A Question Of Decor

Cruise ships often have more impressive décor than most shore-side buildings.  In fact it is often braver décor than most buildings have.

Many ships also have impressive art collections on board. Some ship even have art work on deck and sport impressive hull-art.

(Quantum's Bear - RCI Image)

(Quantum’s Bear – RCI Image)

How important is a ships décor really is to the passenger experience?

Cruise lines obviously think that the décor is VERY important, given the fact they spend millions of pounds/dollars on it and regularly undertake refurbishments, re-styling the decor.

I’ve certainly been on board ships where I  have loved the décor . I’ve also been on board ships where the décor has not generally been to my liking. However sometimes different public rooms are created by different designers, so it is very possible to love some rooms, think some are mediocre and dislike others – all on the same ship.

There certainly used to be a different between UK and US style  décor on-board ships.

P&O Orian Interior (1995, Courtsey Ian Boyle)

P&O Orian Interior (1995, Courtesy Ian Boyle)

For example P&O ships décor was regarded as rather tasteful to the reserved and often very traditional Brits, when compared to the Las Vegas ‘glitz’ of many American ships. However by American tastes it was understated’ or even bland.

Since Carnival acquired P&O and provided new mega-ships, we have seen more vibrant décor for British passengers. There have also been frequent visits of big US ships to UK ports offering cruises for Brits. I believe the British cruising masses are getting acclimatised to a more bold colour schemes and more glitz.

Carnival Sensation Atrium by J. Farcus (Courtesy Carnival)

Carnival Sensation Atrium by J. Farcus (Courtesy Carnival)

Joe Farcus, the American Navel Architect, has designed some mind-blowing interiors for Carnival and Costa ships. He calls it ‘Entertainment Architecture’. It’s very original, very colourful and often very loud.  It’s Las Vegas ‘Glitz’ in style with maybe a hint of psychedelia. His work is definitely not to every-bodies taste.

Décor and ‘taste’ changes over time, of course. I think the pure-glitz has gone out of fashion and in some cases is being replaced with a more sophisticated cappuccino-café style, as I call it.

For example the ‘Norwegian Cruise Lines’ (NCL) ships built between 2001-2007 (Star, Jade, Gem etc.) all have very colourful décor in places, not unlike Farcus’s work.

Norwegian Gem (Courtesy NCL)

Norwegian Gem (Courtesy NCL)

However NCL’s ‘Norwegian Edge’ which is a $400 million revitalization program of their fleet, will see the décor updated.  For example, the image above is Norwegian Gem’s original Atrium décor. Below is the refurbishment which less over-the-top, being more sophisticated.

Norwegian Gem (Courtesy NCL) Refurbished

Norwegian Gem (Courtesy NCL) Refurbished

So how important is the décor to you? Have you been on board a  ship where the décor was not to you liking? Do you love some ships décor?  Please tell me.

Malcolm

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8 Responses to “A Question Of Decor”

  1. Malcolm Oliver Says:

    Hi Jo, I enjoyed jade’s ‘Hawaiian’ inspired décor. I guess it has all been toned down now in her recent refit. I’d like to see what they have done, for better or for worse.

  2. Jo Walker Says:

    I loved the colour schemes on NCL Jade, but talking it over, I realised that the first home of my own was late 60s-70, when strong oranges and purple were fashionable- oh, I remember my pure orange curtains!…so perhaps Jade was appealing to my hippy years with all the bright colours. The carpets were magnificent, though, and I could have taken most of them home. I think carpets are the most important part of any room on a ship; you’re more likely to focus on them when you’re sitting down than the low ceilings.

  3. Malcolm Oliver Says:

    Hi Fredrick, Joe Farkus’s interiors for the Carnival ships were simply ‘mind-blowing’. In more recent years he deigned the interiors for the new Costa ships, which looked equally ‘colourful’. Mr. Farkus is quite elderly now, so maybe he has retired? However, I think the pure-glitz has gone out of fashion a bit and in some cases is being replaced with a cappuccino-café style.

  4. Fredrick V. James Says:

    A friend and I cruised on one of the Carnival ships, can’t remember which one. We were dumbfounded when we stepped aboard and saw that the entire ship was pink with a theme of pink and black zebra EVERYTWHERE! We ended up bonding with the other passengers that were walking around the ship laughing at the decor and made a point to avoid the ones we overheared admiring it! My God, the ship looked like a pinball machine.

  5. Malcolm Oliver Says:

    Thanks for the feedback Gillian. I quite a fan of the Olsen fleet, including Boudicca. In fact she may be my favourite?

  6. Gillian Walsh Says:

    Hello, back yesterday from a cruise on Fred. Olsen’s Boudicca which, in common with other ships in that line, has paintings and prints displayed in public areas.
    The Heligan restaurant is adorned with pictures of flowers and gardens inspired by the title with very strong use of colour and form but in the large area of a busy dining room you need to look to see.
    My favourite was a big print in blues of a simple wooden boat by the lifts on deck 8, sorry, I didn’t get the artist’s name but it was a restful and absorbing image.
    The sculpture of Boudicca herself, surveying the aft decks, is similar to other spirits of Olsen ships and also the Nureyev one on Marco Polo.
    I like the navy and white livery of Fred. Olsen and, in Getxo, Boudicca and Black Watch together looked very smart.
    Perhaps I’m fuddyduddy but good quality art inside and trim paintwork outside are my preference in decor.
    Viewed from outside, those big ships with huge splashes of colour across several storeys clash with the sea and, in particular, the sublime beauty of the fjords they might be on. But that’s just me.
    Kind regards
    Gill Walsh.

  7. Malcolm Oliver Says:

    Hi Edwin, yes I showed some examples of rather ‘American’ tastes in décor. What us Brits call ‘tasteful’, American’s often call ‘understated’ or even ‘bland’. I’m not anti-America but we sometimes have very different viewpoints of what looks good. However I think the cruising British masses are getting acclimatised to more glitz.

  8. Edwin Todd Says:

    Hi Malcolm, I like none of the decor you have shown. Have cruised on Discovery as well as Marco Polo and found the decor on both ships to be very much to my/our satisfaction.

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