Connect with us


Wizards of décor for cruise ships offer advice for home decoration

Sections of the ship, including cabins and some public areas, are typically pre-fabricated, the blocks put together like Legos at the shipyard. Then there is the issue of movement to contend with – designers can’t add features such as swinging chandeliers, for instance. But basic concepts can be replicated at home.



As you peruse the vast number of color choices in the paint store or try to decide whether the watercolor you are obsessed with at the local arts festival will work in your home, consider what the interior designers of cruise ships encounter.

home decor1

These wizards of décor create spaces enjoyed by thousands of cruise vacationers on a weekly basis. When they choose colors it may be for 1,000 staterooms; when they buy artwork, it’s to be seen by thousands of cruise passengers each week. And they do their designs on a moving ship.

Just like you, the designers of cruise ships work on a budget and within the confines of specific spaces.

Their inspiration comes from the sea and beyond.

When ultra-luxury cruise line Seabourn debuts its new 604-passenger Seabourn Encore in December, passengers onboard will be immersed in a “soft and curvaceous” nautical world of high-gloss wood and white, navy and burgundy tones created by noted hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany.

“The inspiration for Seabourn Encore comes back to the idea of a luxury private yacht,” said Tihany. “Every detail of the design is crafted to embody the elegance of a yacht with the careful attention of a residential space.”

A different vision inspired the design team, including Tihany, when it came to public spaces on Holland America Line’s 2650-passenger Koningsdam, which makes its North American debut in November. Music was the muse for rooms such as the elegant Queen’s Lounge, created to feel as if you are inside a violin looking out.

The colors for the Koningsdam’s verandah cabins are the result of a visit to the port city of Venice by My Nguyen, Holland America Line’s deputy director of interior design. There she spotted an old faded blue building.

“At the base of the building there was black algae that graduated to grey as it grew towards the top,” said Nguyen. “In contrast, next to the building was a bright new terra cotta structure. This unusual color combination was an inspiration that became the color palette.”

Cruise passengers can likewise draw inspiration from their travels.

When beginning a design project, it’s a good idea to have a wealth of ideas on hand, said Lindsey McPhail, manager of interior design for Princess Cruises, and currently overseeing refurbishment projects for the Grand Princess, Royal Princess and Pacific Princess.

“I’m constantly putting images and concepts and references onto tools such as Pinterest, so when I’m ready to hit the ground running on the design development aspect of a project I have a collection of references to inspire me,” McPhail said.

Lessons cruise passengers can draw from cruise ships include the effective use of space.

“We need to design with every precious square inch in a stateroom to make it functional, comfortable and feel luxurious,” said Nguyen. “You can find clever storage ideas, and also get inspired by color combinations that make a small space feel larger.”

It’s important to start any new building or renovation project by imagining how a space will be used, said Alison Clixby, director of hotel design and projects for Carnival UK, which includes P&O Cruises UK and Cunard.

“It’s all about what it is you are trying to feel when you’re in that space,” said Clixby. “That’s how I think about the guests on our ships. How do I want them to go through the day? And it’s the same when you do your own house.  Her projects include the recent extensive “re-mastering” of Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, the world’s only transatlantic ocean liner.

Colors can help create and change mood, so don’t be afraid to experiment, advised Petu Kummala, director of interior design and architecture for Carnival Cruise Line, who previously worked with legendary ship designer Joe Farcus (on ships for Carnival Cruise Line and Italian line Costa Cruises).

“If you want a wall pink, paint it pink. If you don’t like it, repaint it the next day,” said Kummala. “It’s not expensive; you can always repaint. Be creative with color choices.”

In designing cruise ships, he added, he doesn’t always have that same luxury.

“We have to approach design from a point of view that it has to be pleasing to 2,000 people or more,” said Kummala. “If you like white, you can do your bedroom in white and you love it, but if we do that, some guests would love it, some guests wouldn’t.”

Designing a ship has other challenges, which is why five to 10 design firms and dozens of designers are typically involved in the process.

Sections of the ship, including cabins and some public areas, are typically pre-fabricated, the blocks put together like Legos at the shipyard. Then there is the issue of movement to contend with – designers can’t add features such as swinging chandeliers, for instance.

But basic concepts can be replicated at home.

“We design with bold patterned carpets, furniture in rich colorful hues and elaborate architectural details in the walls and ceilings,” said Holland America Line’s Nguyen. “One way to achieve that classic elegance at home is by combining rich color tones in your furniture, gilded frames with mirrors or art such as a classic oil painting.

To go for a look such as on the recently redone Pacific Eden and Pacific Aria in Australia, collect design items from your travels, suggested Petra Ryberg, head of design for P&O Cruises Australia.

“Onboard the ships you will find fabrics from Italy, imported lamps and art deco-inspired light fittings,” Ryberg said. “My philosophy is to love every single piece in your home or in a project, everything from the larger items such as art down to your daily water glasses.”

