Royal Caribbean Group eliminates large-group muster drills, unveils Muster 2.0

MIAMI — Royal Caribbean Group has updated one of the least popular parts of a cruise vacation – the muster drill – to better ensure the safety of guests onboard.

Dubbed ‘Muster 2.0’, the first-of-its-kind safety drill offers a faster, more personal approach to safety, completely reimagining the process originally designed for large groups of people.

The key elements of the drill – including instructions on where to go in case of an emergency and how to properly use a life jacket – will now be accessible to guests on an individual bases instead of the typical group approach.

Using new technology called eMuster, the innovative program allows passengers to access the information via their mobile devices and interactive stateroom TVs and review it at their own time prior to setting sail, eliminating the need for the traditional large-group assemblies. This new approach also enables everyone onboard to maintain better physical spacing as well as enjoy more of their cruise with no interruption.

After reviewing safety information individually, guests will complete the drill by 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.

Muster 2.0 was first tested on Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas in January 2020. Guests who took part in the mock process indicated a strong preference for the new approach and also reported better comprehension and retention of the safety information.

“The health and safety of our guests and crew are our number one priority, and the development of this new muster process is an elegant solution to an outdated, unpopular process,” said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group. “The fact that this will also save guests time and allow the ship to operate without pause means that we can increase health, safety and guest satisfaction simultaneously.”

This marks the first dramatic change to the safety drill process in a decade, since Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas moved the life jackets from guest staterooms to the muster stations, which improved the evacuation process and has been widely followed throughout the industry. More than a year in the making, Muster 2.0 is also an initiative that will be part of the comprehensive set of protocols and procedures Royal Caribbean Group is developing along with the Healthy Sail Panel that was recently assembled in collaboration with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.

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