Muster Drill

Royal Caribbean has the highest standards for this Maritime mandatory safety drill.  Competitive cruise ships are slowly changing their drill procedures to catch up with this company after the Costa Concordia disaster (a Carnival owned and operated ship).  On that particular ship the passengers had not been properly drilled on life vest dressing and educated as to their assigned life boat boarding locations.  Carnival was conducting their drills AFTER setting sail.  On that disaster passengers were already partying and sitting in the Main Dining Room at dinner.  First time cruisers had absolutely no idea what to do.

Furthermore, other cruise companies still allow passengers to skip the drill altogether..!

You have purchased a Cruise vacation with a company that continues to be an industry innovator for not only fun amenities but most importantly – SAFETY.  I continue to be “Loyal to Royal” for all of the above.

On a Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship your Muster Drill will occur PRIOR to sailing.  It is MANDATORY that every passenger be present and accounted for in their assigned location.

You MAY NOT have an alcoholic drink in your hand.  You will be told to be SILENT and engaging in all of the instructions given.  There is no dress code for the drill as that is not important – so if you were in the pool – grab a towel and get to your location in your bathing suit.

Your SEA PASS is MANDATORY as it has a code on the upper corner.  The Emergency Broadcast System will make an announcement at 4:00 pm that the Muster Drill will commence in 15 minutes.  ALL Bars, Pools, Clubs and the Casino will shut down.  Each and Every Crew Member will participate in their Dress White Uniforms – on Oasis that’s 3,000 highly trained staff members directing all 6,000 cruisers to their safe locations.  Roughly 1 crew member to every 2 passengers.

Here is what you do:  At 4:00 when you hear the announcement – Simply hold up your Sea Pass in clear view to the Crew personnel that will now have taken their places at every stairwell, hallway and elevator on every deck.  A quick glance is what they will give it and point you in the right direction.  Keep your Sea Pass visible as every time you turn a corner or use a stairway there will be another Crew Member trained to look for your code.  This is NOT the time to argue that you “know” where to go..!  Stick to procedure. (NOTE: Elevators will NOT be allowed in an emergency as to the possibility of losing full power – however, for the purposes of fulfilling the importance of the Drill – some of the most mobility restricted passengers will be able to use the elevator. The MAJORITY of us will be directed to the stairways – they are very wide and can accommodate the passengers with ease.)

By 4:15 you should be at your location.  The Emergency Alarms will sound to familiarize everyone with that unique experience. Your Sea Pass will be electronically scanned by a crew member to verify to the Bridge that you have been accounted for.  Royal Caribbean WILL NOT set sail until each and every passenger is in attendance in their correct location and verified.  I have WAITED in an extended drill while all of us were informed that the inconvenience is due to a passenger who had not been accounted for..!

On EVERY cruise I have been on, there is ALWAYS that one person who is drinking, not paying attention, and making too much noise.  You will witness the very tactful, serious and professional staff remove them from their cocktail and instruct them to quietly pay attention to the instructions. Every crew member has the training to alert authorities of a passenger who may not be cooperative and in RARE occasions they have been escorted OFF of the ship.  If we are at sea – they will be taken to the OnBoard Brig – and placed in one of the Jail Cells until we are at land again..!  We can feel assured that there is a Maritime Law in place and strictly enforced.

Royal Caribbean will not release us from this Muster Drill until the Bridge proclaims that everyone is compliant…!  The ship will conduct this drill in an amazingly organized, professional and expedited manner.  You will feel the importance of this procedure as you listen to the instructions given.

Oasis and Allure of the Seas (identical sister ships) led the way in Safety Protocol.  When they were designing these mammoth vessels the industry standard of going to your cabin first to retrieve your life vest and requiring you to put it on yourself and your children – THEN proceed to your life boat stations – was dramatically improved..!  This innovative company design idea has now made a full sweep of ALL of the Royal Caribbean Fleet.  Presently your life vests are strategically hidden at your life boat boarding space.  SIMPLY go to your Life Boat – ALL children in programs will be professionally guided to these locations.  We were amazed to see Patrick’s boys delivered promptly to him.  Parents are instructed to get to the Life Boat as their children are each delivered to them there!  DO NOT try to run around the ship to find them – you HAVE a designated MEETING place – so use it.  The same rule applies for ALL adults who may be involved in different activities at the time of the drill.  Go to the Life Boat Station.

On completion of the Muster Drill – the “All Clear” signal will be given over the broadcast system, your Captain will introduce himself and welcome you to Oasis of the Seas.  You will be “released” from this drill and your vacation will commence.

We will Set Sail at 5pm sharp if every passenger is cleared.  Considering that the LAST passenger is REQUIRED to board by 3pm to be fully processed – we will be on schedule.

As a SIDE NOTE:  My previous Oasis of the Seas cruise was on April 17, 2010.  The world event occuring was the Icelandic Volcano Eruption.  This disaster shut down all of the European flights. Oasis was set to sail at 5pm but our Captain made the announcement that we would wait 5 hours to give as many delayed passengers a chance to make it to the ship.  So we set sail late – but the ship managed to make up the time in the two days it took her to get to the next stop in St. Maarten; as the ships rarely sail at full throttle.  As “seasoned” cruisers – we could definately feel the ship making up the time..!  It was smooth sailing but much more thrilling..!  Once on land we learned that many of the passengers who HAD pre-purchased Travel Insurance were being flown at no additional cost to the island and being processed for boarding..!  All others that had not purchased Travel Insurance had to miss their cruise – BUT Royal was offering all kinds of re-booking advantages and offerings.  Even though Royal was under no obligation to accommodate this unforeseen natural event – they rolled out the Red Carpet – helping the majority of stranded passengers find their way to the ship…! Watching the staff at Guest relations go into full business mode was a very memorable sight.  They split the desk to accommodate “our” needs and left the other Officers to make numerous arraignments for the stranded guests.  Over the course of our cruise I witnessed a company that I could be PROUD of.  The manner in which they handled this situation endeared me to be “Loyal to Royal”. It could have been handled chaotically and with callus disregard – but in sharp contrast – non of the crew lost their professional attitude as ALL of the OnBoard cruisers pumped them for updates. They answered our numerous and repetitive questions about the volcano making us all feel like a compasionate part of the process.  Talking amongst ourselves on board – as this event was “all the buzz” and more interesting than chatter about the weather – Patrick and I never met a single passenger that disagreed with the late departure or the amazing struggle to get our fellow cruisers to the ship…!  Highly commendable.

The ONLY activity that was disrupted was the Casino – as Maritime Laws apply and the ship must be in International waters for any gambling to take place.  So ALL of the ships Restaurants, Pools, Shows, Ice Rink, Zip Line, Rock Climbing Walls, FlowRiders, Bars, Movie Theater and Children’s Programs FULLY functioned and ON SCHEDULE.

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