MSC Meraviglia's domed indoor promenade
This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2017 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
There is much more to the design and construction of a cruise ship than meets the eye. Creating the cruise ships of today, which often feel as vast and lively as small cities, involves a big collaborative effort rather than the work of a single design firm. Marco de Jorio, chairman of Italy-based De Jorio Design International, explains: “We are the main designer of the ships for MSC Cruises but, of course, it is a big project which requires different experience from many stakeholders.” It is this combination of expertise which, he says, ultimately leads to the classic and timeless appeal that characterises the likes of MSC’s latest vessels, Meraviglia and Seaside.
Before embarking on any project of such scale, de Jorio says that it’s key to establish effective communication with not only the cruise line, but the various design firms involved. “From the beginning, even before signing the contract, we have to respect MSC’s vision and deliver on their expectations,” he adds. “Working together, we need to ensure that everyone is on the same page and is capable of bringing their vision to life.”
For de Jorio, success comes down to an ability to be flexible. “We say that flexibility is in demand when you work on a cruise ship because you must harmonise the art and the architecture of the ship,” he says. “We have to strike a balance between delivering an amazing design and meeting all commercial requirements too.”
At all times, though, de Jorio says that his firm never loses sight of its goal to deliver a final product that meets the highest design standards. “We aim to create memorable spaces that flow seamlessly, impress guests and make their stay onboard the best it can be,” he says. “It’s our duty to pay attention to detail on every element and constantly seek perfection.”
The results are impressive. MSC Meraviglia, for example, is classically grand with a huge indoor promenade covered by an 80 metre-high dome – the largest dome on a ship yet. “It’s a perfect place for socialising in all weathers,” says de Jorio. “It has two decks of entertainment, including bars, pubs and restaurants.”
While Seaside, which is set to launch later this year and will sail on tropical seas, mainly the Caribbean, is more set up for outdoor entertainment, so that passengers can take in the breath-taking scenery and feel closer to the sea. “To achieve this, we’ve created connecting inside and outside public spaces, and a waterfront promenade that wraps around the 323 metre ship,” says de Jorio.
Looking ahead, de Jorio says that his firm is involved in some exciting projects, including work on an even larger MSC vessel. “Expect a bigger, more spectacular promenade, three decks of public space and so much more,” he says. “We look forward to sharing the final result.”