She is fantastic, she is stunning and I want to be on her now! No, not Jessica Simpson ……I am talking about the new Carnival Splendor. I am so very excited having toured the ship just now.

Tomorrow, I will slap on loads of photos but rather than me describe the areas and before I send in photos who better than to set the scene than the man who has put his heart and soul into the Carnival Splendor. This man has an incomparable passion and a unique vision and he has kindly taken his valuable time to talk to us.

I am therefore proud to introduce Joe Farcus, interior designer of the Carnival Splendor.

I was just onboard the Carnival Splendor on Monday.  It was special because she is close to delivery.  The mess and chaos are now almost all gone.  Chairs are coming in, the carpet is down, and the artwork is up.  It’s almost finished!  I was very happy indeed, not to mention excited.  I don’t think I have succeeded so well before to create an integrated piece of architectural art.  As you know I always start a project design with a Central Idea and in this case it was “Splendid Things.”  The weave of the various designs to achieve the Central Idea, has to be an interesting story to me, which unfolds to the guests during the time of their cruise.  I think we have a real page-turner here!  It’s fun and beautiful.

The Casino probably epitomizes fun in the biggest way.  There are the sculptural playing cards from a Royal Flush, leaping out of their two-dimensional surface into full form kings and queens beckoning the lure of the casino.  The story extends to Africa in Manhattan at the El Morocco Lounge.  The famous watering hole of Broadway stars, writers, and celebrities has been used for inspiration in designing this spot.  It’s really mysterious and romantic with zebra skin sofas as her antecedent.  The restaurants all feature the splendid pearl.  Gold, black, and pink pearls are all represented as they string their way through the three different restaurants.  They have tiny lights on their surfaces or in between to enhance their luster.  The colors are chosen from the sea with Caribbean turquoise and iridescent pink mother-of-pearl.  All of this is set a beautiful wood paneling.

The Atrium & Promenade are all rich, comfortable, & exciting too.  Copper, pink and black stained woods, brushed aluminum, and glossy black tiles create the atmosphere.  There are copper-leafed vaults and domes throughout and all with little color changing light bulbs in them.  The Atrium and Promenade are the greatest spots to sit and watch the world and other guests go by in an ever-changing environment.  Practically every corner is another place to discover and explore because of the ever-changing views and lighting.  My wife says that this and the rest of the ship especially to appeals to female sensibilities.  I’m very happy for this as I think male sensibilities are also part of the feelings onboard. 

The magradome area is really magnificent spatially and it is also beautiful.  (I am trying to be modest really).  With the moving skylight closed it will be the largest public room on the ship.  It is a food-fun-sun-pool-entertainment space, which also lets in the sun during cold or inclement weather.  This in the Baltics will open up a totally new dimension to these cruises.  We have taken the really successful main lidos of our ships and brought them up another notch or two.   When you add the two water parks (one for kids) and the expanded sports facilities, the Splendor moves to the head of the fleet.  The Spa is the largest we have ever done and is equipped and detailed in a way to stand up to the best at sea or ashore.

I really could go on and on and turn the architectural ‘book’ I first mentioned into a real book.  Honestly I just can’t put into a few words how pleased I am with this ship.  I have just been thinking about it over and over and cannot wait to see it when it is entirely finished at the end of the month.  Now I will answer the questions you have asked.

1. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Mr. Farcus. We are all very excited with the Carnival Splendor just weeks away. Can you tell us how long ago you started planning the interior for the Carnival Splendor?

THANKS FOR ASKING ME.  I STARTED DESIGNING THIS SHIP ABOUT 2 AND A HALF YEARS AGO.  THE DESIGN REALLY STARTED WITH ADAPTING SOME OF THE NEW IDEAS AND INCREASES IN SIZE INTO THE GAP OF THE SHIP.  THE MAGRADOME, THE NEW SUPPER CLUB LOCATION, AND THE NEW HUGELY EXPANDED SPA AREA WITH SPA CABINS ALL WERE PART OF THIS BEFORE THE DECORATION WAS DESIGNED.

2. Before we chat about the specifics, let’s talk about your bold colour schemes. They have helped Carnival ships stand out from the crowd and are certainly unique. When you were designing the Carnival Splendor’s interior what was your overall statement of intent with you design?

