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Paul Motter May 16th, 2012 08:11 AM

Kicked Off for missing drill on Back2Back cruise?
An Industry newsletter I receive just reported the following - that an 84-year-old lady and her 90-year-old husband were escorted off the Seabourn Sojourn this week after she refused to attend the muster drill.

The couple were on the second leg of a three-leg trip. In other words they had just taken a full cruise - and had attended the first safety drill - and on the second cruise (immediately after the first, they stayed onboard) the husband attended the drill, but the wife said she did not feel well.

Seabourn officials repeatedly tried to get her to attend in person, via phone
calls and announcements, but she refused, saying she had done it before.

---- end of story. They were put off the ship, not getting their second or third cruises. Whether or not they compensation has not been reported, but for the record, the cruise line would not owe them anything since they broke the cruise "technically".

I can tell you thihs, however. I have ducked a snall percentage of lifeboar drills in my lifetime, but I have also attended hundreds of then and they are all substantially similar - and this couple had already been to one.

Topping it off, the woman was not feeling well.

I have to say I sailed on the same ship last year and lot of people who read my stuff realized I was just not that impressed. This is supposed to be the cruise line that will go out of its way to do anything for you. Sounds like management has gotten a little power-crazy, and forgotten who pays their salaries. And add a good dose of ineptness when it comes to customer service.

In all honesty, that was pretty similar to what I suspected when I cruised on the same ship.

Mike M May 16th, 2012 10:54 AM

There are a lot of rules, laws and regulations we don't like and seem silly and many are. Even though we still have to obey and comply. It's part of the shipboard and maritime regulations. If you don't like the rule you lobby to change it.

There is a stop sign at the end of my road. I can clearly see if another vehicle is coming from both ways long before I get to that stop sign. Does that mean I don't have to stop? No and if I don't stop I get a ticket. Same goes for the muster drill. It seems silly and redundant but it's the regulation and after the PR nightmare that Carnival Corporation took because some people hadn't attended a muster drill they will enforce it even harder. The PR of someone dying is far worse than putting an old couple off the ship.

Just take the 30 minutes out of your life and go to the muster drill.

Take care,

johnthed0g May 16th, 2012 12:43 PM

How would they know if you weren't there?

anniegb May 16th, 2012 12:57 PM


Originally Posted by johnthed0g (Post 1428710)
How would they know if you weren't there?

They do a roll call or cabin check off as you arrive for the muster drill.

I agree with Mike - go to the Muster Drill.

I have advocated in the past that passnegers who do not do muster drills - I would have them disembarked.

Surely they could have telephoned in advance and a member of staff could have assisted?


Fieldmouse May 16th, 2012 01:29 PM

Sorry I agree. We're all familiar with the bad press about ship's staff, crew and passengers not being prepared for maritime emergencies. Passengers complain AFTER a tragedy that the crew didn't have a muster drill, it was sloppy or held late. BUT then complain or don't want to cooperate if they HAVE to go to one. Seems few take it seriously until something happens...then its' blame the Cruise line because they should have forced us to participate.

My husband works for the Railroad and they have sooooo many rules and regulations. In fact, every morning before they start work they are required to go over some of the same rules and regulations again and AGAIN. Once when one of the workers complained, noting that, "we know these rules already!!!" The 'white hat' (boss) conducting the morning class said, "For every rule, someone had to died or was badly injured. Think about that!"

In an emergency, people die because they either panic, or become dumbstruck and don't do anything, or they do the wrong thing, all of which can cost them their lives. Really, we should just do the muster drill and hope we never never have to actually do it for real.

Dave Beers May 16th, 2012 07:25 PM

If they were in the same cabin with the same muster station as they had on the first leg of the cruise, I can see where it is silly to have them go through it again. How hard is it to be able to flag the muster station roster to identify the B2B passengers? I'm sure someone will say 'how hard is it to just show up again?' How far do the lines want to carry this? If a ship is doing a 100 day world cruise with 20 different segments, does this mean those aboard for the full 100 days need to attend 20 muster drills?

