How MJM Marine helped create a cruise utopia

The firm utilised its expertise to elevate the guest experience onboard Royal Caribbean International’s Utopia of the Seas

How MJM Marine helped create a cruise utopia

MJM Marine

MJM Marine fabricated a train car as part of its work on Utopia of the Seas’ Royal Railway

By Fiona Nevin |

Royal Caribbean International’s sixth Oasis-class ship, Utopia of the Seas, has innovation at its heart. Michael Bayley, the brand’s president and CEO, hinted at these innovations during the traditional steel-cutting ceremony in April 2022, saying: “vacationers can look forward to the signature combination of experiences and many brand-new adventures”. 

Continuing our long-term relationship with Royal Caribbean International, MJM Marine was appointed to deliver some of the ship’s new concepts and transform multiple key public spaces onboard. They include a vibrant Playscape area, a Starbucks cafe and a new food truck concept, The Spare Tire, as well as The Pesky Parrot, a lively Caribbean-themed bar in the Royal Promenade.  

However, the biggest innovation will be a first-at-sea immersive dining experience, which draws inspiration from New York City’s Grand Central Terminal and the romanticism of dining onboard classic trains. The venue, named Royal Railway, will offer a multisensory dining experience that will transport diners to the golden age of rail travel on a virtual train journey throughout the world as they enjoy food and beverages from iconic destinations. 

MSC Seascape

MJM Marine

To ensure Utopia of the Seas’ new dining experience is as immersive as possible, MJM Marine manufactured a number of dining cars for Royal Railway

MJM Marine understood the brief and the intention of the experience and collaborated with Royal Caribbean International to conduct rigorous design assessments throughout the numerous phases of train car fabrication. We welcomed Royal Caribbean to our headquarters in Newry, Northern Ireland, on visits throughout the project’s design and build process. Together, we witnessed several construction milestones and got the chance to embark on a unique excursion to a nearby railway station museum, adding an extra layer of richness to the experience as the design came to life. 

Our extensive in-house expertise, coupled with our adaptive and innovative approach, enabled us to make seamless adjustments and improvements when practical considerations mandated design alterations. These steps were instrumental in fostering creativity, as we utilised our talent and digital technology, including 3D modelling and rendering, to facilitate conceptual visualisation and align design choices with the anticipated passenger experience. 

While the dining cars were being manufactured at our dedicated 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Newry, and Utopia of the Seas was under construction at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, MJM project team members conducted site visits working around existing steelwork, piping and other vital ship services. During the site visits, 3D scanning obtained accurate measurements that helped to ensure smooth installation of the dining cars onsite with minimal modifications. 

Throughout the project, MJM has prioritised due diligence and worked to address the needs of all users to surpass both Americans with Disabilities Act and United States Public Health requirements. We have carefully adapted areas to accommodate diverse needs, such as when our team proposed a design that enabled the removal and subsequent reinstating of the banquette seating with precision to maintain the integrity of the quality finishes. These modifications were essential to enable the venue to accommodate immobile guests without compromising on the final product’s aesthetics. 

Throughout this journey, different challenges have had to be overcome, such as the incorporation of a secret hidden panel to facilitate swift access to technical components essential for powering the immersive experience in Royal Railway. This will also futureproof this one-of-a-kind facility, as it allows for technological elements to be replaced without any significant disruption to the venue. 

Each aspect and detail of this project has been rigorously reviewed to maintain the integrity of the finishes and uphold the premium quality of the product. We have combined one off custom-made and hand-crafted finishes with off-the-shelf products to achieve the design brief. To align with Royal Caribbean International’s dedication to environmental sustainability, we incorporated lightweight materials and recycled components where possible. 

You’ve never been on a cruise ship like this, and I can’t wait for guests to experience it when it makes its debut in July 2024.  

Fiona Nevin is head of global business development at MJM Marine 

This article was first published in the 2024 issue of  Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe  for FREE to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox.  

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