As COVID-19 has impacted almost every aspect of travel, one of the cruise industry’s staple safety drills—something that has not been changed in a decade—is getting a facelift.
In a first for the industry, Royal Caribbean Group today announced that it is moving away from the traditional muster safety drill to a new drill it is coining “Muster 2.0.” The new drill will no longer see guests gather with the rest of the onboard cruisers on the first day of their sailing to go over the muster process.
Instead, Royal’s guests will be able to complete the drill on an individual basis with a new app available on mobile devices and stateroom TVs, called eMuster, which will allow them to review all the safety info prior to sailing. Guests will then go to their assigned assembly station where they’ll be checked by the ship’s crew and answer some questions before being approved.
The goal of the new drill is to allow guests to avoid large crowds and continue to social distance, removing points of friction for its guests and giving them more flexibility as COVID-19 continues to have an impact on standard procedures.
“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and crew are our number one priority, and the development of this new muster process is an elegant solution to an outdated, unpopular process,” said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group.
“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 first tested eMuster on Symphony of the Seas in January 2020 and, according to Royal, guests gave the new program good reviews. While the patent behind the technology is already available to Royal’s member cruise lines, it has also been granted to the company’s joint venture, TUI Cruises GmbH, as well as Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., the parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.