Innovation is key when it comes to the interior design of Princess Cruises’ fleet. Its director of interior design and operations explains
Product innovation, sustainability and wellness are some of the major themes within cruise ship interiors, says Holland America Group director of interior design and operations, serving Princess Cruises, George Scammell.
He highlights their importance when it comes to refurbishing cruise ships.
“We need other products in order to continue to be innovative, much like hotels and resorts,” he says. “We must continue to evolve new products and new materials. We still have to meet code compliance for it to pass the IMO code, but there is a lot of opportunity here. In my past, working with vendors within hospitality, they appreciate when you challenge and push them, it creates need and desire and works for them as well, as they can then provide a product their competitors do not provide. This will innovate the marketplace.”
He singles out an example of product innovation Princess Cruises has been applying across its current fleet: a new sleeper sofa design. Mr Scammell explains “This is an element that takes a lot of space and is heavy. Finding a product that does not have the standard mattress mechanisms, folds out closer to wall, is conserving space and bringing better quality to the guest experience is important.”
Princess Cruises’ sleeper sofa ticks all these boxes. It is being incorporated across its fleet and is currently on 14 ships.
The launch of new ships has had a knock-on impact on upgrading Princess Cruises’ current fleet. Indeed, Mr Scammell says there are strong synergies between the newbuild and refurbishment sides of Princess Cruises. “We discuss products, vendors, materials and branding and there are good synergies between us which I think is really important,” he comments.
He adds “Increased guest demand and the different brands and competitors force you to push the envelope and it starts to have a domino effect. What is important for us is that as newbuilds come out in our existing fleet, they continue to be at the same level in terms of products because there is guest expectation.
“So, taking those concepts and implementing them as appropriate in terms of the ship and keeping them refreshed and innovative is very important to us.”
Princess Cruises completed eight drydocks this year and has eight planned for next year. Each ship has a drydock every three years.
Commenting on the work carried out, Mr Scammell says it is not just about carpet replacements and textiles but giving a lift to food and beverage products and creating new product offerings.
“We have upgraded all fast food venues, our grills, pool bars and areas – all have had significant lifts,” he says. “People want to come outside, and we are actually creating more of a mixed-use space [around the pool], not just filling it with sun loungers but creating lounges and bars too.”
Hospitality and hotels
He says that new trends within cruise ship interiors are “aligning with hospitality, hotels and resorts. Guests are moving more towards looking for an experience and participating, rather than observing.
“In a lot of cases, cruise ships of yesterday looked the same as you moved through them. But now we are looking at smaller, different spaces that have their own personalities and their own look and feel. But while these are different areas and hold different experiences, they have an overall consistency and a thread that runs through them and makes them fluid.”
He underlines wellness as being an increasingly important theme. “In terms of design we now also look at wellness outside of the fitness centre and spa, it is about looking at the product and about the general health and welfare of our guest. There are a lot of people in a small space and it is very important for us that it is a healthy space and environment.”
He highlights how product developments means that healthcare qualities have started to be incorporated in to cruise ship products. An example is the antimicrobial property. Mr Scammell says, “There are threads that actually kill germs that can be spun in fabrics and anti-static elements that can be put in carpets – there are lot of things we can do to create the foundations for a healthy environment.”
Indeed, Princess Cruises is adding antimicrobial threads to carpets and textiles on its ships.
Mr Scammell emphasises the importance of sustainability when it comes to cruise ship interiors. “Sustainability is so important for the world and we all want to contribute where we can. It is important to look at products that are sustainable, that can be recycled, that have an afterlife, in terms of what it means in protecting the environment and the oceans.”
Snapshot CV: George Scammell (Princess Cruises)
George Scammell is director of Interior Design & Operations for Holland America Group, serving Princess Cruises. He is responsible for leading the inhouse design team in managing all interior design initiatives, supporting interior revitalisation, refurbishment and maintenance for Princess’ fleet of 17 international ships. Leadership positions include vice president of global design for Wyndham Worldwide, principal for CORE architects, vice president of design for ForrestPerkins, and design management for Walt Disney World Resorts.