Award-winning design companies Omega Architects and YSA Design have combined their respective expertise in yachts and cruise ships to create an eye-catching ‘Boutique Cruise-liner’ concept which promises the exclusivity of luxury yachting to high-end cruise clientele.
YSA Design has been at the heart of multiple award-winning cruise ships, with references including distinctive river cruisers for Viking Longships, MSC Europa, NCL’s Norwegian Prima and Holland America Line’s flagship Rotterdam, as well as other household names. Omega’s 40 exterior design awards include an Invictus Award for the most innovative yacht (Home), a World Superyacht Award and Showboats Design award (Sibelle) and an International Superyacht Society Design Award for Best 65m+ Power Class yacht (Galactica Star).
In a challenging business period for largest yachts and small cruise ships, Omega Architects Founder and Lead Architect, Frank Laupman, says the unique concept is the timely result of a long-running conversation between the two companies. The Dutch company has already developed an exterior concept for the Boutique Cruise-liner, with Oslo-based YSA Design taking responsibility for GA development, cabin and suite lay-outs, guest flow-through and SOLAS compliance.
“There’s an exciting market opportunity for a small cruise ship with the characteristics of a luxury yacht in its DNA,” says Laupman. “A strict division of public and private spaces provides the key to ensuring that the attractions of the yachting experience are available to premium-end cruise guests.”
“Premium cruise guests are always open to the offer of fresh luxury experiences, and we are delighted to partner Omega in offering the very best in yacht and cruise ship design in a single concept,” says Jan Krefting, Chairman, YSA Design. “Our contribution draws on YSA’s near 40-year track record in designing for cruise ship spaces, owners and builders and – critically – for safety of life at sea.”
The new concept locates all cabins and suites in a mid-section where an individual fire zone 2 provides the limit for the length of the hotel block and which also includes a separate block for power. Meanwhile, the ‘yacht DNA’ is embodied in the public spaces aft, from the sun deck, down to a beach club deck near the water level, in what Laupman describes as a “blanket of entertainment”. “Designs for the bow and stern will be tuned to the philosophy and revenue model of the ship,” he adds.
In combination, the bow, hotel block, power block and stern will define the ship’s exterior but YSA Design’s 3D modelling will bring refinements. The company has modelled a first variation – an 8-deck ship accommodating 200 guests. Other variations could include ships with smaller capacity for a mixed business model of corporate charters interspersed with seasonal direct bookings.
“It’s been clear post-pandemic that demand for high-end, small scale luxury cruising is a growth area, and that people want increasingly special experiences,” says Anne Mari Gullikstad, Chief Executive Officer, YSA Design. “A growing cruise constituency seeks to ‘custom-build’ vacations.”
Design work will also focus on sustainability, and how best to accommodate lower carbon fuels, power sources including batteries and fuel cells. “It’s also fair to say that builders of high-specification ships other than the traditional cruise shipyards can compete for the Boutique Cruise-liner,” adds Gullikstad.