(this is kind of a stream of consciousness post, so don't be surprised if my thoughts are all over the place...not that that is any different than any other post of mine...)
After the Costa Concordia capsizing last week, believe me, my thoughts immediately turned to "What would we DO?!" I'll be honest, I never even considered something like that happening. I'm pretty sure that cruising is the safest form of travel. I'm more likely to get into a car accident driving the 2 miles to the store than being on a sinking ship in the middle of the ocean.
Now I'm reading all of these posts about how the muster drill wasn't done. Apparently, ships embarking from the US have to have safety drills before they can leave port. This is not true for international sailings, but they are to be held within 24 hours of sailing.
That said, I've read dozens of blogs/forum posts/tweets/etc. saying that no one pays attention to muster drills, the crew is too laid back, or people that have heard them dozens of times talk the entire time. SO WHAT ABOUT THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE NEVER HAD AN EMERGENCY DRILL? (pardon the yelling) Seriously, I understand, it's an hour out of your vacation that is boring. But it could save your life. It could prepare you, it could help you to not panic! Is it too much to ask that you be quiet so that others can hear? (Don't even get me started on the drunk idiots that show up and disrupt everyone)
I've been through an "old school" muster drill--the one where you put on your life jacket, go to YOUR muster station, and actually learn how the life jacket works. But I've only been to one. So if we can't hear what is going on, especially since we will have 2 small boys who will be terrified if we have to evacuate, what are we to do?
I don't know if ships do this, but there really needs to be a channel on the tvs that has emergency information--showing how to use the life jackets, etc. Not in place of the emergency drills, but as a supplement for the people that can't hear because of the rude people near them during the drill (or personnel who just don't care). If any ships have this, that's cool.
I made sure to ask the Carnival Cruise twitter rep if they have toddler/small child life jackets. They do. So the 1st thing we plan to do after we get to our room is find them, and figure out how they work. We will put them on the boys so that we aren't fumbling in the (rare) chance that we have to strap them on. That way the boys don't freak out more because they have to put on this bright orange bulky thing.
We have also decided that we are going to pack a submersible pouch to put our important documents in--passports, credit card, etc.--and flashlights! If anyone from the Concordia had their passports with them after abandoning ship, I would be surprised. So we will have our stuff in a waterproof pouch (in the safe), inside a fanny pack type bag. They won't let you take bags off ship in the lifeboats, but something like that would be easily hidden. That way, we will have our documents and not have to deal with the embassy. And the flashlights? The power went out on the Concordia and no one could see.
I am a little surprised that there aren't backup lights on cruise ships. If there are, apparently they didn't work on the Concordia. You would think they would have running lights on the floors to direct people to exits. Do ships have that?
Those are my thoughts right now. I'm not worried at all that anything is going to happen. Concerned, a little, because of the boys. But I'm not going to let a freak accident (that has, at this point, been attributed to gross human error) ruin our vacation.