 I CHOOSE THE COLOR SCHEME NOT BE BOLD PER SE, BUT RATHER TO CREATE THE EMOTION OF THE EXPERIENCE OF THE CRUISE AND THE PARTICULAR PUBLIC SPACE ITSELF.  I SEE THE TERM OF THE CRUISE TO BE AN EXPERIENCE FOR THE GUEST AND I WANT TO DESIGN THAT EXPERIENCE WITH ARCHITECTURE & COLORS WHICH WILL MAKE IT EXCITING & MEMORABLE.  THE SHIP IS NOT YOUR HOME, BUT RATHER A MAGICAL PLACE TO ENJOY YOUR VACATION IN WHICH COLOR PLAYS A VERY STRONG PART.

 THE INTERIORS OVERALL REALLY FOLLOW THE STATEMENT ABOVE.  I THINK THAT THE ACT OF TAKING A CRUISE ALREADY TELLS ME THAT THE GUEST IS LOOKING FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT.  WHEN PEOPLE BOOK THE CRUISE THEY ARE BUYING INTO THE ROMANCE OF THE SEA IN MY VIEW AND THEREFORE THE DESIGN HAS TO TAKE THEIR FEET OFF THE LAND, THE NORMAL, AND TAKE THEM OUT TO SEA IN A VERY SPECIAL WORLD DESIGNED TO ENHANCE THAT INITIAL ROMANTIC AND NAUTICAL DESIRE.  THE SPLENDOR DOES THIS I BELIEVE.

3. Let’s start with the lobby. This is the heartbeat of the ship and I know you put your heart and soul into making this area something to talk about. What can you tell us about the Carnival Splendor’s atrium?

 THE LOBBY IS THE MAGNET OF THE SHIP AND ITS NERVE CENTER IF YOU WILL.  I SAY MAGNET BECAUSE IT’S SCALE, VOLUME, AND DÉCOR ARE CREATED TO IMMEDIATELY PULL IN THE EMBARKING GUEST.  THE GUESTS BEGIN EMBARKATION WITH A SENSE OF EXCITEMENT AND ANTICIPATION AND THE LOBBY AND ATRIUM BEING THE FIRST SPACE THEY EXPERIENCE MUST TAKE THOSE WONDERFUL FEELINGS AND REINFORCE AND ENHANCE THEM.  THE MATERIALS OF COPPER, PINK AND BLACK STAINED WOOD, BRUSHED ALUMINUM, AND BLACK GLOSSY TILES CREATE DRAMA & EXCITEMENT AND WILL FULFILL THE DRAW I WAS TRYING TO ACHIEVE AND INVITE A SENSE OF CURIOSITY TO EXPLORE THE SHIP.  THE LIGHTING ALSO ENHANCES THE DRAMA AND CREATES AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT SENSE OF BEAUTY AND EXCITEMENT AFTER DARK.  MY HOPE IS THAT THE GUEST IMMEDIATELY EXPERIENCES ALL OF THESE FEELINGS ALLOWING HIM OR HER TO IMMEDIATELY GET INTO THE CRUISE WITHOUT ANY WARM UP PERIOD.

4. We now move on to the hallways and corridors, which like one or two other areas of the ship feature one of my favorite colors, pink.  Pink represents health and happiness. Are these some of the emotions you were trying to convey with your designs for these areas?

ALL OF THE LOBBIES & STAIRS ARE SPLIT BETWEEN PINK, COPPER, SILVER AND BLACK.  IN FACT NO COLOR IS CHOSEN INDIVIDUALLY.  THEY ARE CHOSEN AS A COLLECTION THAT IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN ELEMENTS AND MATERIALS.  MY LAST ANSWER ALSO GOES INTO MORE DETAIL TO CREATE THE FEELING DRAMA AND EXCITEMENT.  THE SILVER COLOR BEING BRUSHED ALUMINUM ALSO HAS A REFLECTIVE QUALITY WHICH GIVES THE WALLS A LIVELY FEELING OF REFLECTED LIGHT.  PINK IS ALSO A VERY GOOD COLOR TO ENHANCE WELL BEING IN MY MIND. 

