Now that the cruising industry is back on its feet, it’s time for the fun to resume full swing. All first time and avid cruisers are aware of the preparation process. The cruise is booked. The online check-in has been completed. Next, all cruisers have viewed the muster drill video. Once viewed, it’s time to cruise! Well, not so fast! Fact: The muster drill is the most important part of every cruise. Before the ship leaves port, all guests on board should have fully completed the muster drill process. The muster drill video is not the only step. The final step must be completed. The final step is attending the one-on-one safety briefing. How important is this final step?

Everyone remembers the muster drill pre-pandemic. All guests had to report to their assigned emergency stations. The emergency station is clearly printed on each guest’s stateroom key card. It could be just a letter, or a letter and a number. The emergency station is also clearly marked on the inside of every stateroom door. All guests should note their emergency station the very moment they enter their staterooms. Yes, guests love checking out their home away from home for the next week or so. It is like a big occasion. Before getting excited about their cruise, the final step is still yet to be completed. The one-on-one safety briefing is paramount. The one-on-one safety briefing, along with the muster drill video are both required to sail. Both are in accordance with US Coast Guard regulations, International Maritime Law, and the universal rule book known as S.O.L.A.S. S.O.L.A.S is short for Safety of Lives At Sea. Once guests have dropped their carry-on luggage at their staterooms, they should immediately proceed to their assigned emergency station. There, they will attend their one-on-one safety briefing.

Prior to the pandemic, all guests were used to gathering in a mass crowd at their assigned emergency station. Now, the cruise lines have simplified the muster drill. The muster drill video is viewed at home on any personal device (Smartphone or tablet). Guests must download their cruise line’s app in order to do so. Guests also have the option of viewing the muster drill video on their stateroom TV. Having done so, the cruise line automatically knows that the muster drill video has been viewed. Just like in the previous muster drill format, attendance is taken. At their assigned emergency station, guests must remain quiet at all times. Emergency station leaders will scan each guest’s stateroom key card. Once guests’ key cards have been scanned, the emergency station leaders begin the one-on-one safety briefing. They demonstrate the process of donning a life jacket. The process includes putting the lifejacket on, along with using all the attachments, such as the light (activated by contact with water) and the whistle to attract attention. Once these features have been demonstrated, the safety briefing is done. The emergency station leaders thank the guests for their cooperation, and wish the guests a safe and pleasant cruise. Instead of a half hour emergency muster drill, the one-on-one safety briefing takes five minutes. How easy is that?

Cruising is back! Not only is cruising back, but so is the emergency muster drill. It’s the part of every cruise which each and every guest knows about. All experienced cruisers know the “drill”. There is no need for first time cruisers to feel gun shy about it. Even though the process has been simplified for the better, guests still need to be educated on the importance of the new muster drill format. Even though the muster drill video has been viewed, the drill is not yet over. All guests are required to attend the one-on-one safety briefing. Once done, they can proceed about the ship and enjoy their cruise. Let it be known, that guests that fail to complete the one-on-one safety briefing WILL NOT be allowed to sail. It’s that simple. It doesn’t matter how often guests have sailed or what cruise lines they have sailed with. Every cruise line follows the same format. Attending the one-on-one safety briefing is every cruiser’s final requirement to sailing the high seas. There is no reason for not doing so. Having done so, the fun can begin without a hitch. Attending the one-on-one safety briefing is the deciding factor between a memorable journey and being sadly left behind.

About Author

David Kriso has been a travel writer since August 2011. He is a contributing writer for both of his hometown's newspapers, The Gazette, and The Observer. His articles focus on cruise and railroad travel. David is also published online at, a cruise magazine based in Vancouver, Canada and at Amtrak's story site, David also writes for the publication On, he writes about cruise and rail travel. David is a long-time train traveler, avid cruiser, and a Disney traveler since age 4.

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