What is a “muster drill”?
A muster drill is a mandatory exercise with the objective to familiarise all guests and crew with the location (muster station) where they are to assemble in the unlikely event of an emergency. During this drill, additional safety information (i.e., how to don a life jacket) is presented.
What is the timing of the muster drill for guests?
The International Convention of Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulatory guidelines require that a muster drill be held within 24 hours of a ship’s departure from its embarkation port.  The muster drill for guests on all ships across our fleet is to be held 30 to 60 minutes prior to departure on the day of turnaround, or embarkation.
What languages are the muster drills conducted in?
Announcements for the guest assembly drill are made in English, or the official language of the vessel.  The announcements are made in additional core languages when we have large numbers of guests onboard who do not speak English.  On some sailings, announcements may be made in the language of the market, then followed by English and any other approved core language(s).
Should passengers wear their lifejackets when participating in a muster drill?
Guests should not bring life jackets to the muster drill. Our procedures direct guests to proceed directly to their muster stations in the unlikely event of an emergency and upon hearing the emergency signal.  This reduces the chance for cross-traffic and improves response time at muster stations, as guests do not need to return to their staterooms to retrieve their lifejackets if they are in another part of the ship at the time.  Crew members will provide guests with life jackets at the muster stations. In the unlikely event of an emergency, one of the most important aspects is to account for all persons onboard, and this process facilitates that accountability.
Who regulates the cruise industry?
The cruise industry is a heavily regulated industry, and the safety of our guests and crew is always our highest priority.
  • All cruise ships are designed and operated in compliance with the strict requirements of the International Maritime Organisation, the UN agency that mandates global standards for the safety and operation of cruise ships through adoption of treaties, regulations and resolutions, codified in the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention.
  • Safety-related regulations and requirements are rigorous – and we often go substantially above and beyond what is required; for example, carrying backup mechanical, navigational and safety provisions.
  • Our ships’ crews undertake extensive training, certification, drills and scenarios in preparation for the very unlikely event of an emergency, including training on ship evacuation procedures.
What training does the crew go through for muster drills and emergency situations?
All of our ships’ officers receive specialised training, and every crew member must participate in safety training modules so they are prepared to respond quickly and effectively in the unlikely event of an emergency. We also conduct weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual drills on all of our ships, to train and prepare for response to a variety of potential situations. In addition, each of our vessels is equipped with advanced fire detection and suppression systems, and every ship has highly trained personnel onboard who can effectively respond to and manage these systems.
How many life saving crafts do the ships carry?
The number of life saving crafts varies on each class of ship.  All of our ships have sufficient survival craft for everyone on board, plus additional capacity in reserve, per regulatory requirements.
What are the mustering procedures for kids participating in children’s/youth programs?
The muster procedure, as part of the Youth Evacuation Program, will ensure that children are brought to the muster station where they would be reunited with their parents / guardians. This is also mentioned in the general muster drill announcement.
What are the mustering procedures for passengers with disabilities?
During the mustering process, trained crew with high visibility vests will be posted throughout the ship to assist guests with disabilities. In addition to posted personnel, specially trained crew teams are available to assist guests with special needs.
Are the Balconies and Railings safe?
Balconies and railings represent an important safety feature on our ships. Even though our balconies and railings exceed the height requirements of similar shore-side features, it is important that guests do not climb or sit on railings for their own safety. Doing so may result in a guest being injured and is a violation of our Guest Conduct Policy, possibly resulting in the guest's removal from the ship. While it is safe to travel in a balcony stateroom with children, we recommend small children not be left on the balcony by themselves.
What should I know about the Zika Virus before sailing?
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is committed to the safety and health of our guests and crew. We are closely monitoring the Zika virus situation and are aware that the CDC has issued a travel alert for certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Royal Caribbean will assist any pregnant women who do not feel comfortable sailing to countries affected with the Zika virus by providing alternate itinerary options. This may include providing guests with a future cruise credit valid for two years so that they may re-schedule their voyage for a later date, with no penalty. Guests seeking additional information on the Zika virus are encouraged to contact their primary care physician or visit the CDC's website.
For more on Royal Caribbean safety, please see our Safety Information page here.