How Norwegian Joy is changing the cruise industry in China

Norwegian Joy boasts numerous industry firsts for the owner and the wider cruise industry. But will the public spaces win over her discerning passenger demographic? Jon Ingleton quizzed the design team to seek an answer

How Norwegian Joy is changing the cruise industry in China

This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2017 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

Andy Stuart, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, described the delivery of Norwegian Joy as “a momentous occasion.” David Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings China, said: “With this incredible ship, we have taken Norwegian’s signature onboard experience and expanded and customised it with exciting features, services and amenities that combine the best of the East and the West.”

With such high expectations for Norwegian’s first custom-designed ship for the Chinese market, Norwegian Joy needed to deliver. Jeffrey Parns, the company’s director of architectural design, explains the design approach. “The goal was to use the Breakaway Plus platform and transform it into a purposely designed vessel for the Chinese market,” he says. “In order to accomplish this task, our business owners needed to understand the needs of the Chinese client base, such as spending trends, cruising expectations, entertainment, food preferences and culture. Architecturally, the design team needed to understand the complexity of the Chinese people’s design environment – colour taste, pattern and textures, and some of the superstitions that affect their design.”

Parns knew that he had the perfect team to meet this brief. “Norwegian had the confidence that our core architectural team, already knowing our corporate philosophy, would have the talent to accomplish this.”

High praise, and the heads of both design firms were consistent in their interpretation of the brief. “We were instructed to raise the standards from Norwegian Escape,” says Michal Jackiewicz, owner and executive project director of Tillberg Design of Sweden. “We were also instructed to consider the Asian market for new areas that were introduced.” “We aimed to elevate standards compared to the reference vessel with Asian users in focus,” agrees Mike Abbot, design associate at SMC Design.

Norwegian Joy is the line’s 15th ship, the second Breakaway Plus vessel, weighing in at 167,725gt and able to accommodate 3,883 guests. With so many public spaces, which did they think would particularly appeal to guests? Each have their own different view, emphasising the numerous options to choose from. Abbot highlights the Concierge Lounge on deck 15: “This area has full height glazing running 270-degrees around the perimeter with the forward-facing glazing stretching over two deck heights that create spectacular views for the passengers whilst they relax with a drink.”

Jackiewicz narrows it down to a choice of three: “The Haven Observation Lounge, new in the Norwegian fleet; Serenity Park, a different approach to the main pool concept; and the race track, new to the market.” Parns adds his own perspective: “Other venues not mentioned by the design team that need to be recognised are the Galaxy Pavilion, Laser Tag and our new culinary food concept venues.” Norwegian has earned a reputation for cabin innovation and Joy is no exception. “The Concierge Suites are a new accommodation category, on decks 14 and 15, and are unique to Norwegian Joy,” Parns explains. “The Concierge Level also includes a new interior family suite with two bedrooms, a living room and a virtual reality balcony. Guests have access to an exclusive concierge lounge with a private bar and refreshments, and full height two-story glazing with a 270-degree view.” Parns is also eager to emphasise that satisfaction is judged by another critical audience. “We also hope that the crew enjoy these new spaces and are excited to be working onboard Norwegian’s latest addition [to the fleet].”

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Jon Ingleton
By Jon Ingleton
Monday, February 5, 2018