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Holland America Munster Drill

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I have problems standing for very long. On Zuiderdam in August, I was allowed to bring my Walkstool (lightweight folding seat) to the muster and sit at the back of a line, against the side of the ship. The drill took about 20 minutes, and i was most grateful not to have stood throughout.

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It may very well depend on which ship you are sailing.

The smaller ships have an area in the atrium, right near the muster stations, where the disabled can attend the drill while sitting comfortably.

The larger ships haven't had this amenity. Once on a larger ship I was allowed to sit on a bench at another station, while a different time I was just allowed to go. On another cruise a wheelchair & pusher was sent to fetch me, but I learned that if my life depended on that I would just get myself to the station whatever way I could. In more recent years I have had a rollator, so I had something to sit on.

The Koningsdam has inside muster stations, so the gentleman can sit.

I suggest that you take this up with the Front Desk after boarding, leaving sufficient time to work out a plan, and let you know what the plans are.

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32 minutes ago, Tennessee Titan said:

What is a "munster" drill??

Because of the time of year, I really though this was a Halloween 🎃 related thread. 

 

I was wrong. 

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4 minutes ago, POA1 said:

Because of the time of year, I really though this was a Halloween 🎃 related thread. 

 

I was wrong. 

 ROTFL

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1 hour ago, lovenorwegiancruiseline said:

I will be travelling with an elderly gentleman wo has mobility issues? During the munster drill, does HAL provide special accommodation for people with special needs?

No, they do not.  Get a doctor's excuse before leaving home.  When my DH was first diagnosed with cancer and going through chemo, the doctor approved our cruise but didn't want him in crowds.  He wrote a letter stating his reasons for the ship personnel having DH excused from the drill.  

 

When we boarded, we took the letter to the front desk, who called medical.  Medical released him from the drill; however, during the drill DH had to sit in the infirmary.  That was okay with us.  There was a problem, though, when I checked in with the staff at our station.  They insisted that DH had to be there.  I simply stated that they should call medical to confirm his presence in the infirmary.  They did, and that was the end of it.  

 

You did not indicate which ship you & your friend are sailing on.  As others have stated, K has its (and eventually NS will have) muster drills inside---our station was in the MDR.  On the other HA ships, the deck gets rather crowded, and sometimes passengers might accidently bump into someone else.  If your friend has any type of mobility/balance issue, it isn't the best situation.

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Last February going to the Oosterdam I sprained my ankle on the way to the ship for embarkation.  They did bring me in on a wheelchair and the steward brought me a bag of ice when I got to my  room.  I called the front desk immediately and told them I couldn't walk to the muster drill and they allowed me to remain in the cabin. The steward came to the cabin during the muster drill and at first was concerned that I would have a problem by not attending but he was relieved that I had already called and gotten permission to stay in the cabin.  I really appreciated their flexibility with this rule.  I would never skip the drill otherwise!

 

~Nancy

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4 hours ago, Tennessee Titan said:

What is a "munster" drill??

 

 

It is a drill you MUST attend so one will learn what to do in case of an emergency.

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3 hours ago, POA1 said:

Because of the time of year, I really though this was a Halloween 🎃 related thread. 

 

I was wrong. 

 

Maybe you got this mixed up with the thread asking if they have dancing on the Amsterdam - doin' the mash...

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4 hours ago, Himself said:

 

 

It is a drill you MUST attend so one will learn what to do in case of an emergency.

 

I don't think the munster drill is mandatory -- only for Herman, Lily and Grandpa.

 

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It is a mixed bag as to what and where and how things are handled for those of us with mobility issues.  I use a rollator and DH can no longer stand for long periods of time.

 

This new system where you have to go back to your cabin and wait for the final whistle to report to your life boat station (on most ships) is terrible.  We were late 2 out of the last 3 times as we could not get an elevator to get down to the drill until after it was already started.  So we talked to our concierge who arranged for us to sit with the nurse in the Attrium.

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If unsure where to go just ask your cabin Stewart. He has a direct line to the munster information.

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The think the joke went over some people's heads....

