Not every covid-era change was a negative and the cruise line has made it clear that a popular one is here to stay (but there’s something you may not know).
The covid pandemic forced the entire cruise industry to examine every practice through a health and safety lens. That was always a focus for the industry, of course, but the added impact of covid made it necessary to rethink everything.
Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) – Get Free Report, the Royal Caribbean Group (RCL) – Get Free Report, and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) – Get Free Report stepped up and invested heavily in making changes. In consultation with doctors and other experts, all three cruise lines improved air filtration, added enhanced cleaning to ships, and at least at first, looked at how to reduce the times when passengers were crowded together.
And while social distancing has largely gone away, many of the changes made because of covid have remained. One of those, the virtual muster drill, has (under a variety of names) been adopted by Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian. The change has proven wildly popular and Carnival Loyalty Ambassador John Heald recently answered a question about rumors that the method of doing things would return.
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Muster Drill Versus Muster 2.0
Before the pandemic, every cruise line conducted an in-person muster drill. At a certain time before sail away all passengers had to go to their muster station (the place where they are supposed to report in the unlikely event of an emergency) where a demonstration of how lifejackets work along with some other announcements were made.
The Coast Guard literally requires this, but the old system was a nightmare as it required people show up at a set time. And since many muster stations were outside, people were often standing in the hot sun waiting for the cruise line to track down errant passengers.
Since Carnival. Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian returned to sailing they have been using a virtual muster drill that’s much more simple. Passengers can watch a couple of short videos and then check in at their muster station. If they choose to not watch the videos, when they check in, they will receive a live demonstration.
The whole system makes it so passengers are not reliant on the actions of anyone else and it’s much easier. That makes it understandable that Carnival customers were up in arms over rumors on a variety of well-known cruise message boards that the cruise line might go back to old system.
Carnival Answers the Muster Rumors
Carnival Loyalty Ambassador John Heald shared a question that he was asked about the muster drill on his Facebook page.
Our friends on the cruise boards are saying that Carnival will go back to doing the old way of the safety drill from 2/1. I sure hope not, the old way was so inconvenient, people are always late/missing, people talking and it sucks being jammed in herd style like we mean nothing to nobody. The new way is so much better, it’s the your time dining of muster, no one wants to stand around in the hallways waiting on dinner and no one wants to be herded into crowds for muster. It’s a terrible idea John so why is this happening.
Heald, who answers questions on his Facebook page but shields the identity of the person asking the question, was vehement in his response.
Well this and other posts have really gotten people all on edge. The fact is that Mrs Glitterknickers who posted that we were returning to the pre-covid way of doing the drill is mistaken and is talking nonsense. Safety is always the top of our list. Your safety, the safety of the crew, and ultimately the safety of the ship herself will always be most paramount. The current way is working. It is working for you and for us and for US Coast Guard who come on every ship and check everything we do safety wise.”
Heald did have a small caveat, albeit an unlikely one given the popularity of the new system.
“Now I will give myself a ‘Get Out Of Cruise Critic Jail Free Card’ and say I don’t know if it will ever change or not but what I can say is that we are not returning to the previous way of doing this next month or indeed, at all” he shared.
The loyalty ambassador also shared an interesting trick that Carnival uses to make sure people check in at their muster station.
“Just a reminder that if you have two drinks and you have not checked in at your muster station and try to buy a third you will be blocked on the system and not be able to purchase a drink until you have been to your muster station,” he added.