While Joe Farcus has been the "one-and only" interior designer on Carnival Cruise Line's newbuildings and refurbishments since 1977, the cruise industry has been dominated by European naval architects and designers. After all most of the ships are created and built in Europe. Nevertheless American designers if not yet naval architects are emerging on the scene.
The contemporary American flair on Chandris Cruises' new Horizon was provided by the Florida-based design firm of Patricia Hayes & Associates, commercial interior designers who have specialized in cruise ships.
Working parallel to the Greek firm of A & M Katzourakis, John Mc Neece of England, and Jon Bannenberg of Germany, Patricia Hayes was responsible for decks 11 and 12 on the new 46,811-ton, 1,354-passenger vessel, including the outdoor pool area and Coral Seas Cafe and Bar on deck 11; the Mast Bar, teen arcade, health spa and sauna, and outside deck space on deck 12.
"I have transferred my 12 years of hospitality design experience from hotels and restaurants to cruise ships," said Hayes. She explained that her philosophy is to create an undercurrent of elegance with design and materials that also hold up to wear. Hayes said that her cruise ship expenence was diversified. "We have done everything from luxury suites and casinos to crew quarters," she said.
Hayes was assigned after having done refurbishment work on other Chandris vessels. She had previously also worked on refurbishment of Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Viking Line and Premier Cruise Line vessels.
Other American designers who have established themselves in the cruise industry include the Los Angeles firm of Ellerbe Becket and Associates, interior designers on Princess Cruises' Star Princess, while Baltimore-based The H. Chambers Co. is responsible for the interior design of the new Crown Princess and the Regal Princess. Cathy Stites, Director of Marketing, said that The H. Chambers Co. had also proposed an evaluation program of the existing Princess fleet to develop a plan for future refurbishments.
Meanwhile, the Miami-based design group Howard Joyce of Joyce/Snoweiss has been hired by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line to work on both the Monarch of the Seas and the Majesty of the Seas.
Howard Jojce of Joyce/Snoweiss said that the firm's involvement in the cruise industry started nine years ago with refurbishment of the older vessels in the RCCL fleet. Joyce also said that the firm had developed a five-year masterplan for refurbishment whereby the actual work was done during drydock time without the loss of a "single passenger dollar." Joyce/Snoweiss also participated in the refurbishment and transformation of the Stardancer into the Viking Serenade.
On the new, large newbuildings, Joyce said that Joyce/Snoweiss would be part of a team of six to seven firms.
If there is one trait that is characteristic to Carnival it is that once people are onboard they tend to stay. And Joe Farcus has worked on every one of their ships since 1977. "It is fortunate that my client share my philosopy," he said. "When it comes to the interior design of the ships, whether small or large, the key is knowing what you want and putting it on paper without vacillating."
Farcus said that it was not necessarily an advantage being an American designing for American passengers. "The designer's personality is more important," he said. "I imagine what people want to do aboard the vessel."
Farcus said that the now-famous neon light system aboard the Fantasy was designed to create passenger awareness by changing time elements. "By creating different colors (slowly, almost imperceptibly) throughout the day we enhance the feeling of changes," he said. He explained that by mixing the three primary colors in various combinations, all colors of the spectrum are possible. Janse LichtReklame of Holland produced the system.
The neon system is featured in the ship's six story atrium where the colors reflect off white and light-grey decor. "No one can pass through the atrium, which is called the Grand Spectrum, without being affected in both mood and senses," Farcus said.
Other features of the 70,367-ton, 2,600-passenger Fantasy include an enclosed 450-foot promenade providing access to most of the public rooms; what is said to be the largest casino afloat; and a series of themed public rooms, for instance, the Cats Lounge, inspired by the Broadway musical. Farcus said that "everything should not be apparent once the passenger comes aboard." He wants the passenger and the ship to become interactive. He said he wants the passenger to be a subtle participant rather than passive.
Farcus said that he would also design the main lounge and the disco observatory lounge on the new ships being built for Holland America Line at Fincantieri.
As desiers usually specify furnishings, Farcus noted that "lots of people approach me" and said that he usually will look at what they have to offer and then put it in his "library" for future reference.
The American design firms vary in size from Joe Farcus who said that it was mainly his wife and himself to Patricia Hayes and Associates which is a six person firm while Joyce/Snoweiss has 35 persons and The H. Chambers firm has 60 including 20 designers.
According to Hayes, cruise ship design is "an extension of the work she has been doing in the hospitality industry, although much more specialized and demanding."