Designing unique experiences onboard cruise ships

Jacqui Griffiths asked Marco de Jorio about how De Jorio Design International creates boundary-pushing designs in an evolving cruise industry

Designing unique experiences onboard cruise ships
De Jorio Design International works with MSC Cruises to create beautiful, innovative ships

This article was first published in Spring/Summer 2018 issue of the International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

De Jorio Design International is no stranger to combining timeless quality with innovative design. The company’s creativity was writ large last year when MSC Cruises took delivery of MSC Meraviglia – at 171,598gt and with a guest capacity of 5,714, the biggest ship ever built by a European ship owner. Now, with MSC’s 200,000gt World Class and 154,000gt Seaside Evo vessels in the pipeline, the design challenge is about to get even bigger.

“The World Class is a huge ship with more promenade inside and outside, and one more deck than Meraviglia,” says Marco de Jorio. “There is an indoor promenade and lower deck dedicated to entertainment, food and activities, and an external promenade with more balcony cabins. Seaside Evo ships, meanwhile, have a lot of space dedicated to outdoor activities. Both types of ship are intended for passengers of all ages, so they need a broad appeal, with all types of activity on offer.”

Designing vessels on such a large scale has a lot in common with urban design, de Jorio says. “Designing a big ship is like designing a city. Big areas need big effects. The flow of people is an issue and the materials need to withstand high levels of use over time. It’s important that the ship’s design not only reflects different activities, but also different moods and experiences to make living onboard both surprising and interesting. It’s very different from designing a smaller ship, where space is a luxury and elegant solutions are needed to make the most of it.”

While giant ships are today’s big news, de Jorio believes that in future there will also be space for smaller, specialised vessels that attract niche audiences. “Today we are seeing the advancement of large ships dedicated to a vast range of activities for passengers of all ages,” he says. “But as operators focus on attracting more people who are new to cruising, we will also see more specialised, medium-sized ships that offer a special experience focused on one major activity such as spas, casinos or food.”

As the market evolves to include these different types of vessel, the company’s experience in designing smaller vessels such as yachts will come into play. “In the future, when it comes to designing medium-sized cruise vessels, we’re likely to see some common points between ship and yacht design,” says de Jorio.

Whatever the future holds, de Jorio says that memorable design will be increasingly essential for cruise ships of all sizes. “Our mission is always to research the unique, to create an experience that goes beyond the functional purpose of a space for eating, dancing or having fun,” he says. “It’s important to transmit something unique to the passengers, something of lasting quality. Today we are in the era of the image, where people share their experiences through social media such as Facebook and Instagram. Those platforms are awash with images, so the ship’s design must make a positive and memorable impression on anyone who sees it.”

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Jacqui Griffiths
By Jacqui Griffiths
Thursday, June 7, 2018