A unique, fun and innovative onboard experience

Carnival Cruise Line considers functionality, aesthetics and customer enjoyment when designing every space on its ships

A unique, fun and innovative onboard experience
Carnival Celebration, which will debut in November 2022, will feature a three-deck-high atrium

Experience design is at the core of everything we do at Carnival Cruise Line. We are not simply designing ships or public rooms, we design experiences.  

We do this in cooperation with teams across the organisation to develop the entire ecosystem that makes up the onboard guest experience, including the function of the spaces, their look and feel, the food and beverage offerings, the entertainment, and the infrastructure needed to support everything. 

One of our core values at Carnival is to include fun in everything we do – that is always considered when designing experiences and deciding what to offer on any ship. Every ship has a combination of core offerings that are common across the fleet, but there are some differences from one ship to another. Guests can mainly see these differences across our classes of ships. The chance to design new vessels and classes of ships presents us with opportunities to introduce new and exciting features such as Bolt, the first roller coaster at sea. This first-of-its-kind offering is entirely unique to our Excel-class ships. 

Our highest responsibility and top priorities are to operate safely, to protect the environment, and to comply with regulatory requirements everywhere we operate in the world. For every new ship, we take into account both guest feedback and the lessons we have learned from previous ships. These aspects are part of our corporate vision and are foundational to everything that goes into the design of our ‘Fun Ships’. 

Function is also critical to creating spaces that are aesthetically pleasing, so we focus heavily on ensuring good traffic flow for both our guests and team members. There are many details that need to be carefully considered including the materials that we select, their durability, the ease of maintenance, furniture comfort, energy efficiency, and more. 

Our Excel class is nearly 30 per cent larger than our Vista class. This difference has seen us take a separate approach in how we distribute guest experiences and offerings throughout the ships. 

We made some strategic decisions early in the master planning stage to ensure there would be a proper balance of guest distribution, particularly in dining and entertainment areas. For example, we created casual and quick-service venues for breakfast and lunch across the different zones on lower decks in addition to the offerings guests would typically find on our upper decks from other classes of ships. 

Many of our ships have one main theatre for large-scale entertainment, whereas Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration, our latest ship that will debut in November 2022, feature Center Stage, a performance venue that is part of our innovative centrally located three-deck-high atrium. Also, there is a 900-seat main theatre situated at the forward end of the vessel. 

For Carnival Celebration, we also took some novel approaches to the general arrangement. For example, we placed our atrium on the starboard side of the ship versus the middle, which allowed us to create an environment where guests can enjoy unobstructed ocean views through 3,000 square feet of glass by day, and large-scale entertainment by night. This is all while allowing guests to freely circulate through the zone using the main promenade on the port side. 

Ben Clement is senior vice president of newbuild, refurbishment and product innovation at Carnival Cruise Line.

This article was first published in the 2022 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.  

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By Ben Clement
29 June 2022

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