Royal Caribbean (RCI) has changed the way guests will conduct safety drills.
The company has introduced a digital app, which will help with promoting social distancing on board.
Called Muster 2.0, the rollout of these new safety drills was initiated in Germany last week on board the group’s joint venture, TUI Cruises, and will continue when RCI’s ships return to service.
In order to comply with maritime law, passengers on an ocean-going vessel must be aware of what to do for a response to an emergency condition on board.
With Muster 2.0, the new technology will be used to help provide the information to guests via their mobile devices and interactive stateroom TVs.
Travellers will be able to review the information at their own time prior to sailing, thus eliminating the need for the traditional large group assemblies.
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 law.
Once on the cruise ship, guests have a set time (indicated by a timer in the app) by which muster drill must be completed and, in response, a message is transmitted to each mobile device that the muster drill has commenced.
In addition, subsequent to a lapsing of the timer, a listing is displayed of any passenger not recorded as having completed the muster drill.
Muster 2.0 was first tested on RCI’s ‘Symphony of the Seas’ in January, 2020. Guests who took part in the trials indicated a strong preference for the new approach and also reported better comprehension and retention of the safety information.
For many cruise passengers, the muster drill is viewed as a necessary annoyance.
Traditionally, a muster drill is performed at the beginning of the cruise before she departs or shortly thereafter. During the muster drill, each individual passenger reports to an assigned muster station—a specific location on the vessel. A crew member then confirms the presence of each passenger expected to be present at the specific location during the muster drill so that all passengers may be accounted for in the event of an actual emergency and a resultant actual muster.
Further, RCI said that the muster drill can be confusing for some—particularly the elderly and children—both of whom often require additional assistance locating and moving towards assigned muster stations.
For crew members, trying to perform the drill with thousands of guests may create unnecessary confusion or missed opportunities to educate and inform.
Moreover, an electronic muster drill would potentially allow guests to conduct the safety drill at their leisure during the first day, and while maintaining proper social distancing.
Muster 2.0’s brainchild is RCI’s Senior Vice President of Entertainment, Nick Weir, who is listed as the inventor on the patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
RCI applied for a patent for the concept in September, 2019, and the application was granted on 3rd March, 2020.
Despite Muster 2.0 being a proprietary RCI invention, the company said that it is offering to license the patented technology to other interested cruise operators and will waive patent license fees during the time the world and industry battle the global pandemic.
Patent licenses have already been granted to the company’s joint venture, TUI Cruises, as well as to Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, the parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.