As the doors opened on the second day of Cruise Ship Interiors Expo Europe, visitors, exhibitors and speakers alike filed in for another day of exhibiting, learning and connecting.

Specifications & Procurement Processes

First up was a session titled ‘Specifications & Procurement Processes’, with a panel of esteemed speakers moderated by Petra Ryberg (P&O Australia) and including Alexis Gouilly Frossard (Kettal), Angelica Bapty (Genting Hong Kong), Antonio Di Nenno (MSC Cruises), and Daniela Herget (Quark Expeditions).

Petra kicked off the day by asking the question on everyone’s lips – how do you connect with the cruise lines? The panel discussed the difficulty of the market due to the certifications needed and regulations in place, and expressed that suppliers need to be mobile and have an international supply. Daniele Herget recommended to anyone wanting to break into the cruise industry to go on a cruise themselves and experiences the things that a guest needs.

speakers on stage cruise ship interiors
Petra Ryberg moderating the panel for ‘Specifications & Procurement Processes’

Durability was a key theme of the conversation. Angelica Bapty suggested that suppliers spend time educating their clients on how their products are durable and how they are designed in such a way that means they can handle and withstand high traffic. Understandable numeric data, she says, can help with a client’s understanding of a supplier’s products.

The Q&A section prompted discussion on sustainability; Antonio di Nenno said that it is certainly something that cruise lines would be covering from now on. The subject of durability resurfaced – this time with the focus on bathroom fittings. The session ended with an audience member questioning how to break into the market, asking how do you meet the people behind the doors? Antonio di Nenno replied “[at this exhibition] you will find most of the people that will be behind the doors you’re knocking on”.

River Cruise Experience

Next up the conference focused more closely on the river cruise market, with Eleonora Brugnolotto (Crystal Cruises) moderating David McCarthy (AD Associates) and Lauren West (AmaWaterways) for ‘River Cruise Experience’.

The conversation started with an exploration of space considerations, with McCarthy noting that the key aspect of river cruising in Europe is that you are limited with the size of the vessel. Lauren West mirrored this, saying that with limited venues on board, it’s important that spaces can be flexible and repurposed during the day – such as a moving floor of a swimming pool, which when raised repurposes it into a cinema. McCarthy suggested that space saving techniques used for technical parts on board river vessel can be transferred to ocean ships.

The discussion moved on to refurbishments. West pointed out that a benefit to the river cruise industry was the refurbishment timetable – with river cruising only being possible in the months March to December, there is a two-to-three-month gap in the timetable each year used for refurbishments. This means refurbishments can be planned far in advance – and as they are on a smaller scale than ocean cruisers, materials can be re-used instead of replaced, leading to less waste and vessels that are in tip-top condition all season.

Streamlining the Refit Process

Speakers returned to the stage for the next session, ‘Streamlining the Refit Process’. Joanna Knight (JK Interiors) moderated a panel made up of Adrian Hibbert (Marella Cruises), Andy Yuill (SMC Design), Bas Loohuis (Damen Cruise), Charles Rae (Hammer Carpets), and Michael Oliver (Trimline).

speakers on stage cruise ship interiors
Joanna Knight moderating ‘Streamlining the Refit Process’

Starting by exploring the owners’ process from concept to placing orders, the panel discussed the best ways to ensure time was used efficiently during a refit. Michael Oliver believed it was necessary to start as early as possible with refurbishments – the earlier you can get the team together, the better. This was received well by the panel, with Adrian Hibbert suggesting that suppliers need to make sure that they understand the needs of the cruise industry.

Charles Rae highlighted that his time-saving technique started back at the factory through clear lines of communication between all involved parties. His real-life example was a contract in which communication between himself and other parties meant that he could cut his carpets to size and label them dependent on cabin – meaning that when they came to be fitted on the vessel, time was saved and waste was reduced.