I attend the drills and when I do my B2B on the Liberty Of The Seas this coming December, I will go to both drills if required because I don't want to tick off the Head Mountie and get booted.

If the cruise lines are truly serious about it, they'd not sell any alcohol until after embarkation and the drill were complete. Just a couple of drinks would make some people not remember much. But they won't go that far because in the end it hits the bottom line. For that matter, I'd wager most passengers even if sober don't pay much attention.

Snoozeman May 17th, 2012 12:28 AM

I would have 'cut her some slack'. She went to the first one and her husband attended the second. They could have looked at the particular circumstance.

Paul Motter May 17th, 2012 02:55 AM

I understand the need to attend a muster drill - but the punishment far outweighed the "crime". This was an 84 y.o. woman who was feeling ill - they were in the same cabin (had not disembarked) on the first day of the second cruise in the same stateroom for a three segment booking.

She went to the first drill - nothing had changed. She already knew her muster station and where her life jacket was located. In fact, they were veteran cruisers and had been loyal Seabourn cruisers for 20 years.

The husband who was at the drill had no idea they were going to kick them off (and he was AT the drill). He was at the drill and an officer asked where his wife was. He said "she is sick" and someone told him "That's OK, I will go check on her."

30 minutes later he returned to the cabin and found then packing both of their clothes - that was the first he heard about both of them being kicked off - and he did nothing wrong. The decision was already made without the husband being notified and he had no recourse.

They were put off the ship and so were not offered a refund for what amounts to almost a $30,000 booking. I am hoping the cruise will reconsider that. The line can make its point without keeping the money these people paid.

I will leave to your imagination on how I know all of this. These people were made examples of a "no tolerance" policy in a case where I think a little tolerance would have resulted in "no harm no foul."

How would YOU feel if it happened to you. I know that I have been to 100s of lifeboat drills, and I honestly feel that I don't personally need every one of them because I know where the life jackets are kept and how to look on the back of my door to find my muster station. I also know that on a ship like Sojourn in any real emergency there will be almost as many crew members to assist me as there are passengers. All I need to do is walk out my door (in a real drill ) and some will tell which way to go within 10 seconds.

If I skipped a drill and something bad happened to me as a result (which statistically has a 1 in [infinity] chance of happening, do you think I would sue the cruise line?

But the cruise line kicked them off the ship.

As I said, I understand the need for first-time cruisers on a mainstream line to go to the drill, but these people had a much different level of experience.

And by the way - there are no laws that say you have to attend the drill. It is a corporate policy. The decision to kick them off was made by the cruise line - and they didn't get much of a hearing. All I am saying is I think it was an over-reaction to something people used to do on every cruise. There is also something called public relations - and if you are going to make an example out of some of your best customers you had better think about how that is going to affect the thoughts of the rest of your clientele.

Just my 2 cents - and don't think I don't see the other side of the argument, I fully do. I just would have handled it differently.

Donna May 17th, 2012 09:30 AM

While I agree, she should of just gone to the drill, but to be taken off the ship, seemd a bit harsh??

Surfguyxxx1 May 17th, 2012 11:24 AM

Ditto with Donna

Lakers Fan May 17th, 2012 11:36 AM

On my most recent cruise the muster drill was in the theater . A guy seated next to me stated that on his prior cruise he felt ill and could not line up on the deck .He spoke to a ships officer who allowed him to miss the drill .

Fieldmouse May 17th, 2012 01:26 PM


If I skipped a drill and something bad happened to me as a result (which statistically has a 1 in [infinity] chance of happening, do you think I would sue the cruise line? .
Well...perhaps you wouldn't. But it happens everyday (just watch/read the news) people want/expect others to take responsibility for THEIR poor choices when things turn out disastrously. (YOU should've forced me, made me, held my hand, ad nauseam.)

Yes, Cruise-lines are big business and they're run by cooperations. They make rules and regulations for the overall good of the Company. How could they stay in business if they tried to cater to the whims and unique individual need of every cruise passenger?

