A technical glitch with Royal Caribbean International’s mobile app on Thursday, February 2, 2023 inadvertently sent safety briefing reminders to all booked guests, even if their cruises are months away. This caused a fair bit of confusion for guests as well as laughs, jokes, and longing to be on a cruise.
Safety Briefing Notifications Sent
Royal Caribbean International accidentally sent safety briefing reminders to all guests on Thursday, February 2 – no matter whether they were boarding a ship, booked for a cruise months from now, or in some cases, not even booked on an upcoming sailing at all.
“You have 30 minutes!” the notification from Royal Caribbean’s app read. “Go to your assembly station now and complete your mandatory safety briefing.”
Confused guests quickly reached out to Royal Caribbean about the error, and the cruise line explained the technical issue.
“These Push Notifications were sent in error and can be disregarded,” the cruise line’s statement on social media read. “Our teams have already resolved the system error and you can continue to keep notification toggled on for the Royal Caribbean App.”
While the notification was confusing and concerning to guests who may have a cruise coming up soon, for others who aren’t booked on a sailing for months, it was more humorous to receive such an obviously erroneous message.
“I wish I had a muster to attend.” “Am I supposed to be on a cruise? I’ll go but like, I kinda gotta pack super quick.” “Someone forgot to tell me I’m supposed to be on a cruise.” “I knew I didn’t want to be at work today.” “I wish it were real, but my next cruise isn’t until July 2024!” and “Did you guys give me a cruise I didn’t know about?” are just some of the lighthearted comments about the error.
The notifications are generally intended for passengers who have boarded their cruise but not yet checked in for their safety briefing at their official muster station. International maritime law requires that all guests must complete the safety briefing, including the muster station check-in, prior to the ship departing its homeport.
Technology doesn’t always work exactly as intended, however, and the accidental notifications may have been related to app updates, testing, or other behind-the-scenes work that inadvertently sent out the messages. At the same time that the error occurred, many guests reported not being able to log in to the app.
Royal Caribbean Keeping E-Mustering
Safety briefings – also called muster drills – are mandatory for all guests, and include not only the location of the muster station, but also instructions on how to put on a life jacket, what the ship’s emergency signal sounds like, and other safety procedures onboard.
When cruise travel resumed after the pandemic shutdown, Royal Caribbean was the first cruise line to adapt the e-muster, which permits guests to get much of the safety information through the app or online videos. Once onboard the ship, guests only need to check in at their muster station to finish the drill.
All major cruise lines adopted similar e-muster drills or “virtual mustering” to help comply with restart guidelines to minimize crowding and promote social distancing.
Now that the majority of pandemic health and safety protocols have eased, however, cruise lines are reevaluating the safety drills they use and adapting them to best suit the needs of their guests, ensuring that everyone is properly prepared in the case of an emergency.
Disney Cruise Line was the first major cruise line to go back to the traditional, in-person muster drill, and returned to that procedure in November 2022. More recently, Norwegian Cruise Line also announced its return to fleetwide in-person safety briefings at the end of January.
Carnival Cruise Line, on the other hand, has confirmed that it will keep following the e-muster protocols, and Royal Caribbean is doing the same.
All cruise lines will continue to evaluate their safety procedures, which are always subject to change to ensure the best compliance and most efficient options for guests and crew to receive the appropriate information.