Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that they will be returning to the traditional, in-person muster drill, despite the recent popularity and simplification of the e-muster drill.
The company stated that the safety of their passengers is their top priority and they believe that the in-person drill will ensure that everyone is properly prepared in the event of an emergency.
Norwegian Cruise Line announces return to traditional safety drill
In an email sent to travel agents and partners in the cruise industry, Norwegian has decided to abandon the virtual e-muster drills, and the change will be implemented fleetwide.
“The safety of our guests and crew members is our number one priority. We continuously evaluate our procedures for providing detailed instructions on safety and security measures to our guests, and as such, have made the decision to reinstate synchronized muster drills on embarkation day across all vessels in the fleet.”
The cruise line also stated that the changes would take place immediately on each cruise ship’s next embarkation day.
The e-muster drill was put into place shortly after cruise lines re-opened after being shutdown for the better part of 2020 and 2021. The purpose of the more virtual drill was to allow for social distancing and to reduce crowds.
Passengers were able to visit the location of their muster stations at any given time before the cruise and use the cruise line’s app for relevant information.
The reinstatement of the traditional safety briefing will once again require all passengers to physically gather at their stations at the same time, something the e-muster drill eliminated.
What ships are impacted
There are currently 18 ships that sail for Norwegian Cruise Line, but this latest change will apply to all ships under the parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. This will include Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises.
Norwegian isn’t the first cruise line to roll-back the e-muster drills. In mid-November Disney Cruise Line announced it was also going back to traditional safety drills.
Carnival Cruise Line, however, has publicly stated that e-muster drills will remain in effect for the time being. We will keep readers posted on any changes in this policy.
While the virtual safety drill has been popular with cruise passengers, there have been reports of a larger percentage of guests not completing the drills before sailing.
Why have the safety drill in the first place?
Cruise ship safety is of utmost importance, which is why cruise ships have muster drills. According to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations, all cruise ships must carry out a muster drill prior to departure and upon reaching port. This practice ensures that passengers and crew are aware of their evacuation routes in the event of an emergency.
Muster drills provide vital information about potential hazards on board the vessel and what actions should be taken if something goes wrong. The drill also helps familiarize passengers with lifeboat locations as well as instructing them how to wear a lifejacket correctly in case they need to abandon ship. During the briefing, important instructions such as when and where you should meet during an emergency are given by staff members who help guide passengers through each step of the process.