Highlighting the interior favourites making cruise ships special

An outstanding interior design can excite, relax and inspire, shaping the way that both the ship and the voyage are perceived by guests. Alex Smith asks a selection of cruise executives to highlight their favourite onboard spaces and describe what makes them special

Highlighting the interior favourites making cruise ships special
The Haven on Norwegian Epic features The Haven Restaurant and The Haven Courtyard Pool and Sundeck

Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line: 

“I’m not supposed to have favourites! I love all my ships equally, but if I was to single out an interior space, I’d choose the Grand Central atrium on Mardi Gras. Spanning three decks on the starboard side of the ship and overlooking the ocean, it’s a breathtaking place to relax, enjoy a cocktail or a snack, read a book and people-watch during the day. At night, it converts to an entertainment venue combining technology, music and theatre. It’s just stunning, and its Grand Central name is appropriate. It’s the 24/7 hub of the ship in so many ways.” 

Trevor Young, Vice President of New Building at MSC Cruises: 

“The design of MSC Seashore’s aft lounge Le Cabaret Rouge is inspired by 1920s Paris and features vivid burgundies, gold details, crystal chandeliers and velvet curtains.  

This new lounge at the aft of the ship offers superb sea views through its generous glass walls. Its design draws you into this special space to give a sense of excitement that seduces you as you venture further.  

Le Cabaret Rouge is a venue designed to transform from day to night, creating a unique experience for our guests. During the day it’s the perfect lounge to relax, enjoy the background music and gaze at the stunning views of the sea. At night, the lounge transforms to offer thrills and live entertainment that evolves as the night progresses, featuring live bands, pop-up performances combined with cabaret dancers, aerialists and many other wonderful surprises for our guests.” 

Ben Bouldin, Vice President of EMEA at Royal Caribbean International: 

“We pride ourselves on creating unique and outstanding spaces for all our guests to enjoy, with one of my personal favourites being the AquaTheater. Guests can find our AquaTheater on our five Oasis-class ships, including the new Wonder of the Seas. The AquaTheater is the deepest pool at sea, flanked by two nine-metre diving platforms that set the scene for spectacular aqua performances with the ocean as the backdrop. Each aqua show features high-flying feats, mind-blowing stunts and awe-inspiring acrobatics from a mix of world-class extreme sports athletes including high divers, synchronised swimmers and professional dancers.” 

Eamonn Ferrin, Vice President of International Business at Norwegian Cruise Line:

“One space that I find particularly engaging is The Haven by Norwegian aboard Norwegian Epic, a sanctuary of contemporary design that offers guests an unparalleled onboard experience. Norwegian Epic was the first in our fleet to premiere our ship-within-a-ship concept and, following an extensive refurbishment at the end of 2020, continues to boast the largest The Haven spaces in our fleet to date. Not only do guests have access to all the ship has to offer, but they also enjoy the personal service of a 24-hour butler, a concierge and the most well-appointed accommodation onboard. The renovation resulted in 75 reimagined suites combined with redesigned experiences, including The Haven Restaurant and The Haven Courtyard Pool and Sundeck.” 

My Nguyen, Director of Interior Design at Holland America Group: 

“One of my favorite spaces is the Grand Dutch Café, which can be found on all of Holland America Line’s Pinnacle-class ships. Designed by Tihany Design, the café is bespoke to the brand and pays homage to Holland America’s rich Dutch heritage. The delft blue and white scheme is artfully executed, and you can’t beat the location in the grand atrium. It’s the prime spot to people-watch or gather with friends while enjoying a Dutch snack and a good beer.”

Alex Smith
By Alex Smith
01 April 2022