LEADING INTERNATIONAL MARITIME MAGAZINE

YSA Design for cruise experience of a lifetime

Radical design thinking is pivotal in ensuring that the new generation of expedition ships taking adventurous cruise passengers closer than ever before to the remote wonders of nature can deliver truly life-changing experiences.

Whether the ships are bound for polar seas, the Galapagos Islands, the Amazon or the Mekong Delta, the designer’s job is to allow cruisers to get as close as possible to wildlife without distraction, or to focus on the spectacle at hand rather than the aesthetics of the viewing platform, according to YSA Design.

“The expedition cruiser will be a seasoned traveller who sets out in search of an experience of a lifetime or even a life-changing experience, and part of that is delivered by proximity to the elements and nature, or even ‘touching’ the water,” says Trond Sigurdsen, Chairman, YSA Design.

“For the designer, this means that the area for the launch and recovery of tender boats and Zodiacs is a significant feature. Again, passengers who come to see wildlife want to get close, which calls for open promenades low in the ship’s structure that do not block balcony views and provide access to the observation deck via stairs running under or behind the bridge wings, to follow creatures as they pass by.”

YSA Design has developed a series of features for ongoing projects that mean expedition cruise passengers can make the most of their surroundings. They include the ‘infinity pool’, installed low down at the ship’s stern and featuring a reinforced glass-side panel so that swimmers can take in the view close to the water level. Again, retractable marinas have quickly become expedition ship ‘must haves’.

“Luxury is a given, but these features also have the potential to change lives, because getting up close and personal with nature can bring home the effect of global warming,” says Mr Sigurdsen. The exhibition ship passenger also has expectations of authenticity. “They want to feel that they are on board a ship following the route of illustrious names in exploration, not floating on a self-contained holiday destination.” On one level, a passenger might need the space to get into a polar suit, either in his/her cabin or in a specially-designed mud room. On another, passengers buy into the concept of the ship’s voyage, on board a rugged vessel designed to instil confidence in its ability to handle rough weather.

A pioneering ‘look and feel’ is rendered by YSA Design in its selection of materials for interiors. “Where technical elements are prominent, we enhance the technical details as a decorative motif,” says Mr Sigurdsen. “We also use tactile and sustainable materials, or design elements such as sails and rigging if the intention is to amplify the relationship between man and nature.”

YSA Design also has been helping owners and shipyards to include shipboard laboratories to research surrounding waters, with results shared first with those on board. “These are inquisitive cruise passengers entertained by intellectual stimulation,” says Mr Sigurdsen. “They are best served by crystal clear acoustics in the lecture theatre, or perhaps multiple web-page browsing of wildlife species shown on immersive LED surround-walls, as already used to good effect on larger cruise ships.”