 

I was once reprimanded by a mod for pointing out to a poster that it wasn't a mustard drill. :classic_tongue:

 

Roz

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Oh, but the mustard drills are real. They're conducted at least once per cruise in the Lido Market..  :classic_blink:

Edited by KroozNut

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I prefer the ketchup drill.

 

Roz

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On 10/29/2018 at 12:10 AM, ithaca gal said:

 

I don't think the munster drill is mandatory -- only for Herman, Lily and Grandpa.

 

ROFL

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My only big complaint with Holland America is their muster drill protocol.  A muster drill is knowing what to do during a disaster, where to go, how to use your life jacket.  It is mandatory.   Now for the problem, they require everyone to be at their muster station at a certain time and then they make you stand there for like 30 minutes or more NO CHAIRS.  We are always on time and we always have to wait for the late people, it is crowded hot and uncomfortable.  The actual drill takes like 5 minutes.  On Princess they did it in the show room.  I don't understand this.  If you have a mobility issue come as late as possible.

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I have standing issues and on every HAL cruise we have taken, latest was Nov. 2016, there was always a special location for special needs passengers for the muster drill where we could sit. Crew showed how to use the safety jackets, etc. and you could hear the instructions over the PA system. When we sail on the Oosterdam in Feb. I was planning on contacting our concierge in the Neptune Lounge to find out where to go. If you think the special needs locations are no longer offered, I will contact the HAL special needs dept. before we cruise to find out what to do in Feb.

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Muster is mandatory they will not leave port until every person on board (except for those who are on board from a previous cruise and are continuing on current cruise) has been swiped with their cruise card at muster station.

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Ruth is correct in saying it depends on which ship you travel on.  I did not know about the indoor arrangements on the smaller ships, thank you Ruth.   However, I did have success on Nieuw Amsterdam.  I arrived fairly early and was walking badly along the deck with my stick when a fellow passenger pulled out one of the deckchairs - closed up by the staff for the muster.  I was not sure what to do - did not want to offend a kind fellow passenger, but knew they would have none of this, so I headed slowly toward the chair.  Before I could think of sitting down I was intercepted and the  boat leader got another staff member to take me to one of the lounges where there were one or two others.   It was a very long drill and by the end  the room was filling in with half collapsed passengers.

 

I have written to HAL about this.   I do not see why HAL is the only line I have been on who gets the passengers on deck.   In the event of an emergency in nearly all cases they would get you to a public area and not to the deck until they were absolutely sure.  If they consider it such an important safety feature are they putting at risk those passengers on Konigsdam, and presumably the Nieuw Statendam where they cannot get all the passengers on deck!!!   Makes you wonder at the thinking.

 

However, the thing that really got me writing to them (as well as the above) was when they decided the drill could not start until all passengers were present, and we have been on some very long drills because of that.   I pointed out that this was totally wrong, they should instead say the passengers who have not reported should be told to go immediately to front office where an officer would be waiting for them, and they could not penalise other passengers in this way.   I also said that depending on their own age how would they feel about their elderly parents or grandparents standing in heat in this way.   Needless to say I did not have a reply.

 

Krazy Kruisers I am afraid I ignore the going back to your cabin and get at least to the deck before we are told in a drill.   You are not supposed to use the lifts and there is no way I can walk up or downstairs in a crowd in a hurry.   I also do not understand how if someone comes for you (we always register for this after the drill) they can collect you in the wheelchair, as I was under the impression that in a real event not a drill they would have to carry you down the stairs.

 

On two cruises ago the weather was very very hot at Fort Lauderdale, not everyone turned up - surprise, surprise and we were kept for three quarters of an hour.   People were taken ill, someone at the next lifeboat they had to come with a stretcher.  

 

The muster drill totally ruins any joy of being onboard because I dread the whole event.   

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1 hour ago, Recruiter66 said:

Muster is mandatory they will not leave port until every person on board (except for those who are on board from a previous cruise and are continuing on current cruise) has been swiped with their cruise card at muster station.

Is this correct? I was under the impression that everyone had to attend the muster drill even those that sailed on the immediately preceding cruise.

