Carnival Cruise Line senior director of interior design and architecture Petu Kummala reveals the unique features within the operator’s newbuilds
Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ships will include a range of innovative features, from the first roller coaster at sea, a new trampoline park to a host of new-style cabins.
Carnival’s Mardi Gras is currently under construction in Turku, Finland and set to debut in 2020. Mardi Gras is a new ship class for the company and includes the BOLT roller coaster – an industry-first.
Mr Kummala says “BOLT is something unique in cruising. We tried to achieve it before, and now it is finally happening. When we announced the first roller coaster at sea the whole internet practically broke down there was such excitement.”
Highlighting the challenges, he says “The engineering has taken a long time – before we were able to say ‘yes, it will happen’, we took time to evaluate movement, noise and vibrations and it took a long time before everybody could say ‘yes, it can be done’.”
He says a benefit is the structure does not take a lot of deck space because it is being constructed on columns with the ride taking place above deck. “This is always a consideration – you might be bringing along a new feature but how much deck space does it take away? There is a balance to work with,” says Mr Kummala.
He says interest from consumers has been nothing short of sensational, not just from children and families but other groups as well. “Our demographic is very broad, from very young children to older people and everyone in between.”
The rollercoaster is an all-electric motorcycle-style vehicle that offers an open-air course high above sea level with 360° ocean views.
Elsewhere, when third Vista-class ship Carnival Panorama debuts in Long Beach in December 2019, it will introduce the first indoor trampoline park and challenge zone at sea, in partnership with Sky Zone, based in Southern California.
The zone will be two decks high and encompass more than 278 m2. There will be a 12-lane trampoline court and a challenge zone equipped with a climbing wall, balance/jousting beam, Sky Ladder climbing apparatus and tug of war.
Mr Kummala says “This is a trampoline park that is also popular on land. That is a new feature which has never been done on a cruise ship, so it is exciting to see it take shape. We have IMAX theatres on the first two Vista-class ships, and the trampoline park is taking the place of this on Carnival Panorama, as it covers a large space.”
Asked whether there was pressure to create new interior features, he says “We are always striving to come up with exciting new features and Sky Zone certainly fits in with that philosophy. From a guest point of view, they want to see something new.” But he warns “It cannot just be new – it has to be exciting and functional.”
Elsewhere, Mardi Gras will feature cabins with a totally new style. Carnival Cruise Line teamed up with England’s DCA Design International and Miami’s Studio Dado to design the cabins.
Mr Kummala says “They look terrific in the mock-ups. They are ergonomic and include small details like USB outlets by the bed to charge phones which are practical and always in demand.
“In the bathroom, instead of a shower curtain, we have a beautiful folding glass door with a new and innovative hinge system.” He said this was extremely well suited to the cruise ship environment which requires maximising space.
Both Mardi Gras and Panorama will feature all-LED lighting. Mr Kummala says “LED has been around for quite some time but from a design standpoint, gives us freedom to place lights in small locations because the product is so flexible and small. This is very helpful when creating lighting elements and other details that are enhanced with lighting.
Mr Kummala is also keen to introduce new products to the interior design of cruise ships. He gives an example: “There was a vendor I met at a hospitality event which had a lightweight, interesting product and was interested in incorporating this product into the cruise industry. The work they do is very creative, very lightweight and perfect for cruise ships, but it is not certified, so I have been helping and put them in touch with IMO. Their products are certified for the hotel industry, so we know it is high quality.
“You always explore opportunities like this as you want to develop new things.”
He adds that the techniques of existing suppliers are getting better. “Sometimes we say we want a specific item and they say, ‘OK what do we need to do to make that happen?’ and we work together.”
On sustainability, he says “We are always looking for sustainable materials and even during the design process we use a lot of recycled materials. A lot of vendors are looking at how they manufacture and recycle.”
He singles out laminate as an example – some laminates are 50-70% recyclable and there are also recyclable fabrics available.
The cruise sector will be watching with interest when Mardi Gras and Panorama are delivered with their industry-first features and innovative interior design.