5. Onto my favorite area, the theatre. What can you tell us about what, I am sure, is yet another spectacular showroom?

 IN THIS CASE THE ‘SPLENDID THING’ WAS THE SHOW ITSELF.  CARNIVAL HAS ALWAYS BEEN NUMBER ONE IN ENTERTAINMENT AND I FELT THIS THEATRE SHOULD DO HOMAGE TO THAT FACT.  SO IN THIS CASE I TRIED TO CREATE THE FEELING THAT THE WHOLE ROOM ITSELF WAS A STAGE SURROUNDED BY THE PROSCENIUM CURTAIN. SO BASICALLY ALL OF THE WALLS HAVE BEEN CREATED AS SPARKLING, FLOWING, AND RIPPLING CURTAINS, WITH SIMILAR DRAPERY SWAGS ALL OVER THE CEILING.  THE CHANDELIERS ARE MY DESIGN OF DRAPING JEWEL STRINGS GOING INTO DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS.  THE EFFECT IS SPECTACULAR AND FIT FOR A SPLENDID SHOW.

 6. Cloud Nine Spa will be for many an area that will be something they will never forget.  What can we look forward to here?

SPACE AND MORE CHOICES THAN EVER.  AS I MENTIONED EARLIER THE CLOUD NINE SPA ON CARNIVAL SPLENDOR WILL BE CARNIVAL’S MOST EXTENSIVE AND I’M NOT 100% CERTAIN, THE LARGEST AT SEA.  IT IS CARRIED OUT IN A PAN-ASIAN THEME WITH PRECIOUS DECORATIONS & MATERIALS ALL SPRINGING FROM ETHNIC SOURCES FROM VARIOUS ASIAN LANDS. THERE ARE MORE TREATMENT ROOMS, A VERY LARGE THERMAL SUITE, A LARGER GYM WITH THE LATEST MACHINE TECHNOLOGY, THALASSOTHERAPY POOL, RASULS, SPINNING ROOM, ETC., ETC.  PLUS CARNIVAL HAS CREATED A GROUP OF SPA CABINS JUST BELOW THE SPA.  THEY ARE DECORATED IN AN ASIAN STYLE AS WELL TYING THEM INTO THE SPA.  SPA PACKAGES ARE PART OF BOOKING THESE STATEROOMS AND ACCESS TO THE SPA IS BY A PRIVATE GLASS ELEVATOR.  THE EXCITEMENT AND FANTASY WORLD ATMOSPHERE OF THE REST OF THE SHIP EXTENDS TO CLOUD 9 AS WELL.

7. Are there any other public lounges or areas of the Carnival Splendor that you are particularly proud of and would like to tell us about?

WELL I ALREADY SPOKE OF THE ROYAL FLUSH CASINO, EL MOROCCO, THE RESTAURANTS, AND ATRIUM PROMENADE.  THE DANCE CLUB, CALLED THE RED CARPET IS ALL ABOUT THE FAMOUS AND EXCLUSIVE RED CARPET.  PERMANTLY ENSCONCED IN FRONT IS A QUEUE OF BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE MANNEQUINS PERPETUALLY WAITING TO GET ON THE RED CARPET AND ENTER.  HOWEVER, WHEN YOU, AS A GUEST, WANT TO ENTER, YOU EASILY PASS AND A GROUP OF PAPARAZZI FLASH TO MARK YOUR ENTRANCE.  THE ROOM IS ALL SLEEK RED GLASS WITH POLISHED CHROME MOLDINGS AND BEAMS WITH ELECTRIC RED LIGHTS SNAKING THEIR WAY THROUGH THE CEILING BEAMS.  THE LIDO RESTAURANT IS ELEGANT PERHAPS THE MOST ELEGANT CASUAL RESTAURANT I’VE DONE.  BEAUTIFUL GLASS MOSAIC TILES ARE ARRANGED IN GEOMETRIC DESIGNS IN SOFT COLORS.  COPPER COLORED GOLD LEAF IS ALSO USED THROUGHOUT ON COLUMNS AND BEAMS. THE CEILING IS AN ETHNIC AFRICAN DESIGN AND RUNNING THROUGHOUT ARE DOTS OF HANDMADE ITALIAN MURANO GLASS BUTTONS.  THE RAILINGS AND PARTITIONS ARE MADE FROM SOFT YELLOW AND SOFT PINK GLASS VERTICAL LOUVERS IN A HERRINGBONE DESIGN.  THROUGHOUT ARE MURANO GLASS WALL SCONCES & CHANDELIERS.

8. You are certainly somebody who, I know, works so hard to provide a fun and unforgettable experience for our guests. I have to ask you, is there a particular place where you dream up these amazing designs? How do you then take those dreams and make them reality, what is the process?

 WHEN I WAS STUDYING ARCHITECTURE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, MY DREAM WAS TO EVENTUALLY WORK AT HOME.  WELL THAT’S WHAT I HAVE DONE FOR OVER 30 YEARS.  SO IT’S A DREAM COME TRUE FOR ME.  IDEAS COME TO ME ANYWHERE AND AT ANY TIME.  THE FIRST STEP IS TO IMAGINE AN OVERALL FEELING THAT I WANT TO CREATE.  THEN I COME UP WITH THE CENTRAL IDEA I MENTIONED EARLIER AND THEN FLESH OUT THAT IDEA INTO DIFFERENT ARCHITECTURAL FORMS & STYLES, WHICH HAVE EMANATED FROM THE INITIAL CONCEPTUAL IDEAS.  WITH THIS IN HAND I BEGIN THE DRAWING OR CREATING THE FINAL FORMS WHICH WILL MAKE UP THE ROOM.  WE MAKE DETAILED DRAWINGS OF EVERYTHING YOU SEE AND THEN WRITE SPECIFICATIONS FOR ALL OF THE MATERIALS.  IT ALSO INVOLVES SELECTING ALL OF THE FABRICS, CARPETS, AND CHAIRS FOR THE SHIP. THIS IS THE END OF THE DESIGN PHASE AND THE BEGINNING OF THE HARDEST PART, MAKING THE DESIGN COMES TO FRUITION.  THIS ENTAILS SEEMINGLY ENDLESS MEETINGS WITH THE SHIP YARD TO HASH OUT FINAL CONSTRUCTION DETAILS & MATERIALS.  THIS IS ALWAYS A SOMEWHAT DELICATE PERIOD AS COSTS ARE ALWAYS AN ISSUE.  HOWEVER WE GO THROUGH THIS PERIOD & ON TO THE FINAL CONSTRUCTION THAT GUESTS SAIL ON.  DURING THIS PERIOD WE DEAL WITH CONSTRUCTION OR COORDINATION PROBLEMS & INSPECT THE ACTUAL CONSTRUCTION FOR FLAWS OR MISTAKES.  IN OTHER WORDS IT’S A VERY MUCH HANDS ON PROCESS FROM FIRST THOUGHTS TO FINAL DELIVERY.
9. There must be so much pride in seeing your work finally unveiled to the Carnival guests. Do you ever sit in the lobby and watch people come on board and listen to their comments and look at their amazed faces when they see your latest work of art?

JOHN, YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD.  I DO THIS ALL THE TIME AND HAVE DONE SO FROM SHIP ONE. IT IS THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT OF ALL TO SEE GUESTS COMING ABOARD AND LOOKING UP IN WONDERMENT.  THE SHIP ITSELF METAMORPHOSIS FROM A MY PROJECT INTO THEIR SHIP.  I VERY MUCH LIKE THAT FEELING.  I BECOME LIKE A GUEST MYSELF AND CAN SIT BACK AND SAY HOW DID THEY DO THAT?  EVEN THOUGH I KNOW, IT’S STILL HARD TO BELIEVE.

 10.  We all thank you for what you have done in the past and look forward with anticipation to your next project, the Carnival Dream. So, just between and me and you and the 2.2 million readers, what can we look forward to on next year?

WELL I HAVE BEEN DREAMING ABOUT THAT AS YOU CAN IMAGINE.  I GUESS IT’S NO SECRET THAT CARNIVAL’S NEXT SHIP AFTER THE CARNIVAL SPLENDOR IS THE CARNIVAL DREAM.  I THINK ALL THAT I CAN SAFELY SAY NOW IS THAT SHE WILL BE ANOTHER SIGNIFICANT STEP IN CARNIVALS’ COMMITMENT TO THE LEADERSHIP ROLE IN THE MARKET.  THERE WILL BE NEW FEATURES THAT MAKES THIS SHIP INTO A NEW AND THE LARGEST CLASS OF CARNIVAL SHIP.  EVERYTHING WE HAVE LEARNED WILL BE PUT INTO HER.  I AM VERY EXCITED ABOUT HER AND HAVE SEEN HER BLOCKS RISING IN THE BUILDING DOCK.  WE WILL HAVE TO BE PATIENT.

Thank you Joe. We all salute your work and congratulations on another huge success.
Well, its bedtime for me. More tomorrow including photos of my new home.

Goodnight
Your friends
John, Heidi and Joe

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.