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TPG Editors' Choice Award for innovation by a cruise company: Royal Caribbean Group's eMuster

Dec. 16, 2020
5 min read
Quantum of the Seas
TPG Editors' Choice Award for innovation by a cruise company: Royal Caribbean Group's eMuster
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Royal Caribbean Group, the world's second largest cruise company, is known as the great innovator of the cruise industry. It's been the pioneer of everything from interior mall areas on cruise ships to such gee-whiz deck-top attractions as outdoor water theaters and surfing simulators.

So perhaps it should come as no surprise that the parent company of Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Silversea and Azamara is behind what may be the biggest innovation in cruising in years: A new system to greatly shorten and simplify the safety drill process.

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Called eMuster, it's not as sexy an innovation as robot bartenders in cruise ship bars or skydiving attractions atop cruise ships — two more things that Royal Caribbean Group pioneered. But it's perhaps more significant to the overall experience of passengers at sea.

It is for this reason that we've decided to give Royal Caribbean Group a special Editors' Choice Award this year for the development of eMuster, as part of Cruise Week in our annual TPG Awards. We're calling it The Innovation in Cruising Award.

The new eMuster system will let passengers complete most of the safety drill that is held at the start of every cruise on a mobile device or interactive cabin TV instead of in a big, crowded, unwieldy muster station.

Related: The ultimate guide to Royal Caribbean

Under the new system, passengers will review all the same information as they did before, including details on what to expect and where to go in case of an emergency, and instructions on how to properly use a life jacket. But instead of doing so in a group setting, they'll do it on their own in the hours leading up to departure.

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After reviewing the safety information on a mobile device or cabin TV, passengers will complete the drill by visiting their assigned assembly station, where a crew member will verify that all steps have been completed and answer questions.

Every passenger still will be required to complete the safety drill process before departure, as required by international maritime law.

Royal Caribbean Group is calling the new process Muster 2.0.

Related: How to book a cruise with points and miles

royal Caribbean eMuster
Passengers on Royal Caribbean Group ships will be able to review safety information on a mobile device or interactive cabin television. (Image courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

Royal Caribbean Group began working on the new technology long before the coronavirus outbreak began. But its development is an elegant solution to one of the biggest hurdles to bringing cruising back in this new era of coronavirus-related safety measures: How to keep passengers socially distanced during safety drills.

On a typical cruise, the safety drill is one of the times when passengers are in the closest proximity to each other, as every single passenger must assemble in a limited number of spaces.

Royal Caribbean Group said it worked with international regulators — including the U.S. Coast Guard — to ensure the new process met all safety requirements.

Related: A guide to Royal Caribbean's loyalty program

The company has patented or is in the process of patenting the eMuster technology in countries around the world and plans to license it to other lines. But it's waiving licensing fees during the coronavirus pandemic so other brands can use it free of charge. It already has granted a license for such use to Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, the parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

The technology already has debuted on the ships of German line TUI Cruises, which resumed limited cruising out of German ports in July. Royal Caribbean owns part of TUI Cruises through a joint venture.

So if you dread the typical safety drill prior to a cruise's departure, you may find that your next sailing gets off to a much better start — and it's for this reason that we're honoring Royal Caribbean Group's eMuster technology with this year's Innovation in Cruising Award.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by ©2014 Michel Verdure - www.verd

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

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  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023