Cruise ships introduce mandatory safety drills

Cruise ships introduce mandatory safety drillsAP

New safety regulations introduced in the wake of the Costa Concordia disaster mean that passengers will now have to take part in pre-departure safety drills before departure.

The Telegraph reports that The Cruse Liners International Association, European Cruise Council and Passenger Shipping Association said that the safety drills would now be obligatory on their ships.

Previous guidelines under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea said that only a muster drill should take place within 24 hours of embarkation.

The new policy, which is effective immediately, follows a review of safety measures following the grounding of the Italian cruise liner on January 13.

In a joint statement, the cruise ship associations said: "The formal policy is designed to help ensure that any mandatory musters or briefings are conducted for the benefit of all newly embarked passengers at the earliest practical opportunity."

They also pointed out that this "exceeds legal requirements."

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Cruise ships introduce mandatory safety drills

For some much-needed, but not too far-flung, sun, head to Lanzarote. Unplug from daily life and school schedules (confiscate the DS, too, if you're brave enough) and truly unwind at the idyllic Cortijo de Cabreron, a four bedroom country cottage with swimming pool just 4km from the Costa Teguise. A week's rental starting 12 February costs £995. Visit

Exercise, fresh air, snow and sun – skiing has it all. A full day on the slopes = knackered kids and happy parents, so bag a bargain week in Meribel with, which is offering a week's half board, departing 11 February, at the Hotel des Sources for £549 (saving £50) per person, including return overnight luxury coach travel. Visit

A visit to this edgy, exotic Italian city will keep both parents and children happy – with rich culture, art and architecture for you, and the original and best pizzas in the world to satisfy junior gourmets. Sleep at Constantinopoli 104, a centrally-located 19th century palazzo with an exotic garden and elegant rooms. Four nights' B&B costs £393 per person (four sharing; two double rooms). Flights and transfers extra. Visit

Take a well-deserved week off the cooking and washing, staying in one of the Majorelle Suites - super-stylish apartments in the fashionable Gueliz quarter of Marrakech, where the delightful and discreet Saida, will shop and cook for you. Seven nights is £175 per person (based on four sharing) including breakfast. Flights can be arranged. Visit

A reward for the best school report ever, perhaps? Gather together a couple of pals and live it up at a 6 bedroom luxury villa in a prime beachside location on Barbados. Departing on 3rd February, CV Travel is offering a saving of £380 per person off a 7 night stay at Nelson Gay. This holiday now costs £2,024 per person and includes return Gatwick flights, villa rental with staff and private return airport transfers, based on 12 guests sharing. Visit

There's nothing quite like seeing Monet and Rodin up close and personal for inspiring budding artists, so take a cultural trip to the French capital for a half term break that won't break the bank. Five nights at a four star hotel costs £223 per person (saving 35%), including flights from Heathrow on 11 February. Visit

Perfect for budding Patrick Moores aged eight or over, the trip takes in the incredible Northern Lights, with an astronomy expert on-hand to guide them through the light display, as well as visits to famous Icelandic sights such as The Blue Lagoon and the Gullfoss Waterfall. From £1,099 adult / £1,039 child including flights, transport, B&B accommodation and expert guides. Visit

If you want your junior city slickers to get a taste of the great outdoors, head Stateside for a week long ranch/ski holiday in Montana. 7-nights only costs £969pp and £789pp (8-12 years) including accommodation, meals, ranch activities. Return flights from £815pp (adults) and from £695pp (up to 12 years). Visit

Open your children's eyes to a very vibrant and different culture, with a ten-day Indian adventure. Experience the cultural contrasts of this colourful country, from wildlife at Ranthanbore National Park to the Taj Mahal. Prices start from £4,356 for a family of four (£739 per person), including in-country transport, accommodation (hotels and lodges), meals and activities. Visit inspired

Get a head start on that Ancient Egypt project with a ten day classic Feluccas and Pharoahs Adventure. You'll get guaranteed sun and the educational aspect lessens the guilt if you have to take them out of school for a cheeky day or two... From £1,259 adult / £1,139 child includes international and domestic flights, transport (train, minibus, felucca, horse-drawn carriage, boat & camel) and accommodation. Visit

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