When should safety rules be flexible and who should make that judgement call? The crew? (who are busy getting people to their muster stations) The Staff?(Some who are on deck helping organize the passengers) The Captain? (Who should be on the bridge) Will they have to hire someone to walk cabin to cabin with a list of exceptions to see who qualifies and who doesn't. And of course once this starts, there will be passengers who insist that they are being discriminated against and their special needs should be on that list. And they might well sue!

Who should have go to muster and who should be the exception? I may not be 94yrs...but I have a 'headache', 'hangover', 'I'm super tired', 'my kids are really really cranky', 'I use a cane', 'wheelchair'.........If you start making 'exceptions' when does it stop? A Cruise-line can't make popular decisions for hundreds of thousands of passengers in every situation! It isn't impossible. They have to look at the 'overall' picture...and try to make the best decisions FOR everyones welfare.

Perhaps the situation could have been handled differently. But we were not there and don't know all the circumstances. I'm sure that those who were sailing on the Costa Concordia felt very confident and that nothing could/would happen. After all, they were sailing along the can see land and buildings...what can happen???

Snoozeman May 17th, 2012 01:31 PM

I'm reminded of the ill mannered elderly couple that was banned from Cunard. Perhaps the crew could not stand to spend another two weeks with this lady.:cool:

Mike M May 17th, 2012 02:37 PM


Originally Posted by Snoozeman (Post 1428839)
I'm reminded of the ill mannered elderly couple that was banned from Cunard. Perhaps the crew could not stand to spend another two weeks with this lady.:cool:


You may be on to something. :D

I have seen a cavalier attitude from long time cruisers about skipping the muster drill. They've done it so many times that it's boring and redundant and it is. The one thing that the Concordia disaster showed was that there is a good chance that there won't be someone outside your cabin telling you where to go or that the information they have is accurate. You are on your own and you better be as prepared as possible. Even if it's just knowing the shortest route to the muster station and lifeboat.

I'm a type A person but I'll still take the time to go to the drill.

Take care,

Paul Motter May 17th, 2012 03:58 PM

Okay ---

Just so you know I talked to the travel agent for this couple, he is a very nice guy, completely professional, and he has been working with this couple and with Seabourn for "20 years".

I am not going to quote him, or even characterize what he said except to say he is more shocked than mad. He needs to continue to work with Seabourn, but he certainly didn't say anything bad about the clients, either.

He told me what the husband told him, and he told me what the cruise line told him.

Having reviewed all of that - it is MY personal opinion that the cruise line over-reacted. And here is my main point...

We keep saying "Concordia this" and "Concordia that..." - but in a year will we still be referring to Corcordia as the "standard" for everything that should be done on a cruise?

Concordia showed us there is still some fallibility in the training an selection of captains, and that we needed an uphgrade in the lifeboat drill procedure from 24-hours to same day.

Why did they change that? To make sure everyone got a lifeboat drill, right?

Well - this lady HAD a drill already, for the same stateroom, just two weeks earlier. If this had been a three week cruise she would have qualified as "fully prepared." This was to be her second drill - and she was ill.

She had a pacemaker that had been installed less than a month before.

So, people say "well, maybe she shouldn't have been on the cruise" or "she should have insurance".

I don't know if they had insurance, but it is a moot point now anyway. I am sure that when they paid the $30,000 for the three cruises that they didn't know she was going to need a pacemaker, and I am pretty sure they probably thought long & hard about canceling the cruise, but decided to go anyway, realizing she may have some rough times.

And that is my point about making examples.

Does anyone else get the feeling that this over-reaction as a result of the Concordia incident should NOT be taken out on the customers? Did these people cause Concordia? Were they the reason 700 people on Concordia did not get a lifeboat drill? No.

The cruise lines have changed their policies to "no tolerance" when it comes to life-boat drills. Fair enough, but, this is Seabourn where YES, they DO specialize in personalized service and knowing about individual special circumstances. That is their calling card.

