Norwegian Cruise Line Confirms Return of Traditional Muster Drill

Norwegian Cruise Line has announced the end of the virtual or e-muster drill and will immediately return to the traditional safety briefing.

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Norwegian Cruise Line has reached out to travel agents and partner agencies with news that the traditional, in-person, synchronized muster drill will be returning fleetwide, effective immediately. This makes Norwegian the second major cruise line to reinstate classic muster drills, after Disney Cruise Line did so mid-November 2022.

E-Muster to End for Norwegian Cruise Line

In a communication sent to travel partners, Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that the simplified e-muster drill, which has permitted guests to complete much of their safety briefing online and then check in to their muster station at their leisure on embarkation day, will be ending, effective immediately.

“The safety of our guests and crew members is our number one priority. We continuously evaluate our procedures for providing detailed instructions on safety and security measures to our guests, and as such, have made the decision to reinstate synchronized muster drills on embarkation day across all vessels in the fleet,” the email read.

Norwegian Cruise Line Ship
Photo Credit: Ceri Breeze / Shutterstock

“This policy will go into effect immediately up each vessel’s next embarkation day.” Norwegian Cruise Line currently operates 18 vessels, including the new Norwegian Prima, and every ship will be returning to the traditional drill.

About Traditional Drills

The classic safety drill requires all guests to meet at their assigned muster station, typically late in the afternoon on embarkation day, after all passengers have embarked the ship.

During the drill, the ship’s safety signal is sounded – seven short blasts and one long blast on the horn – and crew members provide guests with different safety policies and information, including how to report to their muster station should there be an emergency, how to properly wear a life jacket, what phone number to call onboard in case of an emergency, and more.

During the safety briefing, all shipboard activities and services are suspended to ensure participation by all guests. Bars and dining venues close, no ship tours or spa services are offered, and shore excursions or shipboard reservations for specialty dining, shows, or exclusive activities cannot be booked.

Cruise Ship Muster Drill
Photo Credit: MikhailBerkut / Shutterstock

A typical safety drill can last from 20-45 minutes, depending on the size of the vessel and how easily guests cooperate by reporting to the proper muster station when directed.

Guests aboard different Norwegian Cruise Line ships have reported “traditional” safety briefings in recent weeks, but this new communication confirms that no ships will continue with the virtual or e-muster process.

Why Change Back?

The updated e-muster, also called virtual mustering or the online safety drill, was adopted by most cruise lines as travel cautiously resumed after the pandemic lockdown and cruising gradually restarted. This helped minimize crowds and promoted social distancing. Now that other onboard health protocols have ended, however, the logic behind a virtual safety drill no longer applies.

At times, all cruise lines have experienced difficulties with the e-muster, such as guests failing to report to their muster stations upon embarkation or an inability to confirm that guests have, in fact, reviewed safety information prior to setting sail.

Read Also: Norwegian Cruise Ships – Newest to Oldest

The in-person drill ensures that all travelers are instructed about safety procedures, including life jacket demonstrations and onboard risks, such as fire, and what to do in case of an emergency. While some guests will undoubtedly be disappointed at the change back to traditional mustering, it must be noted that all cruise lines prioritize safety of their guests and crew members above all else.

Ensuring that guests have the proper safety information is critical in case an emergency should arise, and each cruise line will work with the proper authorities and maritime officials to determine the best way to conduct safety drills, which are always subject to change based on evolving needs and circumstances.

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