Cruise Lines have been removing several measures implemented in line with keeping guests safe after the global pause in operations. One of those measures was the new e-muster drill, where guests no longer needed to gather in large groups to comply with the mandatory safety drill. However, this seems to be returning to normal again.
Disney Cruise Line has announced it will reinstate the mandatory in-person safety muster drill before a ship departs. Onboard three ships, the procedure has already been changed, with the two remaining cruise ships following in the coming week. While Disney did not clarify why the drills are coming back, it seems a lack of guest participation is the cause.
In-Person Passenger Muster Drill Returns
There is nothing as important as keeping everyone safe onboard a cruise ship. To ensure everyone knows their duties and escape routes in an emergency, Disney Cruise Line is bringing back the pre-departure safety muster drills.
During the first months of the pandemic, the US Coast Guard agreed to a change in safety muster drills, preventing guests from coming together in large groups. The move was intended to limit the possible spread of COVID-19 and initially proved successful and popular with guests.
However, Disney Cruise Line has started bringing the drills back, starting with Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy on November 12 and Disney Wish today, November 14. The drill will return to Disney Wonder on November 16, and Disney Magic will be last on November 20.
Going forward, all guests must report to their assigned assembly stations in person at the scheduled time. Guests will need to follow the instructions on the announcement systems and follow the instructions from the crew and officers.
In an email to travel advisors, the cruise line states: “We regularly review our processes and have made the decision to reintroduce the in-person assembly drills. All Guests will be required to report to their assigned assembly station in person at the scheduled time on embarkation day.”
“This transition will ensure all Crew Members and Guests are fully aware of our safety procedures in the event of an emergency. The DCL Navigator App will continue to notify Guests of their assigned assembly station, provide directions for getting to their location and share additional safety information with Guests.”
The procedure replaces the protocol that has been in place over the last year, where guests could do the drill at their leisure and check in through the DCL Navigator app or with a crew member at their station.
Will Other Cruise Lines Follow?
The measure from Disney Cruise Line comes as multiple, unconfirmed reports over the last months said guest participation was lacking, and much worse, many guests not knowing what to do in case of an emergency.
For now, only Disney has said it is bringing the drills back. With this many children onboard the Disney ships, it’s hardly surprising.
The US Coast Guard has always been extremely strict with safety measures on board cruise ships, and rightly so. The new procedures, which have never been fool-proof, were there so guests would be kept apart.
It could be that the US Coast Guard wants to return to bringing all guests to the drills again, which are required by SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea).
All cruise lines will need to ensure that their drills are carried out according to the safety parameters in place for all ships. If they cannot, or the Coast Guard believes that guest participation is below the minimum requirements, we could soon see all cruise lines return to the old procedures.