What is the significance of this? Most cruise lines maintain a basic superstructure pattern for only a few years, and then they move on to something completely new. But Carnival has been using the Destiny design since 1996. And it isn't because it could not be improved upon! At the bottom are two decks of staterooms, which are too low for balconies, so they have an abundance of the less desirable inside and oceanview cabins.
On Deck three is the design "flaw" which even after 12 years Carnival has yet to change. The deck has the bottom floor main entrance for both dining rooms. While the forward one is easily accessible from the atrium, the more elegant aft dining room with its commanding 270-degree window views has its main entrance at the bottom of a stairwell.
This entire dining room is so hidden from public view that most passengers get lost on their way to dinner every night. Before the dining room opens, the queue snakes up the stairs to an equally small space on the deck above. The problem is that the galley (kitchen), off-limits to passengers, sits right between the two restaurants with no way around it. One must walk down a deck or take the elevator one deck higher (a constant nuisance to other passengers) and walk down again.
This dining room situation has existed since Destiny debuted in 1996, and will still exist in 2009 with the Carnival Dream, even though Carnival came up with the perfect fix for this problem with the introduction of its own Spirit class in 2001.
The Spirit class basic floorplan ingeniously puts the galley on the lowest deck -- so no one ever has to go around it. All the public rooms are on decks two and three. Not only does the public get unimpeded access to the entire expanse of public rooms on these two decks, including the main entrances to both dining rooms, but also 90% of the staterooms are above the public room decks which means the vast majority of them have verandahs.
This brings up an important point. Carnival solved several basic challenges in ship design way back in 2000. They realized that public rooms that do not need opening windows; like the main theater, disco, casino and the galley, could go on the bottom decks. You then have far more decks for balcony cabins and you get unimpeded access to public rooms from bow to stern.
This basic design is the norm for most ships since 2000, including all of the Vista-class ships of Holland America and the beautiful Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 both have exquisite solutions to the problem of orphaned entrances to public rooms. They build long and narrow hallways around some of the larger rooms so one can bypass them without going up or down a deck. It should be noted that both Holland America and Cunard are owned by parent company Carnival Corp. They are sister companies to Carnival Cruise Lines, which means Carnival Cruise Line knows the answer, but they don't want to change their design.
Why not? Carnival is the most financially successful cruise line in the world, swallowing up most of their former competition. It appears they have a simple philosophy, don't make a design change that doesn't make the ship more profitable. Carnival has gone almost 20 years with three basic ship designs. They differentiate their ships by the furniture, drapes, artwork and color schemes, but in terms of super-structure they are nearly cookie-cutter. There must be a great deal of economy of scale, fiscally speaking, in that approach.
Continue Article >> Royal Caribbean Ship Designs (Part 3)