The 12 Days of Cruising: 5 Reasons Behind the Muster Drill

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On the 5th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 5 tips about muster drills. I mean, life preservers kinda look like rings for cruise ships, right? But my true love really does love me and wants me to be safe and sound on my next cruise, so here are the 5 muster drill tips he shared with me.

1. Why you do it.

It’s totally mandatory and for a very good reason. The muster drill explains what you would do in the (unlikely) event of an actual emergency. Just like you get a safety explanation on every flight, you get one on every cruise. It’s usually not too long, and the information could end up saving your life. Take a few deep breaths, listen to the crew and then relax and enjoy your cruise vacation.
2. What you call it.

Muster drills go by a few different names. Some cruise lines call it a safety briefing. Others say muster drill. And even others say safety drill. Then there’s lifeboat drill. You’ll find many combinations of these terms across different cruise lines. If you’re not sure when your drill is, or what it’s even called, be sure to ask any crew member. They’ll set you in the right direction.

3. Where you do it.

Location, location, location. It’s important to know where to go during an emergency, and your muster drill. There are a few places you can check to be sure you make your muster drill invite with no delays. Look at the back of your stateroom door. You’ll find the muster drill location and a map that will help you get there. For most cruise lines, you’ll also find a letter that corresponds to your muster station on your room key (sailing card). And just like a few of these other tips, ask a crew member. They practice muster drills frequently and are very familiar with the process.

4. What to wear for it.

Some cruise lines ask you to bring your life jacket with you to the muster stations. Some even ask you to wear it while at the muster drill (it really is all the rage in cruise line fashion; orange is definitely the new black). Other cruise lines don’t require you to bring it with you, while others keep the life jackets at the actual muster stations and just show you where they are; no fittings required. Make sure you know what your specific cruise line requires before you head to the muster drill.

5. When you do it.

Safety of Life at Sea, SOLAS, the group that sets procedures for muster drills, states that “a muster of the passengers shall take place within 24 hours after their embarkation.” Since the exact time isn’t required, it tends to be set by the individual cruise lines. In my experience, the muster drill is held before the ship leaves port. Check your ship’s schedule when you first arrive to prepare. This way, you can ensure you’re not in the middle of something when the muster drill warning sounds.

What muster drill tips would you give to a first time cruiser? What tip do you think is the most helpful?

Read our previous entries in the 12 Days of Cruising series:


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