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On our last cruise I heard they needed to check in afterwards but didn't have to go.  I'm almost 100% sure.  I guess it depends on the Captain.

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On Koningsdam since there is no promenade everyone was in public rooms so no standing in the hot sun.

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2 hours ago, blueboro said:

On Koningsdam since there is no promenade everyone was in public rooms so no standing in the hot sun.

Before everyone gets all out of shape - There IS a promenade on the Koningsdam. It is narrower, making a muster drill difficult.....

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On ‎10‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 6:05 PM, mcrcruiser said:

 ROTFL

Wondering which one of the comedians is bringing crackers to go with the munster?:classic_biggrin::classic_biggrin:

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42 minutes ago, Tennessee Titan said:

Before everyone gets all out of shape - There IS a promenade on the Koningsdam. It is narrower, making a muster drill difficult.....

 

Yes there is one...but on much of it two people cannot walk shoulder to shoulder so no way to do a muster on it.  And don't expect any loungers as on other HAL ships.

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30 minutes ago, blueboro said:

 

Yes there is one...but on much of it two people cannot walk shoulder to shoulder so no way to do a muster on it.  And don't expect any loungers as on other HAL ships.

IMHO: an exaggeration (unless you both weigh 400#) I have 54 days on the Koningsdam. How many do you have???

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15 minutes ago, Tennessee Titan said:

IMHO: an exaggeration (unless you both weigh 400#) I have 54 days on the Koningsdam. How many do you have???

 Don't get your panties in a wad fellow Titan fan.  I have 12 days.  In the mid section the deck is wider but from aft 1/3 and forward 1/3 this is how it narrows.  Judge for yourself.

 

Image result for photo of promenade on koningsdam

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After responding to this thread, I contacted the HAL special needs dept. by email today and mentioned that on all our HAL cruises (on a number of different HAL ships), special needs passengers were allowed to check in at the muster station and then go to a lounge area to sit that was near the muster station. There are usually 30-40 people sitting in the special needs section. I explained I have a standing issue and there is no way I can stand for muster drills. I received a response right away and said there are no special needs areas for muster drills and I have to go to the muster station. Huh? How can he explain what we have experienced on all of our other HAL cruises on various HAL ships? I haven't responded back to him yet.

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11 minutes ago, Djptcp said:

 How can he explain what we have experienced on all of our other HAL cruises on various HAL ships? I haven't responded back to him yet.

Perhaps individual ship's captains are exercising common sense and ignoring the bureaucratic BS from company headquarters.

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4 hours ago, mancunian1 said:

Ruth is correct in saying it depends on which ship you travel on.  I did not know about the indoor arrangements on the smaller ships, thank you Ruth.   However, I did have success on Nieuw Amsterdam.  I arrived fairly early and was walking badly along the deck with my stick when a fellow passenger pulled out one of the deckchairs - closed up by the staff for the muster.  I was not sure what to do - did not want to offend a kind fellow passenger, but knew they would have none of this, so I headed slowly toward the chair.  Before I could think of sitting down I was intercepted and the  boat leader got another staff member to take me to one of the lounges where there were one or two others.   It was a very long drill and by the end  the room was filling in with half collapsed passengers.

 

I have written to HAL about this.   I do not see why HAL is the only line I have been on who gets the passengers on deck.   In the event of an emergency in nearly all cases they would get you to a public area and not to the deck until they were absolutely sure.  If they consider it such an important safety feature are they putting at risk those passengers on Konigsdam, and presumably the Nieuw Statendam where they cannot get all the passengers on deck!!!   Makes you wonder at the thinking.

 

However, the thing that really got me writing to them (as well as the above) was when they decided the drill could not start until all passengers were present, and we have been on some very long drills because of that.   I pointed out that this was totally wrong, they should instead say the passengers who have not reported should be told to go immediately to front office where an officer would be waiting for them, and they could not penalise other passengers in this way.   I also said that depending on their own age how would they feel about their elderly parents or grandparents standing in heat in this way.   Needless to say I did not have a reply.

