Carnival's upcoming LNG-fueled ship gets splash of color

|
The final design of the Carnival XL ship picks up the red in Carnival's traditional color palette and the blue from its officer uniforms.
The final design of the Carnival XL ship picks up the red in Carnival's traditional color palette and the blue from its officer uniforms.

Carnival Cruise Lines' first ship fueled by liquid natural gas, debuting in 2020, will also be the line's first vessel with a hull painted a color other than white, giving it a look that separates it from the rest of the fleet. 

The 180,000-gross-ton ship, designated the XL for now, will sport navy blue on its bow, a color which then tapers as it moves toward the back of the ship to become a thin stripe over the waterline. The blue is bordered by thin red and white stripes. 

"What it does, in a way, it gives forward movement even when the ship is not moving," said Petu Kummala, director of interior design and architecture at Carnival Corp. "It kind of gives the hull and the whole ship a yacht-like feel. It makes it look less bulky."

While other brands have plunged into painted hulls, Carnival has until now stayed plain. 

"We've never had any art or anything like that on the hull. This kind of marks a new era for us," Kummala said.

One reason for the shake-up is to highlight the fact that the 5,200-passenger XL will be Carnival's biggest ship ever, a third larger than the Carnival Horizon and more than two and a half times the size of the Carnival Fantasy.

It will also be the first cruise ship operating in North America to burn natural gas, which pollutes less than petroleum distillates.

Kummala said several looks were proposed by Bluarch Architects, part of the team of designers for the XL. The final design picks up the red in Carnival's traditional color palette and the blue from its officer uniforms.

"This emerged as a clear winner," Kummala said.

It also ties in with Carnival's marketing slogan that pitches it as "America's Cruise Line." Carnival has adopted that label because it has more domestic homeports than other lines, because it generally doesn't send ships to homeport abroad and because it has focused recently on attracting veterans.

"There were a lot of reasons why we liked it," Kummala said of the color scheme. 

Art on the water

Other cruise lines have employed hull colors to help brand their ships. Norwegian Cruise Line hires artists to paint thematic art on its hulls. Royal Caribbean International's Oasis-class ships have baby blue hulls, while Cunard ships have black hulls and Holland America Line ships sport dark blue.

One potential drawback to a dark hull is that it absorbs more heat than a lighter-color hull, requiring more energy to keep cool. Kummala said this was discussed and that the painted area is not large enough to have an impact. 

Carnival isn't making any other design changes concurrent with the new hull livery and is keeping the iconic winged funnel with its red, white and blue pattern. 

"It's obviously a very distinctive and very recognizable funnel," Kummala said. 

However, as Carnival ships get larger, the funnel stays about the same, so it looks proportionately smaller on new ships, he said. 

The new paint scheme will be applied to the first XL ship before any decisions are made on whether to expand it to the rest of the class. There are no plans to change the colors on older Carnival ships, Kummala said.

Comments
JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI