Cruise Industry

Coronavirus pandemic is likely to have a lasting impact on cruise ship design

The design of cruise ships is likely to change in future due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, according to AMK Architecture & Design.

The leading cruise ship design firm told Cruise Industry News that designers working hard on a number of potential modifications aboard, including new solutions to reduce the need for touch interaction.

Grand Pacific aboard Norwegian Jade

Tables in dining rooms on cruise ships may be spaced further apart, possibly with glass dividing screens between them

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They also want to make surfaces and other frequently touched points virus resistant and shape the layout of areas of the ship so as to enable safe and at-distant flow of passengers and crew, without sacrificing socializing.

This might include new anti-microbial carpets in public areas and cabin corridors and exit points fitted with automatic doors operated with photocell, avoiding unnecessary contact.

Ensuite bathrooms in cabins will do away with shower curtains and use more contactless faucets

Avoiding contact surfaces is one of the most important elements, according to Lindsay Tan, associate professor and interior design program coordinator at Auburn University College of Human Sciences.

“Based on what we know so far, one of the ways the virus can be spread is by touching contaminated surfaces. We touch a lot of surfaces in our day-to-day life,” she told Commercial Interior Design.

And AMK Architecture & Design plans for this to be extended into bathrooms, which can be modified on cruise ships for touch free operation of faucet and flush and shower glass dividers instead of curtains.

Automatic doors, such as those found aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s new ships, will become more common

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Cabins might see a new hall storage area for clothes and shoes worn prior to entering the cabin.

This storage area could also be used by crew leaving food or linens in a quarantine scenario, whether that be Coronavirus or, more commonly, norovirus.

The accommodation areas for crew could also be redesigned to allow adequate self-distancing, while select inside cabins could be reserved for potential quarantine scenarios.

In the public areas, the firm said that restaurant and dining spaces will likely see smaller table sizes, with tables spaced further apart and glass screen dividers between tables.

The design firm also is preparing concepts for pool areas, utilizing cabanas instead of lines of lounge chairs. They also expect a shift in entertainment to more open-air show theatres with weather protection.

Cruise lines are going to need more space for medical facilities aboard as well, AMK noted.

“The increased footprint of the medical areas will be followed by the need for additional medical crew and separated cabins from the rest of the crew,” it told Cruise Industry News.

“Provisional quarantine quarters can be established so as to enable safe short to medium term protective measures, at a short distance from the medical bay reducing the movement of medical personnel in commonly used areas of the ship,” it added.

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