MSC Cruises vice president of newbuilding and refurbishment Trevor Young explains how the guest focus influences the interiors of the cruise operator’s fleet
At the heart of the design of MSC Cruises’ ships is a guest-centric concept.
Mr Young tells Passenger Ship Interior & Refurbishment Review “It is about the way we focus on the guest. We are very guest-centric, from the passenger flow on the ship, the different restaurants we include and more. The debates we have internally are about where is this going to go and why – why should have a teppanyaki like this or why have a French bistro like that? It is all about developing the guest experience.
“You can include as many gadgets as you want but you are probably talking about five or six people who can use them at one time, or a ride that takes place only every 10 minutes. You need to have experiences that guests enjoy in a larger way, not one-off attractions for the few. It is fine to have them, but they should take up a small space and not overwhelm the rest of the vessel.
The guest focus should be about the food, accommodation and entertainment.”
MSC Cruises has a wide variety of newbuildings on order, spanning Meraviglia-class, Seaside-class, World-class and Luxury-class.
Mr Young describes Meraviglia, Seaside and World-class ships as being of contemporary design. He adds “Luxury is a totally new brand so that is really exciting.”
Moving on to MSC Cruises’ other recent class ships, he singled out innovative features, especially highlighting the design of the area needed for the Cirque du Soleil-at sea.
Mr Young expands “Due to the shows, acrobats and artists who are so highly trained, you need specific equipment and the latest technology. The technology is so specific that the challenge is to get all of that in with the rigging they need.”
Mr Young says calculations involving weight, power load and heat must be considered in the overall design. The amount of heat coming from the equipment meant more air conditioning was needed in the show space.
Due to these demands, MSC Cruises has employed a person who just focuses on Cirque du Soleil, working with them on the designs, structure and infrastructure of the show area.
Mr Young adds “There are massive challenges, but it has paid off very well – it is hugely successful, always full and an interesting, fun, concept to have on a vessel. Our guests love it.”
The introduction of MSC Cruises’ artificial intelligence and machine-learning based cabin concierge Zoe – a first of its kind for the industry – has had an impact on the design of cabins. Zoe was launched on MSC Bellissima and will be next rolled out on MSC Grandiosa when it is delivered in November this year.
Mr Young says “When you introduce something like this into the cabin, you have to work out how it will be fitted. First you look at the design of Zoe – it is a very nice shape and a very cool looking piece of technology. That is the first part. Even putting the technology in place involved fixing it to the desk with a special mechanism we had to develop plus providing power and data feeds. It is not as easy as just putting it down on the desk.”
A brand within brands
An important strategy for both the current fleet and newbuilds is to create a “brand within brands”.
While MSC Cruises is the overall brand, different classes of vessels become the sub brand and then within that, certain areas, restaurants and bars become brands themselves. Mr Young singles out an example.
“Restaurants like our steak house are a brand. We are designing it so it has the same feel in each ship it is in, although there will be some tweaking depending on the class.”
Mr Young also points to the English pub in World-class. “This will be a British pub. It is a great place, looks fantastic, has great beer, music and fun.” However, while still being recognisable as the same brand as on Meraviglia-class, World-class will offer a twist on it as the pub in the World-class cruise ships will brew its own beer. It is also being updated from the Meraviglia-class to include an enhanced entertainment space. “We are adding entertainment elements so the area becomes a destination. The first one will be seen on Grandiosa.”
MSC Cruises’ focus on the guest underpins every aspect of its interior design.
Snapshot CV: Trevor Young
As vice president of newbuilding and refurbishment, Trevor Young is co-ordinating the 13 newbuilding projects that are currently part of MSC Cruises’ fleet expansion plan. He also co-ordinates all refurbishment projects in the company’s existing fleet. Mr Young’s career started with him earning a diploma of business/hospitality management along with a certificate in hotel and catering management which lead him to the cruise industry in 1996.
Mr Young joined Star Cruises in 1996. He was previously Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings vice president, hotel newbuilding & refurbishment.