Design Imperatives for Expedition Interiors

After a complimentary lunch for VIPs, Speakers and Exhibitors, the conference hall filled up once again for ‘Design Imperatives for Expedition Interiors’. A panel of Daniela Herget (Quark Expeditions), Anu Shaw (Kudos Design), Eleonora Brugnolotto (Crystal Cruises), Fredrik Johansson (Tillberg Design), and Stefanie Jentz (Hapag-Lloyd Cruises) took to the stage to focus on the expedition cruise market.

As the panellists dove into the subject of space considerations to allow for effective operations, the differences and similarities between expedition and river were immediately clear. Daniela Herget noted that expedition vessels were a unique mix between minimalism, due to space constraints, and luxury, due to demands from clientele for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Conversation between the panellists flowed, accompanied by an image slideshow of Arctic exteriors and vessel interiors – with the conversation revolving around expedition vessel design being inspired by natural form, the images represented the mirroring of design to the natural world. Panellists acknowledged the importance of the Arctic code and that a vessel should leave no trace. This mentality had to be incorporated into design – with Stefanie Jentz mentioning that mud-rooms and cleaning rooms had to be designed for expedition vessels with the Arctic code in mind – a facet of design that wouldn’t occur on ocean ships due to the lack of these facilities.

The floor opened to questions, and the psychology of designing smaller spaces was mentioned. Jentz noted that friction will always be present on board a smaller ship, and Eleonora Brugnolotto mirrored this with a solution, saying “Ships cover different cultures – in terms of design, it’s a great responsibility as owner and designer to understand the difference in cultures and create an environment that is comfortable for everyone.”

Future Global Outlook

For the final session of the day, and of Cruise Ship Interiors Expo Europe, a panel of top cruise ship interior designers took the stage to predict the future in ‘Future Global Outlook’. David McCarthy (AD Associates) moderated Andy Yuill (SMC Design), Greg Walton (Studio DADO), Anne Mari Gullikstad (YSA Design), Marco de Jorio (De Jorio Design International), and Duo Yang (Kuhne Logistics University) for a discussion on current and future trend drivers.

With a broad range of subjects to discuss, including how ships are expected to change in the future and how this will have an impact on interior design, the panel jumped right into future-gazing.

David McCarthy kicked off the session, starting a discussion on the future of sustainability in the cruise industry. The panel agreed that the next demographic of passengers will be those who currently belong to the younger generations – and that they will ask about the carbon footprint of their cruise and choose the most eco-friendly cruise lines.

question cruise ship interiors
An audience member asks a question to the panel

The conversation moved on to the diversification of the marketplace – with new, niche markets coming into play, the cruise industry is continuing to expand. David McCarthy made the point that the order books for the major yards are all full for the coming years, and that this is leading to the rise of smaller shipyards. Andy Yuill countered that the smaller yards will need infrastructure – which can come from existing contractors.

This segued nicely into a presentation from Duo Yang on the rise and the potential of the Chinese market. Yang said that the Chinese Government is pushing to expand the ship refurbishment market in the country and that they are finding solutions to customs challenges to ensure the growth of the market. McCarthy asked what the Chinese market would expect from interior design, leading to a discussion about the cultural differences of markets around the world.

Returning to sustainability, Greg Walton shared his opinions on the future of cruise design. Walton believes that the recent move towards LNG-powered vessels will be overtaken by the improvements in fuel cell technologies – leading to a more environmentally friendly industry. He says, “The way people travel is beginning to change – over the next 5-10 years we will be seeing a dynamic shift. There are innovators in the cruise industry that see this as a beacon on the horizon.”

See you next year…

And with that, another fantastic day of conferences at the Cruise Ship Interiors Expo Europe came to a close. The sessions at this inaugural European event have been of world-class standard, captivating audiences and prompting fevered discussion from visitors and exhibitors around the future of the cruise industry and its ships interiors. We can’t wait to see you all in Miami in June for Cruise Ship Interiors Expo America and London in December for Cruise Ship Interiors Expo Europe.