Cruise NewsCarnival Cruise Lines to Start Head Counts at Muster Drills

Carnival Cruise Lines to Start Head Counts at Muster Drills

carnival muster drillsSince the Costa Concordia accident more cruise lines have been stepping up procedures to keep its passengers safe.  Yesterday, John Heald, cruise director for Carnival, announced on his Facebook page that there would be changes to the muster drill aboard the cruise line’s ships.  Mandatory head counts would be a part of the drill.

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This is the announcement that Heald says is going to be made at these mandatory muster drills:

“Ladies and Gentlemen. Carnival Cruise Lines’ commitment to safety has always been paramount and at this time I need your cooperation please. Before I continue with the safety briefing and information on how to save your life in an emergency we need to simulate what would happen if such a situation arose with the crew members at your muster station passing amongst you in order to do a head count.

“This is what would happen in a real emergency and, as I would then, I will ask you now to please stay in your current position. Please do not move, and parents and guardians I ask you to please keep your children close by as well so we can make this an accurate count.

“Thank you in advance for your cooperation and I am sure you all understand the importance of this critical exercise. Once the head count is over I will continue with the briefing. Muster station supervisors……please start the count.”

While some see this change as a good thing some see it as a nuisance and inconvenience.  But many other cruise lines have already been doing this for years.  In fact, some cruise lines like Princess and NCL will even scan your card when you enter the muster station and keep tract of those who did not attend the drill so they can have a private drill later.

When sailing with Royal Caribbean I remember them doing a head count and calling out each room number to make sure they were present, so the fact that Carnival is just starting to do head counts now is a bit behind the times when compared to the cruise industry as a whole.

Hopefully Carnival will do card scans and not just head counts as this will not accurately tell them who is missing if the numbers don’t match up at each station.  Although this is a step toward the line trying to step up safety protocol not everyone agrees with the decision, even if it is way behind other cruise lines and how muster drills have been handled for years.

So we want to know what our readers think about this new change with Carnival.  Think it’s a great idea?  Or is it a terrible idea that just takes away the fun of cruising?  Let us know with a comment below.

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J. Souza
J. Souza
Jon is the co-founder of Cruise Fever and has been on 50+ cruises since his first in 2009. As an editor, 15-year writer on the cruise industry, and avid cruise enthusiast he has sailed with at least 10 cruise lines and is always looking for a great cruise deal. Jon lives in North Carolina and can be reached at [email protected].
Cruise NewsCarnival Cruise Lines to Start Head Counts at Muster Drills


  1. No head counts, I don’t like wasting time with the Muster Drills, those of us above Gold members don’t need or want to repeat this Drill cruse after cruse…..

  2. I have been on Four Carnival Cruises since 2006. My last cruise was just back in August on the Carnival Pride. The Safety Briefing was a painless process, and was very different compared to my two cruises on Miracle in 2007 and 2011, and my first one on Victory in 2006. This time, we stood in lines that were organized from Tallest to Shortest so everyone could see the Lifejacket Demonstration. There wasn’t a head count or a card scan, but there was this process and a better organized dismissal process. There are Four Muster Stations on the Spirit-Class Ships. Muster Stations A and B were dismissed first, and then C and D were dismissed before sounding the “Abandon Ship Signal” to signal the completion of the Drill.
    Regardless of anything, there wasn’t a head count, but this form of Drill that was used had a much better organization and took quicker than the others that I’ve done.

  3. All people checking on board a ship is required to have their card at the check-on point with picture.
    Scan these cards when people enter the life boat stations. These totals should be equal.
    If not, go back to the “check in” list to find who is missing.
    Your choice from there.

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