(1 p.m. EDT) -- Carnival Cruise Line will introduce a new digital muster drill process when its sailings resume, according to the line's brand ambassador and longtime cruise director, John Heald.
Heald announced the change on his Facebook page over the weekend. (Heald's Facebook page is loaded with information, sprinkled with his quirky, fun sense of humor.) Carnival's new digital muster process will replace the traditional on-deck muster drill conducted before sailing as part of maritime regulations with an easier-to-use version that avoids the crowding and chaos often associated with in-person muster drills.
Heald also confirmed passengers will be encouraged to go to their muster station and check-in immediately. Carnival is encouraging passengers to do this by freezing their Sail & Sign cards after two drinks, he explained. "Until you check in, you will not be allowed to use that card again," he said.
Using Carnival's HUB app, passengers will locate their designated muster station. Once there, passengers will check in with staff members located at each station, and their attendance will be recorded.
Passengers will then be required to watch a video in their cabin explaining the procedures for in case of emergency.
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"Obviously the success of this new way of doing ... the Safety Briefing all depends on the cooperation of the guests," Heald wrote.
"Well, without me going into too many details I can say that if you do not go and check in at your Muster Station you will not be getting that Fun Ship Special drink."
Families, couples or friends traveling together must all be present at their muster station in order to check in with staff there. One person can't check-in an entire cabin of people, for example.
Passengers can visit their muster station any time before sailing on embarkation day, and Heald had some advice for guests:
"If it were me, I would get on the ship and go straight to the muster station. That way it's done and you can then go get lunch and yep, a Fun Ship Special."
Carnival's new digital drill is similar to the one introduced by Royal Caribbean Group for use across its brands.