How Carnival Corporate Shipbuilding builds an identity

The company coordinates with Carnival Corporation’s brands to design innovative vessels

How Carnival Corporate Shipbuilding builds an identity
Carnival Cruise Line’s family rooms reflect the brand’s appeal to guests with children

By Andrea Bartoli |

Carnival Corporate Shipbuilding is involved right from the very start of a shipbuilding project for any one of Carnival Corporation’s nine brands, all the way from the initial idea for the vessel up until the day it is delivered and beyond. This means we work closely with the brands, the shipyards and the contractors, coordinating between them to develop and construct the vessel. 

The company has five main departments: technical, contract management, sourcing, services and site. In the outfitting department (within the technical department), we’re accountable for the design development of the passenger and crew areas, corridors, public areas, open deck, outdoor venues, bars, galley and pantry. We participate in the design and development of all the layouts and ensure that they meet all the functional and design objectives established at the outset of the project, as well as the overall brand strategy.  

Before a project begins, the brands have to explore all the different possibilities for a ship and its design based on the current market conditions, which can change depending on location, time and world events. For example, before Covid, China was a very attractive potential market, so designing ships for China was a significant consideration. Now, China is the only market that hasn’t fully restarted cruising after Covid, while the USA is doing very well, with Europe following close behind. That means there’s a very different situation to consider when defining the needs for a ship. 

The whole process of building a ship is clearly defined by internal procedures but with so many people involved across nine different brands, we also have to be flexible. It is important for us to cooperate with the brand – we need to know what its target market wants and needs, and then we can work together on that basis to develop the best ship to take advantage of the opportunity they present. That means we establish the characteristic of the ship to fit the brand’s identity, the location of the vessel’s itineraries and the target market, whether that be passengers from the USA, Germany, UK or Italy. 

One Carnival Cruise Line project I particularly enjoyed being involved in was the creation of the cabins in the Family Harbor, which have been designed specifically for families and now feature onboard a number of Carnival vessels. They have direct access to an exclusive family lounge that is divided into separate areas for different age groups. This is essential for a brand like Carnival Cruise Line, which attracts a broad range of guests and carries almost one million children per year. It’s also something I really value as a father with two children. 

I also had the opportunity to work on Carnival Cruise Line’s BOLT rollercoaster. In my opinion, that is one of the best top-deck attractions available on a ship today. With 800 feet of rollercoaster track above the sea, it certainly stands out as one of the most unique and interesting projects I’ve been able to participate in. 

However, something I love about working with the corporate shipbuilding team is that I get to be involved with the different styles of all the nine brands. For example, a Princess Cruises ship will not have the same attractions as a Carnival Cruise Line ship. Instead, the scope of the design is to provide a quieter and more relaxing option, where guests can really enjoy the experience of being at sea with what is still an all-American brand.  

On the other hand, Costa Cruises is a historical Italian company that has been operating for over 75 years. Its 10 contemporary ships are focused on reflecting the Italian style across everything from the interior design to the food. Keeping those brand identities distinct in the design of the ship and its spaces is crucial for what we do. 

Working across the brands also gives me the chance to work every day with different people who come from from diverse cultures. I’ve been working in the shipbuilding industry for more than 20 years – spending 13 years with Costa and almost eight here with Carnival Corporate Shipbuilding. During this time, I have been involved in more than 50 projects, collaborating with many different architects and shipyards from all over the world. It’s a pleasure to be able to work within such an inclusive culture.  

Andrea Bartoli is principal manager of outfitting at Carnival Corporate Shipbuilding 

This article was first published in the 2023 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Interiors for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox or your door.

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