Don't take Concordia out on a couple like this - I just don't agree with that. If this were a more mass-market cruise line, if this was a first-cruise (not a back to back) I would back the cruise line's decision. But in this case I do not.

As for the travel agent - he was nice enough to say "I'm not mad, but if this rs really how strict the new policy is going to be, then the word really needs to get out."

So - the word is getting out, but I don't have much admiration for the case they selected to get it out.

Paul Motter May 17th, 2012 04:19 PM

I also don't agree with characterizing this couple as "cavalier" - we don't know that.

There are legitimate reasons for missing a life boat drill - and illness is one of them. Many drills are held before the ship sails away. What if you discovered you had left your medication in the taxi and you had to make an emergency dash to the pharmacy at the last minute. It does happen.

What if you had food poisoning and really couldn't leave your stateroom? (because you had to stay close to a toilet).

Then would you have to leave the ship because of zero tolerance? Did the new CLIA guidelines outrule "make-up" drills? (I don't think so).

No - the prevailing opinion seems to be "you should go to the drill or expect to be kicked off the ship."

No exceptions? No second chances? No "personal service?" -- remember, as I said, this is not a "law," it is a cruise line policy. The cruise line has the full discretion to make an exception.

Now, I don't know where we stand now. Some of you may think I am picking on Seabourn. That is not true. Nothing would make me happier than hearing Seabourn has resolved this matter amicably. And if they do then they deserve full credit for handling it properly.

Trip May 17th, 2012 04:19 PM

I think the cruise industry is making it loud,and clear, that on this particular integral part of the cruise, the lines will not go easy, as we have seen by the few disembarkations of offending passengers. If this couple was in their 20/30's, I'm not so sure it would be getting this attention.

For this particular subject they were made an example of, and,paid the price.

Fieldmouse May 17th, 2012 05:26 PM

We keep saying "Concordia this" and "Concordia that..." - but in a year will we still be referring to Corcordia as the "standard" for everything that should be done on a cruise?/QUOTE]

YES! And it's about time. USA today featured an article about how Cruise Ship Companies are getting stricter about the Muster Drill after the Costa Concordia fiasco. Hey, thats a good thing.

On April 21...there was a fire on the RCCL Allure of the Seas... Everything turned out ok...but it was still a fire..and there was some areas of the ship that were evacuated.

On April 15th the cruise ferry Stena Saga suffered an engine room explosion...there were no evacuations because the crew were able to bring the fire under control, BUT there were 1,392 passengers and a crew of 180 on board. Not a little tug boat! (stuff happens)

On March 30th aboard the Azamara Quest a fire broke out...all 716 passengers had to be called to their muster stations.

On March 19th The Silver Shadow collided with a container ship...Passengers had to head to their muster stations. And to quote one passenger, "The crew was calm, but the passengers - some were scared, or even frantic." (It's the 'deer in the headlights'...when you're frantic or in a panic...everything you learned that ONE time goes out the window. You can never be too prepared)

The above were just a few of the incidents in March, April and May of this year! It's our life...we should take responsibility for it...and not depend on someone else to carry us, drag us, or wheel us to safety. IF we need help in a desperate situation and someone is there...thank God...but to have to depend on the help of strangers and perhaps put them in a dangerous or sticky situation because we were just too lazy or too apathetic to get with the program is a shame.

Paul Motter May 17th, 2012 06:45 PM

Once again - don't take this incident out of context.

No one is disputing the right of a cruise line to have zero tolerance and demand that people know their lifeboat instructions so they are prepared in case of an emergency. That is agreed upon.

But this women already KNEW her muster station. She was in the same cabin the previous cruise and had attended the previous drill - nothing had changed.

That is an entirely different set of circumstances.

Are we addressing the practical or the philosophical argument here, because I think they are choosing the wrong couple to use as their example.

