All passengers are required to attend a safety procedure demonstration, known as a muster drill, within their first few hours on board. The muster drill lasts approximately 20-30 minutes and will always take place prior to the ship sailing. All passengers are expected to attend and cabin stewards will visit cabins to instruct guests that they must make their way to the designated venue in which the muster drill will be held. Your ship’s loudspeaker service will make clear announcements regarding the time and location of the muster drill. Any subsequent announcements referring to muster drills following the initial one can be ignored as advised; these announcements refer to crew training which takes place each week.
Muster stations are multiple emergency areas dedicated specifically to certain groups of passengers and crew members in order to ensure that everyone on board is not heading to the same emergency exit. Information on the location of your muster station can be found on the back of your cabin door. Here, you will find a map of the ship with your designated muster station highlighted, along with its title (e.g. Muster Station C). The muster drill will begin with the Captain sounding the ship’s general alarm of 7 sharp blasts, followed by one long blast of the ship’s horn. Upon hearing this and the Captain’s announcement on the speaker system, you must make your way to your designated muster station, taking your life jacket with you. A crewmember at your muster station will provide a life jacket, should you forget your own.
The muster drill is designed to prepare passengers for a safe evacuation in the unlikely event of an emergency. It also serves to familiarise passengers with their surroundings and the routes to the ship’s lifeboats. Once all passengers are present and accounted for, the muster drill will begin and will advise:
» The safety procedure to be followed in the unlikely event of an emergency
» What horn sounds to expect in the event of an ‘abandon ship order’
» How to inflate, deflate, and use the whistle and light on life jackets
» How to fit life jackets to children
Emergency strip lighting will usually be activated for the purpose of the muster drill, so that passengers may familiarise themselves with the procedures followed in the event of a power outage.
Most cruise lines will offer the safety drill via passenger TV for a period of time following the initial demonstration.