The Cruise Ship Interiors Awards were a muchneeded breath of fresh air in the midst of a damning, gruelling year for the cruise sector. Initially set to take place in Florida and later turned into a YouTube live event, the first edition of the awards was a welcome reminder of the industry’s achievements despite the misfortunes caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Having collected over 5,000 votes across 19 different categories ranging from best cabin, spa and outdoor design to furniture, art and lighting, the awards were a testament to cruise’s desire to get back on its feet. While nominees and industry leaders were not able to attend in-person, the Cruise Ship Interiors Awards managed to raise the sector’s spirits by highlighting its greatest designs, projects and achievements.

Best New Build

Virgin Voyages, Scarlet Lady
It has been a strange introduction for Virgin’s debut ship, launched on the cusp of lockdown, but there can be no denying its success in bringing something entirely new to market. In the words of the award announcer, Trimline co-chairman Mike Oliver, this was received for creating a “boutique hotel vibe at sea, while not compromising on scale”.

The ship was long anticipated for bringing a fresh approach to cruising that appeals to younger generations. Among its most attention-grabbing features are nightclub space The Manor, an outdoor running track and on-board wellness programme called ‘Vitamin Sea’, and a ship-wide plastic ban.

Best Dry Dock

MJM Marin, Norwegian Joy
The Norwegian Joy Westernisation Project was described by Colin Gant, Norwegian Cruise Line’s former VP of vessel refurbishment, as “a challenging and complex project large in scale and short in time, requiring meticulous planning and execution by a top tier outfitter. MJM Marine bring scale, experience, skill and ability to think outside the box to pull off a project of this magnitude.”

With just nine months from contract signing until delivery, this project spanned three continents, six countries and incorporated a dry dock, a wet dock and in-service works in a 42-day timeframe. Forty separate spaces were refurbished by a 1,400-strong team representing 16 different nationalities. This mammoth project challenged every aspect of MJM Marine’s operation from planning and design through to procurement, logistics, production, HR, finance, contract management and installation.

The end result was a ship of ‘new-build’ quality, described by NCL president and CEO Andy Stuart as “innovative” and “incredible”, and ranked number one for guest satisfaction across the Norwegian brand.

Best Public Space

Carnival Cruise Lines’ Havana Bar and Pool Area
As announced during the event, Carnival Cruise Line’s Havana Bar and Pool Area bagged the Best Public Space award thanks to its ‘intriguing design’, which used ‘postcards and original literature as well as staple colours and tiling to transport guests to a cocktail bar in Cuba in an instant’.

The area was created by Carnival’s in-house team, and evokes the atmosphere of Cuban bars and restaurants with artwork depicting famous landmarks, traditional cocktails and live Latin music. There is also space for outdoor seating where guests can enjoy panoramic poolside views. Around the area are also tropics-inspired staterooms and suites decorated with open-air patios, swing chairs and rainforest showers.

Best Restaurant Design

De Jorio Design International, Champagne Bar, MSC Seaside
Italian cruise, yacht and concept design company Studio De Jorio International received the Best Restaurant Design award for the mesmerising Champagne Bar onboard MSC Cruises’ MSC Seaside. Sitting at the heart of the ship and linked to other decks via a lavish Swarovski staircase, the bar aims to recreate that ‘champagne mood’ typical of stressfree holidays. The area features a long and curved bar counter, crush tables with stools and a sitting area with armchairs and sofas offering panoramic ocean views. All elements have a colour palette, texture and design that evoke the elegance of a glass of champagne.

“Glamour, bubbles and ice, as well as food like oysters, caviar, canapes and appetisers, are the usual images that come up to our minds when we think of champagne,” the designers wrote in their pitch for the award. “To recreate such images, we chose an abstract and contemporary design to help us give the idea of an irregular and cold matter like ice, smooth and sinuous as a whole, sharp and jagged when it is broken into pieces.”

Best Art

Volume Creative’s ‘Washed Up’
London-based design studio Volume Creative is the mind behind Washed Up, the 3D nautical artwork that won the awards’ Best Art category. Welcoming guests at each stair lobby of Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady, the artwork uses natural objects found washed up from the ocean to give clues about the passenger’s location.

“One lift core frame is created from natural objects like corals and shells found washed up on beaches whereas the other focuses on man-made items found at the shoreline,” the cruise line explained. “Objects were carved out of clay to create a fibreglass mould, before being fixed onto a geometric framework.”

Best Outdoor Space

SMC Design, The Lido
Inspired by British outdoor swimming pools and with a distinct Art Deco feel, The Lido, on board Saga Cruises’ Spirit of Discovery, comprises of sun loungers and deck games to create an easy atmosphere, while in the evening the bar area supports a dynamically lit stage area sat beneath the ship’s statement funnel.

At the centre of the space is a 60m2 pool surrounded by a charcoal-coloured Bolidt bench and petrol-blue border lines. Nearby, two jacuzzies sit under a tensile canopy structure with showers hidden behind glass blocks, allowing natural light to illuminate the shower area but also providing privacy to the guests within.

Flanking the pool is an array of sun loungers and lounge sofas to accommodate both the sun and shade seekers with views inboard and also out to sea. Traditional deck games also take place here, with shuffleboard providing a timeless and popular event.

The winners in full:

  • Best Cabin: Studio DADO, Sky Princess Suites
  • Best Restaurant: De Jorio Design International, Champagne Bar, MSC Seaside
  • Best Spa/Wellness: Virgin Voyage and Knibb, Redemption Spa
  • Best Public Space: Carnival Cruise Line, Havana Bar & Pool Area
  • Best Outdoor Space: SMC Design, The Lido
  • Best Furniture: Piaval, Macaron Collection
  • Best Floor Covering: G Theodor Freese
  • Best Lighting: Precosia, Tillberg Design and We Are Light, Norwegian Bliss
  • Best Bathroom: Eumar Design, Marella Explorer 2
  • Best Art: Volume Creative, Scarlet Lady
  • Best Innovation: Interior Proman, Limartec Wood Veneer Systems
  • Sustainable Product of the Year: Magicman
  • Best Dry Dock: MJM Marine, Norwegian Joy
  • Best Rebrand: Trimline, Marella Explorer 2
  • Best New Build: Virgin Voyages, Scarlet Lady
  • Best Signage: SMC Design, Spirit of Discovery
  • Legend of Design: Giacomo Erasmo Mortola
  • Rising Star: Callie Tedder-Hares
  • Unsung Hero: Jon Ingleton