Even if I agree that she still should be required to repeat the drill, I do not agree with the consequences for her and her husband just because she missed the repeat performance. I think it is over-reaching and I would say the same if the couple was 30 years old.

Make the punishment fit the crime. I just don't see how Seabourn can think this is the right message to send to their guests. The passengers didn't fail on Concordia - the captain did, and arguable the old 24-hour policy of the cruise industry - but not the passengers.

Dave Beers May 17th, 2012 07:01 PM

I think Paul makes a valid point when he said if this was a 3-week cruise with no new passengers being loaded at the ports-of-call then the woman would have been "fully prepared". Yet merely because it was broken down into 3 segments the woman suddenly is deemed 'not fully prepared'? Why?

Let's ask another question then, if this is the way it is to be. Should cruises over a certain length require all passengers to be 're-educated' by having to attend drills again? The crew has to do periodic drills, so should the cruise lines require passengers to attend another drill every 7 days, or 10 days, etc., regardless of whether new passengers embarked? Doing a 21-night cruise? You get 3 drills. Miss one and you get the boot at the next port. That is essentially what Seabourn did here.

Trip May 17th, 2012 07:13 PM

Paul, your saying, "I just don't see how Seabourn can think this is the right message to send to their guests." Does that mean if it was someone in their 20's on Carnival, RCI or NCl, it would be a different matter?

Lines are sending the same message to all guests, regardless of age. Obviously, Seabourn wants all guests on all legs of the itineray, to do the muster. If they didn't, they would leave a message in any passenger's cabins, stating such.

Paul Motter May 17th, 2012 07:19 PM

Dave - you totally just hit the nail on the head...

If you go to the Seabourn web site you can see they sell multiple consecutive itineraries as one cruise... including the cruise this couple was going to sail upon next ... (you can't look up cruises that have already started)

Using this page as an example - Seabourn gives passengers who want consecutive cruises the option to buy them as a single cruise of longer duration - beginning on the same sail date.

Although it has been reported she was on three "back to back " cruises, in fact Seabourn will sell that same package as a single cruise. Here is an example:

Cruises to Arabia, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and the world on Seabourn, one of the best cruise lines

Paul Motter May 17th, 2012 07:21 PM


Originally Posted by Trip (Post 1428878)
Paul, your saying, "I just don't see how Seabourn can think this is the right message to send to their guests." Does that mean if it was someone in their 20's on Carnival, RCI or NCl, it would be a different matter?

Yes an no - if it was the same situation of being three back to back cruises and the person reported in as ill then I would still think the cruise line was wrong to put them off the ship. But I do think the age and the fact that it is a luxury cruise line makes a difference. As Seabourn they should be more understanding and amenible.

The fact that they are acting like any other cruise line in many ways conveys what I feel is the problem. There is a difference between a mainstream cruise line and luxury cruise line. The line has the discretion - these are not laws.

OldFartCruiser May 17th, 2012 11:54 PM

good Seabourn is not an airline
I agree w/Paul. Not saying it is all right to miss a drill, just that a B2B should have exceptions. I have done many B2Bs and never thought of missing the drill on the back end, but always thought it was not needed.

Its good Seabourn is not an airline. Eventhough everyone is in place for the lifejacket demo, 90% of the pax are sleeping, reading, talking, listening to their MP3 or in general not paying attention. It's the same as not being there; Seabourn would remove them from the plane.

O F C'er

Dhill May 18th, 2012 07:44 AM

Paul in your earlier statement you stated that she was a veterian cruiser and had been cruising for 20 years. What diffrence does that make? If this would of been her first cruise then she should of went? Rules are rules no matter how many cruises you have been on.I have read more then once on this board people stateing that they have been to so many muster drills that it a waste of time.Not for the cruise line when they have a legal obligation for everyone to show up.;)

Paul Motter May 18th, 2012 08:23 AM

Travel Weekly just put a story where they quote Seabourn as saying they normally arrange make-up sessions for people who are sick.

It sounds like the woman really just refused to go - and they refused to back down. I do believe she was ill and that back to back makea a difference, however.

