Royal Caribbean updates ‘outdated’ muster process

Royal Caribbean Group is revamping “outdated” on board safety drills with the help of new technology when ships return to service following the Covid-19 global cruise shutdown.

The company will be employing a new approach to delivering safety information to passengers under the Muster 2.0 initiative, the result of a year’s work.

The new process “reimagines a process originally designed for large groups of people into a faster, more personal approach that encourages higher levels of safety”.

The key elements of the safety drill – including reviewing what to expect and where to go in case of an emergency, and instructions on how to properly use a life jacket – will be accessible on an individual basis instead of a group approach that has been followed historically.

New eMuster technology will be used to help provide the information via mobile devices and interactive cabin TVs.

Travellers will be able to review the information at their own time prior to setting sail, eliminating the need for the traditional large group assemblies.

“The new approach also enables everyone on board to maintain better spacing as guests move about the ship, and it allows guests to enjoy more of their vacation with no interruption,” the group added.

“After reviewing safety information individually, guests will complete the drill by visiting their assigned assembly station, where a crew member will verify that all steps have been completed and answer questions.

“Each of the steps will need to be completed prior to the ship’s departure, as required by international maritime law.”

Muster 2.0 was first tested on Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas in January.

This marks the first change to the safety drill process in a decade, since Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas moved life jackets from cabins to muster stations.

Muster 2.0 will be part of a comprehensive set of protocols and procedures Royal Caribbean Group is developing along with the Healthy Sail Panel that was recently assembled in collaboration with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

Royal Caribbean Group is offering to license the patented technology to other cruise operators and will waive patent license fees as the industry battles the global pandemic.

Patent licenses have already been granted to the company’s Tui Cruises joint venture, as well as NCLH, the parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Royal Caribbean chairman and chief executive Richard Fain said: “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.

“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.”

The group’s senior vice president of digital, Jay Schneider, added: “Muster 2.0 represents a natural extension of our mission to improve our guests’ vacation experiences by removing points of friction.

“In this instance, what’s most convenient for our guests is also the safest option in light of needing to reimagine social spaces in the wake of Covid-19.”

NCLH president and chief executive Frank Del Rio said: “I’d like to extend my congratulations to Royal Caribbean Group on this innovative milestone. It’s exactly what our industry needs during these unprecedented times and we appreciate the generous offer to participate in this innovation.

“In this industry, we all work co-operatively to enhance health and safety, and this is an example of that.”

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