We've all grudgingly attended the mandatory safety drills prior to setting sail for a cruise. Each ship has it's own style of executing this unpopular task and as we obediently form ourselves into slow moving streams of orange clad zombies we are prepared to devote as much attention to lifejacket features as we do to seatbelt demos on airplanes. But have you ever wondered what would happen in a genuine emergency at sea?
I'm aboard the lovely Crown Princess for a long, relaxing transatlantic voyage to the Mediterranean. So after returning the lifejackets to our cabins, and along with them all thoughts of safety procedures, we resumed our more exciting embarkation day activities like attending the sail-away party, meeting our dinner companions and checking out the night's entertainment.
General announcements are rare in the evenings so to hear a request for the Captain, Staff Captain and Safety Officer to meet on the bridge was enough to set off a wave of speculations from the guests as to why. We were listening to the somewhat humorous assumptions being offered by those in our lounge when the 2nd announcement came. It was Captain Nash and he advised us there was a possible sighting of a person in the water and that we would be turning around to search the area.
He ordered all staff to proceed to their emergency muster stations and all guests to their cabins. You should have seen the staff move to lock down the ship. It was lightning fast! The same smiling faces that had directed me through the lifeboat drill a mere few hours before were once again in place with lifejackets on by the time I got to my cabin.
Throughout the next hour the Captain continued his announcements ordering the emergency boat team to their station, issuing various orders to the staff leaders and explaining to everyone what was happening and why. We had returned to the location of the possible sighting where it seemed a lot of noisy engines were shut down so we could silently drift with the current. The powerful starboard spotlights were illuminated and it was asked of those with balconies on that side to keep a lookout as well.
The declaration that all souls were aboard and accounted for came at only 1 hour and 12 minutes into the muster; no easy task given the 4000 or so heads to count. The Coast Guard was now on site and we were allowed to resume our voyage.
The next day the ship was abuzz with commentary, all of it good from what I heard. The unanimous opinion was that the Captain directed the muster capably, calmly and quickly.
I totally agree and have nothing but compliments for Captain Nash for being so forthcoming with detailed information throughout the muster. I�ve noticed that in emergencies it has always worked out best when those in charge are up front with the guests rather than leave them to their own inaccurate conclusions.
Thanks to Captain Nash and his wonderful crew I feel as safe and pampered as a baby as the Crown Princess rocks me to sleep each evening on our way to Rome.
Thanks Sharon... glad everyone was accounted for. We're look forward to your updates, so keep 'em coming!