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Futuristic Cruise Liners

Conference speech presented at the Seatrade Asia Pacific Cruise Convention (Singapore, 4-7 December 1996)

by Vittorio Garroni Carbonara (Garroni Progetti) (04-02-97)

Conte di SavoiaGarroni Designers is an architectural planning company established in 1971 in Genoa, Italy, and active in civilian architecture, passengers ship's and interiors design and decoration.
3 months ago we celebrated the opening session of the
Seatrade Mediterranean Cruise and Ferry Convention , in Genoa, producing the "Ocean Liners Dream" exhibition, which successfully closed a few days ago, was dedicated to the most beautiful italian liners which have asserted the Italian Style all over the world from before the war, in the thirties, until their decline, in the early seventies.

While running the slides showing the huge drawings (scale 1:100) that my staff expressly prepared for the exhibition, where you can see the Rex, the Blue Riland holder in 1931, her nearly sistership and competitor, the Conte di Savoia, both over 50,000 tons and 30 Kts, and then the after war liners as the much smaller sisterships Giulio Cesare and Augustus, the elegant but unlucky Andrea Doria, her major substitute, the Leonardo da Vinci, the twin Michelangelo and Raffaello, the unconventional late giants, again over 50,000 tons and 30 Kts, and also the early Costa Line vessels, I will try to explain why I dedicated such an effort in a historical research study to be exhibited at a Seatrade, that usually is adderessed more to the future than to the past and also why I use them to introduce my actual panel lecture on the futuristic cruise liners.

Not only a nationalistic pride moved me to present in a such a qualified international context the romantic old glories of the italian merchant marine (glorie della marineria italiana), but, mainly, because I am convinced that only a good knowledge of the past allows a conscious forecast on the future trends.

Setting themselves drawing an architectural project for a new vessel which will enter into service not earlier than three years later and which should remain operationally competitive for, at least, a further dozen years, it's as jumping straight into the future.
You have to take a long run so as don't jump too short or blindly on.
In the architectural design proceedings, to take a long run means to look carefully back to the past, to analyse the trends evolution in a sufficiently long period and then only, you will be consciously able to draw your line to the future.

This is what I try to make clear to my naval architecture students when I feel their anxiety to perfom a good design without previously having spent a sufficient time studying the history of design.

I will shortly introduce to your attention a couple of personal experiences which helped me a lot strengthening my opinions on the future trends of the cruise vessels.

Ten years ago, in 1986, I was invited by Mitsubishi Shipyards and NYK Line to participate to the Crystal Harmony's project: a new captivating adventure ranging from the brand new Crystal Cruises corporate image design until the ship design itself.Crytal Harmony

The Crytal Harmony is a myth. She is no t only the first large japanese owned and built cruise vessel, conceived for international operations, she is also a marvellous and perfect ship firmly keeping the top positions in the world cruisers classification.
Crystal Harmony established new parameters for luxury and comfort and she is still now considered a reference model.

I am proud to remember that I designed more than the half of the all passenger accommodations and that all the staterooms of any range and level were conceived in my office, while Tillberg, Hammer, Fletcher and BPW shared the public areas.
The Crystal Harmony got famous for the accuracy of her construction, carried out in Mitsubishi's Nagasaki shipyard but also for the high standard of the service on board and for the classy elegance of her staterooms.
Most of them have a wide private veranda terrace, extending a concept introduced in the Royal Princess. A wide double sliding door, totally glazed from floor to ceiling introduces to the veranda which also has a fully glazed bulwarks: you can have a look at the sea directly from your bed! It seems logical and simple but, despite the new regulations, this concept is still in the van even if you take in mind the latest cruise vessels such as the Sun Princess or the RCCL Visions.
It's a structural matter. Most of the ships include the veranda within the structure and you face the sea through a big squared hole in the ship's side. The steel frame surrounding that hole reduces the visibility either in the horizontal or the vertical plan.

In the Crystal Harmony, instead, the verandas are hinged out of the structure, are lighter and more transparent and allow an extraordinary visibility all around. Cabins are much brighter and, subsequently more cheerfull and nicer for living.
This kind of veranda is certainly more architectural and less naval than the recessed one, but this is a trend which will further develop in the future.
It started even earlier than the Crystal Harmony, may be at the time of the preliminary (but non adopted), rejuvenation study of the Norway, while converting from the former France; it was also the basic concept for the Phoenix mega project.
More and more lots of logical and practical civilian architecture elements are adopted in the ship construction: in the latest newbuildings you can find continuous glazed courtain walls, as on the RCCL Visions or Costa Marina; for example, you find also wire structured hinged textile covers for terraces such as on most of the Costa vessels and many other elements that it would be too long to describe now.

Coming back to the Crystal Harmony, cabins design too established a new reference standard. This happened surely in the overall dimensions which are always restricted but mainly in the arrangement and equipments.
Remembering that the cabin's width is the basic module for the total ship concept, frames and structure are based on that module and the total ship's General Arrangements plans are subsequently based on that module too.

