Muster Drills

May 15th, 2007, 07:00 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 194
Muster Drills

While I've done a lot of land travel so far, I've been considering my first cruise this upcoming winter. While looking online, I was reading about muster drills. What are the current protocols for evacuation? Is it still the antiquated "women and children" first, or is there more equality provided these days with families being allowed to stay together?

Reading reviews of people's cruises on travel sites, I've come across several statements to the effect of
"Men were told to stand back against the ship until all others were safely boarded, and then they could board."

And a recent online report of a sinking cruise ship off the Greek coast mentions a that woman was separated from her husband after the call for women and children first.

I'm just curious about what other Fodorites have experienced on your cruises and Muster drills?

Are families and couples kept together?

universitylad is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 88
They line you up based on height with children in the front. They take roll call and will call out anyone missing from cabins that have not signed in. You must remain quiet while the captain inspects everyone. I have not heard for men to stand in back while on many cruises.
KARIME2 is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 03:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 686
It depends on the cruise line you go on. On Crystal and on Princess - you go to a lounge and sit in lounge chairs and listen to instructions. Then you put on your life boat jacket.

It takes all of 15 minutes. I wouldn't worry about it but definitely attend!
Theresa is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 09:29 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 270
Cruise lines seem to differ widely on how seriously they take these drills. One time on the Marco Polo we had to go from the assembly area to our lifeboat area up a flight of stairs in life jackets with our hand on the shoulder of the person in front of us. Princess, on the other hand, just had us show up at the assembly area with our life jacket, sluffing off this requirement as quickly as possible. I admire the cruise lines that take this seriously, as incidents as the one just recently at Santorini do happen.
therenaissanceman is offline  
Feb 17th, 2008, 02:45 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 7,486
We have been on eight cruises, (seven European cruises) under five different cruise lines. All have had a muster drill within an hour of departure. During all of our drills the men were too back with women and children in front and assume they would board first if necessary. I have no problems with being separated if they get to board first and get off first if there is a serious problem. What is antiquated about women and children first????
fmpden is online now  
Feb 20th, 2008, 12:35 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 94
I've taken part in nearly 90 muster drills over the years and the procedure varies by cruise line and sometimes even by ships in the same cruise line's fleet. Some hold the drill in a lounge and tell you where you would go in an emergency, others direct you to the boat deck for the drill. On one ship last month, we mustered in a lounge, put on our life jackets, and were then led in groups outside to the boat stations where the roll call was taken.

Children 12 and under are given identifying wrist bands to wear and, if they are in the kid's facility at the time of a real emergency, the youth counselors take them to meet their parents at the assigned boat station (which is indicated on the wrist band).

I have photos of my husband and me standing next to one another in life jackets, so we haven't always been separated. However, there have been times when he's stood in the row behind me.

Thankfully, we've never actually had to abandon ship. If that became necessary, it's my hope that most men would adhere to the "women and children first" custom. I can't imagine that families would be separated without a good reason.

CruiseDiva is offline  
Feb 21st, 2008, 02:09 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 19,419
On RCCL, Monarch, they would mark off people arriving, made sure everybody is there including babies, and everybody has the vest on. Families were together, mostly standing, elderly sitting.

After everybody had finally arrived, a short lecture, more like "welcome aboard" and that's it.
FainaAgain is offline  
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