I sent a link to my recent post on the lifeboat drill I attended on Carnival Glory to Carnival Cruise Line’s president and CEO, Gerald Cahill. Mr. Cahill asked a staff member to respond:
I want to assure you that safety is our number one priority and we have maintained an excellent safety record throughout our company’s 40-year history. All of our crew undergo regular and comprehensive safety training exercises in accordance with international maritime regulations and every ship undergoes a quarterly inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Carnival Cruise Line captains are very experienced and extremely well trained, with most having more than 30 years of seafarer experience. The captain manages and oversees all safety related operations from the bridge, as he did during your cruise in preparation for the annual U.S. Coast Guard inspection that was scheduled for Sunday, May 27, 2012.
Additionally, the captains have well trained officers, that under his direction, conduct and control essential duties related to the safety of the vessel. These duties include the execution of the guest Safety Briefing, as well as, carrying out an abandon ship order in a controlled and efficient manner as directed by the captain.
The Safety Briefings/Drills are governed by international rules and the proficiency of all team members is monitored on a regular basis. The efficacy of the Safety Briefings as it pertains to our guests and their comprehension is reviewed and also monitored regularly by third parties, including the U.S. Coast Guard. Additionally, we conduct guest surveys to ensure we are providing effective instruction. The results of those surveyed consistently indicate guests are very satisfied with the instruction provided.
Moreover, all of our procedures are regularly audited by the U.S. Coast Guard, Lloyds’ and internal inspectors; inspections have been judged more than satisfactorily by the auditors of the different entities. In fact, the US Coast Guard inspection on the Carnival Glory held on May 27, 2012, once again yielded positive results.
The signs in your pictures are International Maritime Organization approved “Emergency Signs” and we are required to display them as they are. These are the same signs that have been used for years aboard ships worldwide. The signs compliment [sic] the verbal instruction provided by our team members positioned in corridors, stairways, and at the actual Muster stations. In an emergency, the signage is structured in a way that following them, as well as, the emergency low level lights, would direct you to the Muster stations.
Naturally, any safety concern is of paramount importance to us. We want to assure you that we have reviewed yours in great detail and find that your Safety Briefing was conducted according to our procedures. Our number one priority is to ensure we provide all our guests a fun, memorable, and safe vacation.
And Bob’s your uncle. No guest survey was distributed on my sailing to ask about anything, or I would have aired my concerns there.
I had to laugh at the explanation for the signs. NO WAY could anyone find muster stations from all parts of the ship by those arrows — by emergency low-level lighting, no less.
Also, signs listing all stations on one whole side of the ship (A,C,E,G) are too vague. I was assigned to station A, and saw people assigned to station G (roughly 800-850 ft. away?) who followed the same signs and ended up at the WRONG END of the ship.
Carnival didn’t address the fact that each muster station must potentially accommodate 500+ people. Nor the absence of green fluorescent caps. Nor the inadequacy of the lifejacket demo.
Carnival seems to rely on an assumption that passengers already know the drill. I guess we can only hope in Carnival’s next emergency at sea, the sloppy drill performance masks real training and skill at crowd control and saving lives.