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Author: Rebecca Gibson/Wednesday, November 18, 2015/Categories: Interview, Onboard experience, P&O Cruises
Delivering high-quality interiors in a short timeframe and within a tight budget is no easy feat, but Miami-based turnkey contractor Precetti has a fail-safe formula, which comes down to good planning, prefabrication and teamwork.
“We are one of the only turnkey contractors with an in-house team that can design public, catering and accommodation areas, and then prefabricate various stainless-steel units in our Italy-based factory, before outfitting a ship,” explains Passalacqua, president of Precetti. “This enables us to complete most of the work before boarding the ship, ensuring we can resolve design and manufacturing issues well in advance.”
Between 7 April and 23 May, Precetti completed three almost simultaneous turnkey renovations onboard Princess Cruises’ Island Princess, Golden Princess and Dawn Princess in Italy, the US and Singapore respectively.
“After signing all four contracts in January, we spent three months planning workloads, manufacturing components and shipping them to the relevant yards so we could use resources and time as efficiently as possible while onboard each ship,” explains Passalacqua. “We wouldn’t have hit these deadlines without working as a team, particularly because our technicians were in various locations and there was no additional time to prepare in between each project.”
Just a day after completing Dawn Princess on 23 May, Precetti joined Tillberg Design of Sweden (TDoS) to completely overhaul the buffet dining area onboard P&O Cruises’ Australia-based Pacific Jewel.
“We only had 12 days to complete the refit and because we had previously worked with Precetti on several high-end projects, we knew the team had the capacity and skills to achieve great results in a short timeframe,” explains Petra Ryberg, interior designer and project manager at TDoS, who led the Pacific Jewel project. “TDoS collaborated directly with Precetti’s in-house architects and interior designers who were committed to producing the best possible venue – I never once heard ‘we can’t do that’.”
Like Ryberg, Passalacqua attributes the project’s success to the face-to-face meetings, weekly conference calls and teamwork between TDoS, Precetti and P&O.
“P&O had a clear vision for The Pantry and the venue is a first for the cruise industry, so everyone was invested in working together to make an impressive venue,” says Passalacqua. “It also helped that, unlike many designers, Petra remained onboard the ship throughout the drydock, allowing us to resolve design issues in real time and avoid costly mistakes.”
More like an international food market with an urban café than a traditional cruise buffet, The Pantry is designed for the ‘modern Australian’ and features eight themed food outlets, each with their own signature fresh and all-inclusive dishes.
“Travellers want venues that offer a smaller selection of high-quality food, rather than a restaurant that offers an extensive, but half-heartedly cooked buffet,” says Ryberg, explaining that TDoS visited Sydney for inspiration. “We’ve taken the most popular foods in Australia and created a counter for each type of cuisine, rather than combining them in one buffet. From the names of the outlets, to the foods they serve and the quirky design accents, The Pantry reflects the fun and relaxed, yet high-quality, lifestyle enjoyed by many Australians.”
Reminiscent of a beachfront restaurant, Hook’s Fish and Chips is decorated with white tiles and driftwood, while Mexicana has cactus-inspired tiles, the Grill has been styled as an industrial burger bar and the Sugar Bar has a monochrome façade that contrasts with the bright colours of the cakes and sweets on display. The Pantry also features the Fat Cow carvery; Kettle & Bun delicatessen; the Asian-themed Stix; and Curry House.
“Each outlet has an eclectic mix of colours, textures, patterns and materials, as well as decorative objects, photos and amusing quotes to add a touch of Australian humour,” says Ryberg. “To create an informal atmosphere, we’ve combined communal tables, lounge chairs, bar stools and banquette seating, rather than using standard tables and chairs.”
Even the buffet counters have been reimagined to improve both their aesthetics and functionality. “Precetti redesigned the glass sneeze guards and integrated a new type of heat lamp and LED lights to ensure that the food is served at the optimum temperature according to health and safety regulations, but is not obscured by the lighting,” Passalacqua explains. “Jewellery shops will envy how well the food is displayed, and the new innovations have helped to create a fun, cosy and communal venue that offers something for everyone. Many people said The Pantry has exceeded expectations and looks much better than in the renderings.”
Clearly, both P&O and its passengers agree, as Precetti and TDoS have been contracted to install The Pantry on Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden, which will debut in Australia this November.
“Both ships are bigger than Pacific Jewel and all materials need to be shipped in August ready for the concurrent drydocks in Singapore from October to November, so it will be challenging,” says Passalacqua. “However, our motto is ‘no matter what’ so we will strive to produce the best possible venues on time – if we exceed our customers’ expectations, they will return to us in future.”
This October, Precetti will also upgrade Sea Princess and supply estimates for another major refit, which is scheduled from October to November. Meanwhile, six cruise companies and one ferry operator have asked Precetti to supply estimates for projects in early 2016.
“Precetti was established 65 years ago; I’ve been here for 35 and I’m nowhere near ready to retire yet. We’ve got much more to offer to the passenger shipping industry,” Passalacqua concludes.
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