interaction with the storm or any affected areas. Additionally, our Web sites are continually updated to provide guests with information when a storm develops.
Although all of our vessels are equipped with advanced fire detection and suppression systems, fire safety really begins with prevention. Our ships are constructed and outfitted to comply with stringent international fire safety regulations, including requirements for fire integrity of bulkheads (walls) and windows and fixtures onboard (such as furniture and carpets). Our ships are inspected throughout construction by third-party safety inspectors from recognized classification societies and port state safety agencies like the U.S. Coast Guard.
Even though fire risk is minimal, fire suppression systems are installed throughout all areas of the vessel. The primary fire suppression system on most ships converts water into a mist state that presents more surface area for smoke and heat to be absorbed. Water mist systems are very effective and also safe for people who may be near them when they are activated. In areas such as engine spaces and galleys, we have installed both water mist and CO2 systems. In addition, we have gone Above and Beyond Compliance with regulations by installing foam systems in various technical areas and wet chemical extinguishers in all of our galleys, that are especially effective in the case of oil based fire.
Our ships are also equipped with an extensive series of fire sensors, which are monitored by crew members on the bridge and in the engine control rooms. If a fire detector indicates there may be a fire onboard, response personnel are immediately dispatched to the area to evaluate the situation. If indicated, mobile firefighting groups respond, outfitted with full firefighter gear, breathing apparatus and special heat-seeking systems that use thermal-imaging cameras. These cameras (both hand-held and helmet-mounted) help to quickly identify the source of a fire and to locate any people who may be in the affected area. Responding crew also have access to an Impulse Fire Extinguisher (IFEX), which shoots a blast of water using pressurized air and is ideal for rapid response in quickly suppressing a fire. With these tools, our highly trained personnel on the bridge and on the scene can manage fire-related situations effectively.
While the ship’s officers and security team receive specialized training, every crew member must participate in safety and security training modules, so that they are prepared to respond quickly and effectively in the event of an emergency. We also conduct weekly, monthly and annual drills on all our ships, to train and prepare for response to a variety of potential situations. In addition, each of our vessels is equipped with advanced fire detection and suppression systems, and each ship has highly trained personnel onboard who can effectively respond to and manage a report of a fire.
If the main electrical power source is lost, we have plans for a contingency and we move to using the emergency generators. These are typically located on the upper decks and they have their own fuel supply and are completely independent. The generators can provide emergency lighting, fire detection systems, operate elevators and even provide power to re-start the engines, if necessary. They can also power communication channels – radio, telefax, email, so the ship can continue to communicate with shoreside.