The main thing, though, is that I don't think the punishment fits the crime. This was about a $30,000 booking they lost. That is a lot of money for any business just to say "too bad - goodbye". It makes the cruise look a little thuggish in my mind, a little underhanded.

Don't want me as a customer, sure, kick me off 3500 miles from home with all my luggage. But to take my money, too? That's a bit rash and one-sided.

That's how I see it.

Fieldmouse May 18th, 2012 12:07 PM

Being put off the ship didn't just happen, it wasn't a complete surprise. We can be sure the Staff most likely talked and tried to reason with the couple, then finally told them if they didn't comply that they would have to be put off the ship. Because the consequences of non-compliance was so serious, likely the final decision was made with the Captains knowledge. Evidently the money wasn't an issue to for this couple or they would have complied! (like...who wants to lose $30,000? Give me a pillow, stick me in a wheelchair, and push!!!)

Just because a person is elderly doesn't mean that they are 'sweet' 'lovable' Andy Griffin types. Elderly passengers can be just as fierce in a buffet line as a 30yr old and wipe you out in the race for the ship's last deck chair. They can be cranky and difficult to deal with. There are older passengers who take advantage of the fact that because of their age and apparent frailness they are given 'great' latitude by staff & crew on board ship. Some get away with 'mouthing' off, rudeness, demands, etc. that would not be tolerated in someone younger. (we tend to say, "oh, they're old they don't mean it" or "they really don't know what they're doing"...Excuse me, sometimes really THEY DO!)

We cannot be sure what really went on in the cabin when the couple was ask to leave the ship, but we do know they made an INFORMED choice. We make choices everyday and there are always consequences...sometimes they're good and sometimes bad. For some the consequences can cost $30,000.

Paul Motter May 18th, 2012 12:12 PM


So you are using the "yeah, she was raped, but the way she was dressed she was asking for it" defense?

In fact, the husband had no idea he was about to leave - until he came back into the room and saw staffmembers putting his personal belongings into suitcases.

Trip May 18th, 2012 02:37 PM

The cruise line made several announcements before the drill � saying in no uncertain terms that it was mandatory for every passenger to attend, and that those who did not would be put off the ship. Reports indicate there were a few stragglers, but that eventually everyone showed up - except our one lady who claimed illness. This made the drill run overtime, and when the husband finally returned to his stateroom he was shocked to see officers already packing their belongings in order to put them off the ship.

So, unless the woman nodded off as her head hit the pillow, she heard the announcements.

I was told that the woman was contacted in her room during the drill and that when they warned her she must attend or be put off the ship she replied "I don't want to go," and "My husband is there." According to Steve, she had just a pacemaker installed in her chest before the cruise and the husband told him she specifically said was not feeling well.

So now, she was contacted in her cabin, and, was mandated to join the muster, and she just didn't want to go.

We have the information that the passengers told the agent, and, we know what the line did, but not what they were told by the couple, and, when. I think my history here shows I am a sympathetic person when responding to some of the situations posters have posed, but, I am not in this situation.

I'm not sure yet, but, something is sticking in my craw about this story, that's not kosher. She is out the money, let's hope her agent told her to buy insurance, but, would that be covered? "Leaving the ship, because I didn't do the mandatory muster?"....hmmm

I do feel the removal,could have been handled better though.

anniegb May 18th, 2012 02:56 PM

As the saying goes there are 2 sides to a story and then there is the truth.

If the lady was genuinely feeling unwell and the officers telephoned her to ask her to attend - why did she not say ' I am feeling unwell'?

On my last 2 cruises my mandatory drill has been conducted in the theatre. It is not onerous. On my 1st Azamara cruise - we all wore our life vests - BTW my 1st cruise was Dec 2009.

Out of curiosity how long was each leg of the trip?

Would we be making this amount of fuss if it was a spring breaker who did not attend? The fact that it is a B2B is irrelevant IMHO.

I am with Trip on this one - something does not add up.


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