 

Krazy Kruisers I am afraid I ignore the going back to your cabin and get at least to the deck before we are told in a drill.   You are not supposed to use the lifts and there is no way I can walk up or downstairs in a crowd in a hurry.   I also do not understand how if someone comes for you (we always register for this after the drill) they can collect you in the wheelchair, as I was under the impression that in a real event not a drill they would have to carry you down the stairs.

 

On two cruises ago the weather was very very hot at Fort Lauderdale, not everyone turned up - surprise, surprise and we were kept for three quarters of an hour.   People were taken ill, someone at the next lifeboat they had to come with a stretcher.  

 

The muster drill totally ruins any joy of being onboard because I dread the whole event.   

Several points to disagree with.  First and foremost, HAL is not the only line to hold drills outdoors.  Nearly all older ships do, NCL, RCI to name a couple.

 

Second, you are totally incorrect about "in a real emergency in nearly all cases they would get you to a public area".  In any emergency, HAL has a three tier system, and if you are bypassing their instructions to go back to your cabin at the (I think) second level, then you are merely aggravating an emergency situation because the crew will be directing you to go back to your cabin, and taking the time to ensure you do so, thereby taking them away from their assigned duties.  When the third level is sounded, you will go to your muster station, whether it is indoors or outdoors, the same as the drill on the first day, not to any "public space".

 

SOLAS requires the muster station to be as close as possible to the boats, provided the space meets the requirements for a muster station, so by law (not cruise line decision), if the promenade deck is large enough for a muster of passengers, then it must be used for the muster station.  It is only when ships are designed so that there is insufficient space on deck to hold a muster and still have a passage along the deck to get past the muster, then SOLAS allows indoor muster stations.  However, these must be designed for use as a muster station, complying with requirements for volume, square footage, lighting, power, ventilation, ease of getting to the boats, and number and size of ingress/egress points.  They will not put you in some random public space unless your muster station is unavailable due to being involved in the emergency.

 

Now, once you have registered for special needs, in an actual emergency crew will be dispatched to your cabin (another reason to follow the rules and go back to your cabin, 'cause otherwise they can't find you), and they will be able to get you up or down to the muster station using an elevator.  The elevators are turned to "fireman mode" just like in a high rise building, where only those with a key can use them.  The special needs crew, or the crew assigned to clear the deck will have a key.  The only elevators that don't work at all in an emergency are those elevators that are within a fire zone where there is an active fire alarm.  These will move to midway up the shaft and stop, acting as a fire break.  But, the special needs teams will know which elevators are out, and go to another.

 

Any time you "go your own way" against the policies of the cruise line, you are placing yourself and others at greater risk, as there will be additional assets assigned to find you (not all crew have radios to report where you are), and even diverting fire teams to look for you in the fire zone rather than their primary mission of fighting the fire.

 

By saying that the drill should bypass latecomers would be the same as saying that it is alright in an emergency to forget about someone who is late, and not worry where they are.  Remember, this drill is the only time the crew get to train with large groups of difficult and possibly unruly passengers, so it needs to be as realistic as possible.  And speaking of realism, in an actual emergency, you could be standing at that muster station for hours.

 

And you know what?  Muster is not supposed to be entertaining or even enjoyable, it is designed to show you what to do in a situation where your life is in danger.

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5 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

Several points to disagree with.  First and foremost, HAL is not the only line to hold drills outdoors.  Nearly all older ships do, NCL, RCI to name a couple.

 

Second, you are totally incorrect about "in a real emergency in nearly all cases they would get you to a public area".  In any emergency, HAL has a three tier system, and if you are bypassing their instructions to go back to your cabin at the (I think) second level, then you are merely aggravating an emergency situation because the crew will be directing you to go back to your cabin, and taking the time to ensure you do so, thereby taking them away from their assigned duties.  When the third level is sounded, you will go to your muster station, whether it is indoors or outdoors, the same as the drill on the first day, not to any "public space".

 

SOLAS requires the muster station to be as close as possible to the boats, provided the space meets the requirements for a muster station, so by law (not cruise line decision), if the promenade deck is large enough for a muster of passengers, then it must be used for the muster station.  It is only when ships are designed so that there is insufficient space on deck to hold a muster and still have a passage along the deck to get past the muster, then SOLAS allows indoor muster stations.  However, these must be designed for use as a muster station, complying with requirements for volume, square footage, lighting, power, ventilation, ease of getting to the boats, and number and size of ingress/egress points.  They will not put you in some random public space unless your muster station is unavailable due to being involved in the emergency.

