Genting Cruise Lines senior vice president of hotel operations and newbuild hotel design Peter Foster opens up about the bold colour schemes and innovations aboard the operator’s new flagship
Space and colour are concepts guests will experience in more ways than one on Dream Cruises’ 9,500-passenger flagship Global Dream, the largest ship ever built at Germany’s MV Werften Wismar shipyard.
Genting Cruise Lines senior vice president of hotel operations and newbuild hotel design Peter Foster tells Passenger Ship Interior & Refurbishment Review, “We have moved towards a ‘town square’ concept with connectivity and more open spaces.”
Launching in 2021 and sailing out of China, the 19-deck cruise ship is the first of Hong Kong-based Genting’s pair of Global-class vessels constructed for its Dream Cruises brand. Mr Foster explains that the size of the ship and lifestyle choices of its core Asian market are among the factors that have been instrumental in the design of Global Dream, which will showcase industry firsts including the first-ever theme park and longest roller coaster at sea.
“With the Asian heritage of Genting Cruise Lines, which has been operating in the region for over 26 years, we know our Asian guests very well. Our guests in Asia are very active, in the sense that they like to pack their holidays to the brim with activities all day long.”
Mr Foster says to create visual stimulation, the interior colour palette features vivid and sometimes mismatched shades.
“We use bolder colours in our spaces and, in certain places of the ship, we make the colour clash where excitement and action is happening. We also use a lot of gold and glitzy colour schemes, mostly in areas where we want to create an ambiance of excitement. For the other areas on the ship where we want to create a calmer ambiance, you can see more teal, light blue, dark blue and purple colours, which are more relaxing, but we always lace them with gold or a splash of bright colour like deep fuchsia, to keep them alive.
“Another key element is we have different colour schemes on different decks, or on different sides of the deck, so the guests know where they are, especially on a 208,000-tonne mega ship like Global Dream. We use the colours as a navigation tool on board.”
Explaining the differences between Genting’s Star Cruises fleet and the Global ships, Mr Foster says “Star Cruises is the contemporary cruise line, with most of the ships in the fleet created in the late 20th century, in the 1990s. With the Dream fleet we have opened up the spaces. Just as we did with Explorer Dream, we have doubled up the space in the lobby and the restaurant area in the aft. Without taking more people on board, we have basically reinvigorated the entire space. That is the key design concept of the Dream fleet that can also be found on Global Dream.
More public space per person
“Another major breakthrough in the design of Global Dream is we have increased the public area per person by 25% which will further complement the concept of connectivity and open spaces. Our guests will enjoy more space to roam, which will also serve as buffer personal space under the post-Covid new norm.”
Dream Cruises attracts a wide demographic, including multigenerational groups, and Genting has already broken away from the norm of other lines which tuck children’s clubs out of sight at the back of ships.
Mr Foster says “With the Dream ships, we have moved a lot of the kids’ areas into the public area. Everybody loves to see kids laughing and having fun, it creates a great atmosphere. We are very much a family-oriented cruise line, and we welcome extended families.”
However, he points out this does not mean one size fits all as Global Dream offers different tiers of experiences.
“With The Palace, the ‘luxury ship-within-a-ship’ concept, affluent travellers who like a quieter time when they get away can enjoy this private space at their leisure, while their kids and their mates can go downstairs and enjoy the fun with the crowds. It’s all about choices. You can have a simple meal at the 24-hr restaurant Blue Lagoon or you can go for fine dining and have Kobe steak at the steakhouse, or prime abalone, or caviar in the other restaurants. So when you walk around the ship, you experience a great variety of tastes, smells, sounds and feelings.”
Mr Foster describes the interiors as “young, simple and refreshed” and says they are designed to fit the new lifestyle of today’s cruisers. He cites the restaurants as a prime example.
“People want to keep moving, they don’t have the patience and don’t want to be seated for a long time anymore. We have changed the table heights and the chair heights for Global Dream. The reason is, in the past, cruisers dressed up to have long and formal dinners, with a full set of tableware and a formal posture. When you sit like this, it’s too stuffy and too intimidating. Nowadays the guests are much more relaxed. Most of them will finish the meal with just a fork, or a pair of chopsticks.
“We now live much more casually, so we need to adapt accordingly. Traditionally the height ratio between the table and chair is 28 cm from the top of the seat to the top of the table. On Global Dream, we have reduced that to 26 cm, so people aren’t seated in a rigid way. Another reason is because a dining table is not only a dining table anymore. People live around the table now, they eat there, they use their mobile devices there, and they socialise there.”
This casual vibe is also reflected in furniture which is less bulky and more user-friendly. Mr Foster continues “Our cruise ships use state-of-the-art technology that enables smooth and stable sailing, so instead of the big and heavy tables and chairs, we will now use furniture that our crew staff can mobilise easily to cater to the needs of our guests, our guests can also move around the furniture to best accommodate their needs.”
Elsewhere, the ship has also moved away from traditional artwork and features art panels rather than framed paintings.
Mr Foster says “We don’t actually commission a lot of individual pieces of art anymore. We also focus on having a key iconic piece of art that can be a major photo opportunity on the ship, something iconic that can be the mascot of the ship, in a way.”
Turning to the cabins, he highlights the innovation of the two-bathroom cabin design and features that allow several people to get ready at once and have privacy.
“The unique split-bathroom design is a sensible and practical design that allows our guests to use the space simultaneously. The staterooms can also accommodate up to four with two full-sized king-size beds, one of which is a sofa bed that easily unfolds to sleep two comfortably. A thoughtful touch is a privacy curtain that can be closed to divide the room into separate seating and sleeping areas, making the cabins suitable for families and group travellers.
“This is a concept we have been working on for a long time, once we had the split-bathroom concept in place, it took a lot of work for us to put the rest of the room together.”
Quality control has been paramount through the project and Mr Foster adds, “We inspect at every level. If we are building a large room, we will have a section of the room pre-built for inspection, to check on the quality. The trial piece will be built as designed, and once we inspect the pre-built piece, we will be able to test and adjust the specifications accordingly.”
Theme park at sea
Global Dream’s most striking exterior feature is the theme park, which brought its own set of testing design issues.
“The safety of the theme park is our top priority, and one of the biggest challenges is with the technical specifications, especially with weight,” he says. “We are very lucky to have a fantastic team of naval architects, as well as great specialists at the shipyard. Based on the group’s background at Genting, we have also leveraged the company’s internal resources and consulted the experts from the Resorts World projects in Singapore and Malaysia.”
The park is certainly an apt high spot on a ship that has been designed to thrill and excite its passengers.