There have been numerous rumors through multiple platforms that Carnival Cruise Line is returning to in-person muster drills.
Currently, cruise lines have switched from in-person muster drills to “e-muster” drills due to the pandemic. The e-muster has become very popular among cruisers. However, Disney Cruise Line recently changed back to the in-person variation which started the rumor mill. Then John Heald, Carnival Cruise Line Brand Ambassador, posted information on social media with Carnival’s ship deck plans and indicated where each muster station is located which made people believe Carnival was indeed returning to in-person muster drills.
Once the rumor mill began to swirl, Heald made another social media post to clarify that said, “We are not changing anything and unless we are instructed to by United States Coast Guard we will continue with the system that I know many of you appreciate.”
The muster station is a designated meeting point where guests gather in an emergency. They are typically located in public areas where large groups are able to gather for instruction. Pre-pandemic muster drills were held in person prior to sailing. Passengers would gather to see a live demonstration of how to put on a life jacket. They would also receive other safety information. These drills could last 30-45 minutes and most found them largely ineffective.
Post-pandemic, cruise lines introduced the favored electronic or e-muster drill. It helped to eliminate large gatherings so COVID-19 would not be spread. Passengers can now watch online safety videos at their convenience before sailing. Guests then report to their muster station to be checked off that the task was complete–no large crowds.
E-muster drills are definitely the preferred method among passengers and seemingly cruise lines. However, it is important to know that the cruise line is not in charge of whether they can continue to offer this electronically. Ultimately, it is the decisions of local maritime authorities.
For now, John Heald says Carnival Cruise Line is NOT changing.