Cruising with Chinese characteristics

YSA Design is fully immersing itself in the exciting opportunities and new challenges emerging from China when it comes to the cruise industry. Commercial sensitivities mean we cannot fully disclose our activities so far, but a combination of study trips and diligent research have seen us fully prepared when it comes to adapting existing ships for this new market, and available for selection for forthcoming newbuilds.

In fact, as one of the world’s leading cruise ship design studios, YSA Design is among only a handful of companies engaged in newbuilding and refitting projects from concept to delivery, liaising with owners, architects, engineers, yards and subcontractors. Earlier this year we made a significant design and project management step forward in China, when a well-known cruise ship owner undertook to “rip-out” and reconfigure the main pool deck for a Chinese audience at a Chinese shipyard.

The project, we believe, provides invaluable experience in a market where we have already discerned the very different ways Chinese passengers use space onboard cruise ships. For example, outdoor exercising and dancing in formation are in, as is card-playing and picnicking in small groups; sunbathing is – more or less – out.

The traditions of a Chinese audience are distinct: the Asian cruiser is likely to respond well to wide entrances that evoke energy flow, but may be less amenable to sharp edges or design angularity, for example. The colour palette may be skewed towards red, for good fortune, but should avoid “overkill”.

Our task is to strike a balance between aesthetic and functional requirements for this new audience, which requires different types of dining experiences, retail spaces, entertainments and areas for group activities. For YSA Design, expectations for 2018 suggest that our involvement in the Chinese market to date is only a beginning.