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  • Writer's pictureJason Leppert

TravelPulse Exclusive: Carnival Corp. Designers Discuss Cruise Ship Interiors and Tips

When Carnival Corporation presented a list of design tips for the home, we wanted to take it further and interview some of the designers directly, asking them about cruise ship design, inspirations and recommended research.

To start, the company originally presented the following five tips:

1. Step back and really look at your space and do a deep think about how you want to move within that space.

2. Be creative with color choices (you can always change your mind and repaint).

3. Design for yourself. If you love the design, it is successful.

4. Use inexpensive LED lights to highlight art and create other “wow” effects.

5. Too much of a good thing is not a good thing. Always simplify, edit and then edit again.

Now, to our in-depth exclusive interview with Petu Kummala, Director, Interior Design and Architecture, Carnival Cruise Line and My Nguyen, Holland America Line’s deputy director of interior design, as they each answer our set of questions below.

How do you deal with multiple designers across multiple onboard venues in order to maintain design harmony across the entire ship?

PK: “This can be challenging but the key for me is to have good communication and strong relationships with all the different designers which then enables them to have an open dialogue among themselves as well. I’ve always believed we are all a big team, from owners to designers to everyone at the shipyard building the spaces.

The goal is really not to have a look of similarity across all the spaces. There are so many different types of venues and it is important to differentiate, especially with the stand-alone spaces whereas the main core should have more harmony.”

MN: “We meet and have discussions in person and on the phone. Communication and development of a common umbrella theme and direction helps this process. Not every room has to look the same but we want to approach design with a common interpretation and overall design, and then we also have to keep checking and making sure we are staying focused.”

There seems to be a design shift away from the extravagant Joe Farcus approach to a more refined and modern aesthetic. How would you describe that evolution?

PK: “Much of this has simply stemmed from the evolution of design in general towards a simpler and modern direction which you can see in different fields of design around the world. This also began to occur with Joe’s designs when our approach shifted from a strong theme-based design. At the same time, it is important not to be too generic which can lead to boring. For longer cruises especially, we want our guests to discover something new in our designs even if it’s the last day of their cruise.”

MN: “For Holland America Line, we have always been more nautical and classic in our design approach. We design with bold patterned carpets, furniture in rich colorful hues and elaborate architectural details in the walls and ceilings. With Koningsdam and our major enhancements, we have embraced the modern aesthetic and looked at earthy tones, sleek curves, and modern lighting and art to incorporate into design elements. The end result, however, must be true to the Holland America Line brand so while the Koningsdam has a more modern appeal and is lighter in tones, it still feels like Holland America Line.”

How important is it to consider negative space within a limited footprint and not over-designing a venue?

PK: “It is very important, not only from an over-designing point of view but also from the standpoint of passenger flow, ease of movement throughout the space and the vessel overall.  We are limited with space and need to be very effective. From the pure design point of view,

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