P&O Cruises head of design Petra Ryberg previews the design and features on Pacific Adventure and reveals what she believes are the main trends within cruise interior design
P&O Cruises Australia’s conversion of Princess Cruises’ Golden Princess into Pacific Adventure is exciting for the operator and passengers on many levels, offering new and innovative concepts alongside signature features – and it will be the largest ship in the fleet.
P&O Australia head of design Petra Ryberg gives Passenger Ship Interior & Refurbishment Review a glimpse into the design and features.
Explaining how she came to her design specification, she says “I sailed on Pacific Adventure for 10 days and spent time walking around the ship, as I like to walk into a room and feel what it lends itself to. The more time I spend on board, the clearer I become [about the design].”
During her time on board, she started the design specifications. “I like to write specifications on board the ship [rather than afterwards] as you can take as many photos as you like and be in the space, but you may not remember the small details when back in the office.”
The specifications have all been finished. Ms Ryberg says “This ship is due in October next year. And we are already done and dusted with this design, we know what we want to do and are allowing sufficient time for contractors to make it happen.”
The Byron Bay Beach Club has been designed to be similar to a European members beach club
Pacific Adventure: a unique design
Homing in on some of the innovative features, she says “It is the biggest ship in the fleet, so everyone is excited about that, and being bigger allows for more dining, activities and shows. There are 17 decks and it is quite a unique design.”
She singles out the nightclub on the aft, which will offer “amazing views”.
Another major venue will be a traditional Australian pub, which features a 9 m by 6 m bar – the largest in the fleet. Ms Ryberg says, “We want to bring families together in the space and cater for different age groups, with karaoke and other activities.”
She explains how parents can relax with a beer while their children can take part in activities, or the whole family can get involved in the activities.
She says to deal with cruise ship challenges of limited space, “If you make a space multi-purpose, it can be one thing in the day and transformed at night, giving guests another experience.”
Another new feature will be the Byron Beach Club, an exclusive retreat available to passengers booked in Byron Beach Club suites and mini suites. Ms Ryberg says
“This will give these passengers exclusive access to one of the pools located by the spa. And then there is a private outdoor area exclusively for Beach Club members. We have designed it to be a bit like a European members beach club.”
Speaking about interior trends within the cruise industry, she singled out lighting as being important. “Not only can lighting make a room look amazing, but it can make features that are less amazing go away.” This is important, she says, especially when refitting ships.
She singled out the environment as having an ever-larger impact on cruise interiors. “This is what the whole industry is currently focusing on. Every single component that goes into a project should have the highest environmental standards. And it is up to us, as designers, to push our suppliers to give us those options. I have seen a big difference in the market in the last couple of years. But everyone needs to shift their mindset to make the environment an even higher priority.”
Asked what the driving forces are behind her designs, Ms Ryberg states “personalisation”, and it is a trend she is seeing within the industry. “I think people want to connect with spaces, even if it is just feeling relaxed or comfortable, or you just feel good in a space, that is probably one of the main things I think about when I design.”
She also believes personalising spaces links in with the theme of storytelling.
“It is having a concept behind it. For example, the menu might have a name with a story in it. It is something that brings more emotional value to the passenger experience.”
Ms Ryberg uses the strict maritime regulations when it comes to design and materials to harness her creativity. “You are quite limited compared to designing a hotel on land. I honestly almost like that – it is a challenge to have the regulation because it is up to you to get creative.”
A trend she is keen to highlight is an increased focus on crew areas. Ms Ryberg says in the recent refit of Pacific Dawn, there was an emphasis on crew areas. “I love designing those areas. We are trying to bring them closer to our main passenger areas. So, we used a lot of colours, patterns and artwork and are offering different seating options with communal tables in the crew mess.
“We held a competition recently for the crew members to supply photographs. The brief was for them to send photos that link to their homeland.” These were then framed and hung up in the crew areas.
Summing up her feelings about the current cruise design market and what to expect in the future, Ms Ryberg says “The sky is the limit. And we are just starting to scratch the surface of what is coming next in cruise ship design. I am quite excited about the next couple of years, I feel the market is really stepping up the game when it comes to ship design.”