The basic cabin is a box wich, in the luxury ships, has a width of more or less 2.6/2.7 m and a total depth, including the bathroom, of 6.0/6.5 m, for a total surface close to 17.0 sq.m.
Even if the passenger (the customer) is able to perceive in a glance how limited the cabin's dimensions are he will feel a negative sensation. A perfectly squared bedroom mesuring 2.6 by 5.0 m, twice longer than wide, will emphasize that awful box effect sensation.
In the Crystal Harmony we introduced what we call the diagonal cabins concept: the cabin's arrangement plan is made by slanding (oblique) lines. Getting rid of the radicated and useless squared angle scheme, the space becomes much more efficient and attractively dinamic for the passenger's perception. It's not easy to design but effective.

As far as the equipments list are concerned, I give only two examples: besides TVs with or without VCR, frigobars or the total length extension of the rods in the wardrobes, before the Crystal Harmony,the bathrooms of basic cabins, usually had just a shoer, not a bath tub, and a simple stool was the only seating facility for the beauty desk. By an accurate design, we introduced a small and easy to store but still comfortable arm chair instead of the stool and, what I called diagonal concept, enabled us to introduce a tub in the bathroom, which is now a standard for many ships, but requires a few centimetres more in the overall depth extention of the cabin.

This mention to the old liners and retrospective look to the personal previous experiences gives us a glimpse on the future trends for equipments and facilities, oriented to maximise the comfort and slightly increase the dimensional standards.
While talking about luxury and comfort, let me, please, show just some images of the Lady Crystal, a corporate yacht that my office totally designed in the outlines and interiors for the NYL Line.
This small vessel is based in Tokyo - Shinagawa, a recently developed central area, and is conceived to perfom several cruises per day in the Bay of Tokyo, mainly at lunch or dinner time, but also for tea time or after dinner.
The outlines shape is determined by the limited clear height under some bridges that she crosses in her route. Due to that, both the mast and the decorative upper wings are retractable.
The Lady Crystal is, in fact, a sophisticated floating restaurant and club and inaugurates a formula getting more and more popular in the most important asian cities.
In order to get a wider overlook on the future trends for cruise vessels, I move now from detail subjects to a lot more general problems, talking about another unusual personal experience, still in Japan.

Just after the Crystal Harmony, I have been involved in a huge project of a theme park named Huis Ten Bosch. To have an idea of this sides, the total investment went over five billion dollars, more than the ten cruise vessels cost!
Huis Ten Bosch is a town able to accomodate 40.000 people about, both staff and visitors. It's located in the Omura Bay, improperly known as Nagasaki Bay, with a catching landscape and famous also for the cultivation of the well renowned pink pearls.
The site area was prepared a couple of decades ago for unlikely industrial settlement. The project has later been converted in a recreational theme park for daily or overnight holidays, imaging an european town, in scale 1 to1, inspired to Amsterdam and to the dutch culture, that being the only permitted influence in Japan from abroad at the Shogun's time, is entered in the japanese history.

Huis Ten Bosch is made by buildings and palaces, all of them strictly dutch stiled or perfect replica of the historical existing ones in Holland, surrounded by roads, avenues, squares and also canals. In Huis Ten Bosch there are many hotels, restaurants and bistros, shopping centres and arcades, market places, museums and a good number of recreational facilities.
Huis Ten Bosch is totally friendly towards the environment and not a single drop of water compromizes the delicate ecosystem of the Omura Bay. Below the historical city, under squares, streets, and canals, there is a technological city using tunnels to link every single building to a main general power plant.
Why to show Huis Ten Bosch in this panel discussion devoted to marittime problems? Because Huis Ten Bosch is similar to a possible configuration of a ship of the future and will be taken as a model for the future ships, either for it's thematic or environmental solutions.

I foresee two different trends for the cruise liners in the future:
- one is the classical typology of ships conceived to carry passengers along attractive routes, with interesting ports of call. This is what I name the travelling cruisers and they should not exceed much more over the 50,000 tons, especially for the asian and south asian markets, in order don't overcrowd and damage the existing natural and human environment.
In the images there is one of such kind of vessels, smaller in dimensions, which has been designed in my office for mediterranean cruises, and the famous and much bigger futuristic project designed by Kvaerner Masa yards.

- I illustrated Huis Ten Bosch because the second trend for cruisers that I foresee is a recreational theme ship, a sort of floating theme park where the major interest for the passenger is the ship itself, more or less indipendently from his itinerary.
It's the case of the Phoenix project, but also it's the tendence of the Carnival cruisers (especially the Destiny), and the Disney cruisers.
Those ships are end will be much bigger than the travelling ones, well over 100,000 tons, as for the RCCL Eagle project, but should become more thematic and environmentally friendly.
Will this kind of ship become an artificial island?
In a few years we will have the reply.

For further information:
Garroni Progetti, phone +39 - 10 583427, fax +39 - 10 583761

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