Passenger Emergency Drills

An online comment on an newspaper article about a crew member lost overboard from Celebrity Constellation prompted me to write this. In it, the poster wrote:

We have been through numerous lifeboat drills on different lines. In not one of them were we told what to do if we saw someone fall overboard, yet this is far more common than sinkings. Curious.

It’s a very good question since muster was sadly not standardised across the industry in the wake of the Costa Concordia tragedy. Some cruise lines require you to take your life jacket, many don’t. The first time I went to muster with no jacket was the maiden of Celebrity Equinox on 2009. On Royal Caribbean, it is virtually impossible to watch a crew member demonstrating how to put on a life jacket when you’re behind the first couple of rows on the Promenade deck. Most do a roll call. I know P&O and Cunard insist on life jacket but don’t do a roll call. Very few require both. I know from experience, P&O, Cunard and Princess tell you to throw a life ring into the water and shout, “Man overboard!” if you see someone go into the water but what about the rest? The length of muster drills vary depending on line, as do the number of languages it’s done in, resulting in less and less vital information being given to the passengers. The last muster I went to which was 110% thorough was Discovery in 2012, when she was run by Voyages of Discovery. Life jacket required, roll call and they told you many things I used to hear when I began cruising just 6 years prior and now which have been mainly dropped now by the cruise lines.

It’s about time things changed across the board so we all know what to do in various emergencies.

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