I was looking online at cruise reviews for my ship coming up, and on one it stated that they didn't have to wear life vests for the muster drill. After researching further, it appears that as of September 1, RCI no longer requires you wear a life vest for the muster drill. I can't find this anywhere on RCI's website, so has anyone cruised recently that can confirm this?
2007 - Majesty of the Seas (Bahamas)
2009 - Enchantment of the Seas (Western Caribbean)
2010 - Freedom of the Seas (Western Caribbean)
2013 - Golden Princess (Alaska, roundtrip from Seattle)
Somehow this whole idea of doing the lifeboat muster without the lifejacket on leaves me with more than just a little feeling of discomfort. I am trying hard not to be paranoid about it but after many years of cruising .... It is the thought about a lack of preparedness that is more than a bit uncomfortable. Is this a good idea??? Is this creating a false sense of security??? I, for one, do not like this trend!!
But then too, the military training and background kicks in and says "This is a foolhardy idea!"
Perhaps it might be useful to look at it from a probability standpoint. The likelihood of having to run to your muster stations because the ship is sinking is infinitely small. A Titanic scenario is really not realistic these days. More likely is a fire aboard the ship which might require several hours to extinguish. In that scenario the passengers will be moved to a safe area and accounted for, and in most cases won't have to don their life jackets. The Coast Guard has to approve changes to the drill. I trust them to do the right thing.
In the event of a real emergency, returning to your cabin to retrieve you life jacket could eat up valuable time, may be very difficult for the more elderly passengers, and may actually not even be possible. I would be very comfortable with this change, so long as there are adequate jackets at the muster stations.
I think I mentioned it before, but when you give passengers the opportunity to return to their cabins how many do you think will try to bring their baggage with them? Probably more than a few. Just look at airplane crash landings where people have lingered in a burning airplane trying to get their carry-on out of the overhead bin. People often will do irrational things in a crisis situation.
so long as there are adequate jackets at the muster stations.
Ah!! The crux of the problem!! In the USAF when I wasn't flying I was the System Safety Officer, as long as My men were in a state of readiness and well trained and that state of training was maintained I was confident that we could and when needed did
overcome various crises as they occurred. I cannot vouch for the state of preparedness and readiness of civilian crews on the various cruiselines. This is a ship by ship basis!
Rescue of a person overboard is a far different scenario from a ship in major distress. Add in a panicky crew and the term "as long as" has little meaning!!
At sea the rule needs to be "Semper Paratus" (Always Prepared) - even the Boy Scouts understand this!!
I always seem to end up in the back or middle of my muster "group" during the drill. I get overheated, light headed and faint. Requiring me to wear the jacket makes this much worse, as you can guess. My objection is not the preparedness of having the jacket properly on and secure, it is in nothing starting on time, people trickling in like they have all the time in the world, while those who responded and headed to their appointed spot when the announcement was made stand there and swelter. Unfortunately courtesy and promptness need to be taught in kindergarden and expecting it of a diverse group of adults is just probably too much.
RCCL Nordic Empress 1993
RCCL Nordic Prince 1994
RCCL Explorer 2003, 2005
RCCL Navigator, 2004, 2007
RCCL Mariner 2006
RCCL Liberty 2008
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