Safety on Board

A cruise isn’t just one of the most luxurious and relaxing ways to see the world, it’s also one of the safest.
That’s because every cruise ship has to be built, equipped and operated in accordance with the strict requirements of the international maritime treaty known as the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention, developed by the International Maritime Organization, the UN agency responsible for shipping.

As a result, for example, all cruise ships must have regularly-checked lifeboats, life rafts and life preservers for every person on board, plus a specified minimum additional capacity.

The ultramodern ships in the MSC Cruises fleet go substantially above and beyond what is required, carrying backup mechanical, navigational and safety provisions. And of course our crews undertake extensive training and refresher training, certification and regular drills for emergency situations, including the evacuation of a ship.

So you can cruise in peace with total peace of mind.

Planning to sail with us soon? Click here find out more about our enhanced Health & Safety measures and our new, even safer onboard experience. 

Safety on Board

Safety on Board

How is safety on board managed?

All cruise ships are designed and operated in compliance with the strict requirements of the International Maritime Organization, the UN agency that mandates global standards for the safety and operation of cruise ships through adoption of treaties, regulations and resolutions, codified in the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention.

Safety-related regulations and requirements are rigorous – and ships often go substantially above and beyond what is required, for example carrying backup mechanical, navigational and safety provisions.

Ships crews undertake extensive training, certification, drills and scenarios for emergency situations, including the evacuation of a ship.

All cruise ships have lifeboats, life rafts and life preservers for every person on board as well as additional capacity.

When and where are the drills held?

Upon embarkation in the main ports, all guests are requested to participate in a one-hour safety drill conducted in the 6 languages.

The Safety drills involve the entire crew and simulate the evacuation procedure, with guests requested to take their respective life jackets from their cabins and go to the assigned Muster Station where they receive additional safety instructions.

In secondary ports, before the ship's departure, a detailed safety briefing is also held for all newly-embarked guests.

The safety briefing is normally held in a dedicated area (usually the theatre or a Muster Station) and does not involve all the crew, being conducted by a group of social hostesses and animators that helps guests to familiarise themselves with the safety equipment and procedures.

The Safety briefings and drills are all fully compliant with the strict SOLAS requirements.

Are there any maps or other instructions?

Safety instructions on how to reach the relevant muster station and where to find the respective life jackets are available in all cabins, in 6 languages (ITA, ENG, GER, FRA, SPA, PORT, RUS), in the cabin information booklet and behind the cabin door (in 6 languages), where fire instructions and a map are also displayed, showing “You are here” information and the primary and secondary escape routes to the muster stations.

What other enhancements does the line use to ensure safety, i.e. maps showing routes to the nearest lifeboats, etc.?

Maps on the location of the different muster stations are displayed in all public areas and staircases etc. All public areas also feature arrows showing the way to the muster stations and indicating the staircases to reach them.

In addition, a safety video (in Italian and English) is broadcast 24/7 on the in-cabin television system on channel 1.

How is our crew trained to operate the life boats?

The crew receive regular training ashore, before embarkation and on board. The comprehensive on-board training coordinated by the ship’s Safety Officer consists of 4 two-hour modules, as follows:

A. Preliminary
B. Emergency instructions
C. Fire-fighting
D. Life-saving

A significant part of Section D is dedicated to management of the lifeboats. All crew members directly in charge of lifeboats receive additional and specific training on how to prepare, lower, pilot and maintain the lifeboats.

How frequently is testing carried out in which the lifeboats are lowered?

Every week the crew conduct a general emergency drill with fire simulation and evacuation, including an abandon ship drill with lifeboats.

What are the industry regulations on fire-safety on board cruise ships?

The cruise industry adheres to the rigid regulations contained in the International Convention for the Safety Of Life at Sea (SOLAS) as developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

These regulations include fire prevention, fire protection and extinguishing systems, crew training and fire emergency response.

What measures are in place to prevent fires on board MSC Cruises’ ships?

MSC ships have been designed to allow the isolation of fire and smoke and the MSC Cruises’ fleet, like all cruise ships complying with industry standards, are equipped with a variety of passive fire-and smoke-fighting measures, including fire-rated interior doors and partitions, fire dampers and ventilation systems. Ships include smoke management systems with fire and smoke dampers and, in addition to fire doors, segregation of ventilation, and pressurized hallways to contain smoke and prevent it from spreading.

Rules and regulations to prevent and to contain smoke and fire are in place and strictly followed on board all MSC cruise ships.

The MSC Cruises’ fleet uses several different systems for the prevention of fire. The main system for prevention is the Consilium System which consists of different types of detectors located throughout the ship and divided by the type of the area to be monitored. This prevention system is supported by Fire Patrol, a patrol operated by on board firemen 24 hours a day, in four hour shifts. The patrol is recorded by a digital system with several points located in various areas of the vessel.

