For Celebrity Cruises and parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, the safety of our guests and crew has always been our highest priority. Our marine safety record over our corporation's 42-year operating history – and Celebrity Cruises’ 20-year history – illustrates our commitment to the safety of the millions of guests and crew who sail with us each year. The measures we take in the interest of safety are many, with our ships often exceeding what is required by regulatory authorities. It’s all part of our commitment to innovation and continuous improvement in every aspect of our business.
At the beginning of every cruise, shipboard crew members guide every one of our guests through a mandatory drill known as the "muster" drill (see FAQs below for more information), to ensure they are familiar with what to do and where to go in the unlikely event of an emergency. To further ensure they are aware of their specific muster location, we identify it on each guest’s card key. The location also is prominently noted on the back of every stateroom door.
In addition to the muster drill for our guests, our officers and crew conduct weekly, monthly and annual drills on every ship, and complete extensive training, certification and scenarios in preparation for the very unlikely event of an emergency, including training on ship evacuation procedures. All of our ships have sufficient lifesaving craft to accommodate every guest and crew member onboard, as well as additional capacity in reserve.
All of our ships are designed and operated in compliance with the strict requirements of the International Maritime Organisation, the UN agency that sets global standards for the safety and operation of cruise ships, codified in the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention. Safety-related regulations are rigorous – and we often go above and beyond what is required; for example, carrying backup mechanical, navigational and safety provisions.
In addition, our vessels – regardless of where they’re sailing in the world – comply with the U.S. Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) requirements, including railing heights, access control, closed circuit TV, medical preparedness, crime allegation reporting and crew training. Our own requirements generally exceed those specified within the CVSSA. We work closely with regulatory authorities to improve safety laws, and regularly participate in discussions and studies to inform legislators of current practices and offer our perspective on regulations and standards to assure safety.
Flag State authorities and other maritime safety regulatory bodies, such as the U.S. Coast Guard, from each country our ships visit also regularly inspect our ships. Their examinations focus on life-saving equipment and safety and environmental protection items. In addition to these inspections, our own ongoing system of internal as well as external (independent) marine expert audits also help us to remain vigilant, safely operate our ships and maintain effective systems.
For more information on this topic, please see the Safety FAQs below:
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.
What training does the crew go through for muster drills and emergency situations?
- 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.
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.