Royal Caribbean revamps safety drill

Cruise line has updated its safety drills to be digital friendly amid COVID-19

In light of the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing orders, Royal Caribbean’s safety drill is going digital to avoid crowding strangers together for group muster sessions, the company announced Friday.

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The drills, which are known as Muster 2.0, will require travelers to go through the cruise line's emergency safety protocols on an individual basis before the ship sets sail. Information on the ship's exits and how to properly wear a life jacket will be available in app form – a first for the cruise industry.

Customers will be able to access Royal Caribbean's Muster 2.0 training through their mobile device or stateroom TV when they are on board. When the training is completed, guests will be instructed to visit an assigned assembly station to verify they have read the safety materials with a crew member. Questions about safety protocols can be asked at the station if needed.

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"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and crew are our number one priority, and the development of this new muster process is an elegant solution to an outdated, unpopular process," Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO Richard Fain said in a statement. "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."

(Royal Caribbean Group)

Muster 2.0 was tested on Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas in January 2020, which reportedly received positive feedback among customers who took part in the digital test run.

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All guests are required to go through the safety training, including children, and the ship will have a record of completion for every person on board, according to Royal Caribbean's blog. Muster 2.0 should be completed within the four-hour block before the ship departs.

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"Muster 2.0 represents a natural extension of our mission to improve our guests’ vacation experiences by removing points of friction," Royal Caribbean's Senior Vice president of Digital Jay Schneider shared. "In this instance, what’s most convenient for our guests is also the safest option in light of needing to reimagine social spaces in the wake of COVID-19."

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The technology will be available on Royal Caribbean's sister brands, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara. There is an exception for Galapagos-based ships for Celebrity Cruises, including Celebrity Flora, Celebrity Expedition and Celebrity Exploration.