What systems are in place to control fires on board if they do break out?

The MSC Cruises’ fleet uses several different systems to control the spread of fire and smoke including fire-rated interior doors and partitions, fire dampers and ventilation systems.

The main fire fighting system is the Hi-Fog, high-pressure water mist fire protection system, which suppresses and extinguishes fires by discharging a fine water mist at high velocity. The water mist is made by the system when it activates, pushing water at high pressure through specially designed, sprinkler and spray heads.

Do the crew receive fire training?

Crew members are extensively trained to ensure that they react effectively and appropriately in case of fire or smoke. In line with the Standards of Training, Certification & Watchkeeping (STCW) 1995, all crew must take Basic Safety Training (BST) – which includes basic firefighting.

A fire drill is also carried out on board each MSC ship every week, in a different area of the ship.

The emergency plan for controlling fire on board MSC vessels is executed by our four Fire Patrols, one of which is dedicated to engine room fires, and two cooling teams. All teams are trained and coordinated by the onboard Safety Officer.

Safety Guide: How to report a crime

To report any missing person or criminal activity while on board, we recommend to immediately dial Tel 99 for prompt support (Reception – Guest Service).

For a missing U.S. national and serious incidents, as per the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 (homicide, suspicious death, kidnapping, assault with serious bodily injury, sexual assaults as defined by federal laws, firing or tampering with the vessel, or theft of money or property in excess of $10.000) the incident must be reported to the F.B.I. as soon as possible and to the U.S. Coast Guard, see the following contact numbers:


Boston F.B.I. Tel (857) 386-2000 U.S.C.G. Tel (617) 223-5757 San Juan F.B.I. Tel (787) 754-6000 U.S.C.G. Tel (787) 289-2041
Cape Canaveral F.B.I. Tel (813) 253-1000 U.S.C.G. Tel (904) 714-7558 San Juan F.B.I. Tel (787) 754-6000 U.S.C.G. Tel (787) 289-2041
Key West F.B.I. Tel (305) 296-3093 U.S.C.G. Tel (305) 290-8713 St Thomas F.B.I. Tel (340) 777-3363 U.S.C.G. Tel (340) 776-3497
Miami F.B.I. Tel (754) 703-2000 U.S.C.G. Tel (305) 535-4472 Tampa F.B.I. Tel (813) 253-1000 U.S.C.G. Tel (813) 228-2191
New York F.B.I. Tel (212) 384-1000 U.S.C.G. Tel (718) 354-4037

Portland, ME (incl. Bar Harbor) F.B.I. Tel (857) 386-2000 U.S.C.G. Tel (207) 767-0320

These requirements apply to incidents in U.S. waters, or on the high seas or in foreign waters if the assailant or victim is a U.S. national, where the F.B.I. can assert jurisdiction. Each of the nations visited and the vessel’s nation of registry may also impose additional requirements. MSC Cruises reserves the right to report any criminal allegations to any law enforcement. In addition, for incidents in foreign waters or ports you may contact the closest U.S. Embassy/Consulate listed below:


CURACAO Willemstad (5999) 4613066
BAHAMAS, OCEAN CAY 42 Queen St. Nassau (242) 322 1181
BARBADOS Wildey Park, St Michael B8-14006 W.I. (246) 277 4000
BELIZE Floral Park Road Belmopan, Cayo (501) 822 4011
BERMUDA Crown Hill 16 Middle Rd Devonshire (441) 295 1342
CANADA 490 Sussex Drive Ottawa, Ontario K1N 1G8 (613) 238 5335
COLOMBIA Carrera 45 No. 248-27 Bogotà, D.C. (571) 275 2000
COSTA RICA Calle 98 Vìa 104, Pavas, san Josè, Costa Rica (506) 2519 2000
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Av. Republica de Coombia #57, Santo Domingo (809) 567 7775
GRAND CAYMAN 202B Smith Rd 150 George Town (345) 945 8173
GRENADA Lance Aux Epines St. George's (1473) 444 1173
HONDURAS Avenida La Paz Tegucigalpa, MDC (504) 2236 9320
JAMAICA 142 Old Hope Road Kingston 6 (876) 702 6000
MARTINIQUE Av De Arawaks, 97200 Fort de France (596) 596 730621
MEXICO Reforma 305 Cuauhtemoc 6500 (55) 5080 2000
PANAMA Building 783, Demetrio Basilio Laka (507) 317 5000
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 15 Queens Park West, Port of Spain (868) 622 6371

We remind you to immediately contact Reception - Guest Service tel. 99 to allow us to offer all possible assistance. We trust you experience a safe, enjoyable and secure cruise.