 

Now, once you have registered for special needs, in an actual emergency crew will be dispatched to your cabin (another reason to follow the rules and go back to your cabin, 'cause otherwise they can't find you), and they will be able to get you up or down to the muster station using an elevator.  The elevators are turned to "fireman mode" just like in a high rise building, where only those with a key can use them.  The special needs crew, or the crew assigned to clear the deck will have a key.  The only elevators that don't work at all in an emergency are those elevators that are within a fire zone where there is an active fire alarm.  These will move to midway up the shaft and stop, acting as a fire break.  But, the special needs teams will know which elevators are out, and go to another.

 

Any time you "go your own way" against the policies of the cruise line, you are placing yourself and others at greater risk, as there will be additional assets assigned to find you (not all crew have radios to report where you are), and even diverting fire teams to look for you in the fire zone rather than their primary mission of fighting the fire.

 

By saying that the drill should bypass latecomers would be the same as saying that it is alright in an emergency to forget about someone who is late, and not worry where they are.  Remember, this drill is the only time the crew get to train with large groups of difficult and possibly unruly passengers, so it needs to be as realistic as possible.  And speaking of realism, in an actual emergency, you could be standing at that muster station for hours.

 

And you know what?  Muster is not supposed to be entertaining or even enjoyable, it is designed to show you what to do in a situation where your life is in danger.

 

Hmmmmm, wonder where mancunian1 is.. 😉

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One of the pieces of emergency equipment HAL crews, more specifically, the Emergency Response Support Team (ERST, formerly known as the Rescue Squad), the Security team and the Housekeeping team, regularly train on are the ship's emergency transport devices. Each dam ship has them; motorized “stair climbers” or “ascenders” and manually operated descenders. They are used in cases of total power failure of the ship, in other words when none of the elevators are working. The objective in using these emergency transport devices is to safely get mobility impaired guests to their lifeboat stations on "boat deck". Both types of devices work on a "tracked" system (like a miniature caterpillar) with the ascenders having their own electric motor in order to "go up" stairs, and the descenders being operated by hand by manipulating the hand brake in order to "go down" stairs.

 

Image may contain: 1 person

 

Electric “stair climber” or “ascender” without a wheelchair attached

 

Image may contain: 3 people, shoes

 

Electric “stair climber” or “ascender” with attached wheelchair

 

Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting and indoor

 

Manually operated Descender

 

Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting, shoes and indoor

 

Manually operated Descender

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chengkp75 asks where I am.  Not sure of the relevance here, but England.

 

I did not say all cruiseships I said the ones I had sailed on which includes Celebrity, Oceania, P&O England, Swan Hellenic, Seabourn, Silversea, Orient Lines, Saga and others.  If there is indeed such a solas rule it would seem many lines are ignoring it wouldn't it.

 

I am glad of Coppers input here because you are always told not to use elevators in the event of an emergency and I do not consider I am doing anything wrong in getting to correct deck in a drill before  the full siren.    We do not register at front office until after the drill.  Obviously if registered I would remain in the cabin.   I guess chengkp you are not disabled and are unable to understand the pain and difficulties it causes and the necessity for forward planning.

 

I am also confused as to why you think in an real emergency you would be left at the muster station for hours.  I am pretty sure this is not the case and it would be better for the captain and crew to know that you were accounted for in the public rooms assigned.   In a real emergency not all boats will be able to be lowered and leading people to them is a much better option.  For this reason on a couple of ships we have not been given an actual lifeboat.

 

I also cannot agree that you should keep elderly and or disabled people waiting for those who cannot be bothered to attend.  I think my suggested solution would be much better and the officer meeting such people at the desk could have a much stronger impact on them.  I do think too that the longer you leave people in heat by the time you get to the actual drill instructions many people are beyond really listening.

 

However, each to their own views

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