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A Guide to Cruise Ship Muster Drills & What to Expect

Updated: June 14, 2024

Written by

AAA Travel Editors

By AAA GO

Imagine you made it on board and hear alarms. You might be thinking, “What could it be? Why now?” After all, you haven’t even left port yet.

Well, the answer is simple: It’s the law.

What Are Muster Drills?

Muster drills, which are also known as a boat drills or lifeboat drills, provide information that could save your life. Such cruise ship safety drills must be performed within 24 hours of departure. In the case of Royal Caribbean muster drills, there's an app; Muster 2.0, as it is called, had its debut with Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas in January 2020. Many other cruise lines now operate similarly, with virtual muster drills becoming the norm due to COVID-19.

Cruise enthusiasts who frequent large ships often get familiar with the safety drill, and some may even see it as a waste of time. So are muster drills mandatory? Yes, a muster drill must be understood by everyone on board a ship. Even if you’re new to cruising, you could be fined by the Coast Guard or local government or dismissed from the ship without a refund or raincheck. Muster drills are designed to familiarize and educate everyone on board with the muster station locations. A muster station also is the place where passengers gather in the event of an emergency.

Throughout the course, passengers will be given instructions on how to put on their life jackets and basic instructions on what to do in an emergency. Muster drills provide you with information that could save your life. If the muster drill is held in-person, social distancing will be enforced, and the captain and crew will give instruction on the types of alarms and emergency procedures.

These drills are designed with safety in mind, so make sure to pay attention. Afterward, you can enjoy the rest of your trip secure in that knowledge. To learn additional first-time cruise tips and plan your cruise vacation, contact a trusted AAA Travel Agent to check out the savings and member benefits.

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AAA Travel provides peace of mind when you travel — before, during and after your vacation! Members enjoy the advantages of membership including exclusive benefits, map routing, savings with the AAA Discounts & Rewards® program as well as recommendations for AAA Diamond-designated hotels and restaurants across the U.S. and Canada. Let AAA provide the rest of your travel needs with AAA Travel Guides, AAA Digital TourBook®, access to travel agents and counselors and travel insurance. Your next vacation starts with AAA — your complete travel solution. Visit AAA.com/Travel.

Written by

AAA Travel Editors

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