Another take-away from ships for your own home is to think in terms of the “wow” factor.

On the Australia ships, small quirky details such as the duck-feet lamps in the Ocean Bar, blue velvet couches in the Blue Room and big bold graphics in several spaces have been popular with passengers.

“I like to surprise guests and hopefully give them a laugh as well,” Ryberg said.

Carnival Cruise Line ships share the “wow” of soaring atriums. On the new, 3,954-passenger Carnival Vista, jaws drop in the atrium when guests encounter the Dreamscape, a huge, three-deck-high LED video art wall showcasing some 80 ever-changing abstract and seascape designs.

Even if your home is without a grand entrance, you can create a “wow” with little money and effort by using LED lights, said Carnival Cruise Line’s Kummala.

Or go full tilt. Kummala said he recently designed a house in South Florida with a waterfall over the pool bar and another water feature when you enter the home.

“These are spectacular cruise ship-like things you can do in a private home,” he said.

Tips from Cruise Ship Designers

  1. Step back and really look at your space and do a deep think about how you want to move within that space.
  2. Be creative with color choices (you can always change your mind and repaint).
  3. Design for yourself. If you love the design, it is successful.
  4. Use inexpensive LED lights to highlight art and create other “wow” effects.
  5. Too much of a good thing is not a good thing. Always simplify, edit and then edit again.

Zest Magazine accepts contributions promoting everything about living the good life (and how to make this so). C'mon, give us a yell.


5 Tips when buying life insurance for the first time

A knowledgeable and professional insurance agent can offer trusted guidance when it comes to finding the right life insurance protection at the right price.



Photo by Vlad Deep from

Major life changes like getting married, starting a family or buying a house are often when people start thinking about buying life insurance. Now, more than ever, people are more concerned with their financial security. Buying a life policy can be a process that sounds intimidating or confusing – but it’s also very important.

During this Life Insurance Awareness Month, Erie Insurance shares five points to discuss with your agent when buying life insurance for the first time.

  1. Understand who (or what) you are protecting. While anyone experiencing a significant life event like getting married or starting a family often recognizes the need for life insurance, others may not realize they could benefit from it as well. For instance, stay-at-home parents and student loan cosigners could have a definite need for life insurance.
  2. Only buy the life insurance plan you can afford. Many people are surprised at how much life insurance they really need to protect the people and things they love most – but they are also surprised at how affordable it can be. If you cannot find a policy that fits in your budget, it’s a mistake to forgo any coverage at all. Something is definitely better than nothing.
  3. Think through your beneficiaries. A life insurance beneficiary is the person or entity you name in your life policy to receive funds in the event of your passing. Your beneficiary can be a person, business, trust, charity or even your church. And you can have more than one. It’s important to make sure you think through who your beneficiaries are and if any proceeds meant to benefit a minor should be held in a trust.
  4. Buy from a financially sound company. You want the backing of a financially strong insurer if you or someone you love needs to call on the life insurance policy. A.M. Best, the largest and longest-established company devoted to issuing in-depth reports and financial strength ratings about insurance organizations, gave Erie Family Life Insurance Company a rating of A (Excellent).
  5. Consider current and future needs. Don’t just consider your current lifestyle, keep in mind your future needs and what those could include for your spouse, children or business (think college expenses, weddings, etc.). By taking in these considerations today, you’re investing in the security of your future. Life insurance is less expensive than most people think—and that’s especially true when you’re younger. 

A knowledgeable and professional insurance agent can offer trusted guidance when it comes to finding the right life insurance protection at the right price. Life insurance with Erie Family Life offers you the right coverage with flexible options, helping you to build a policy now that is adaptable later.

Continue Reading


Online menus should put healthy food first

Women who see healthy food at the top of an online menu are 30 to 40 percent more likely to order it, a Flinders University study has found, with the authors saying menu placement could play a role in encouraging healthier eating.



Photo by Drahomír Posteby-Mach from

Women who see healthy food at the top of an online menu are 30 to 40 percent more likely to order it, a Flinders University study has found, with the authors saying menu placement could play a role in encouraging healthier eating.

Published in the journal Appetite and led by Flinders University PhD Candidate Indah Gynell, the team investigated where on a menu healthy items should be placed to best encourage people to choose them.

“Previous research has explored menu placement before, but the studies were inconsistent, with some finding placing food items at the top and bottom of a menu increased their popularity, while others suggested that the middle is best,” said Ms Gynell from Flinders’ College of Education, Psychology and Social Work.

“In our study we compared three locations on both printed and online menus, with online being an important addition in the age of food ordering platforms, such as UberEats and Menulog, especially during the pandemic.”

The researchers created menus containing eight unhealthy items and four healthy items, arranged in three rows of four on the physical printed menu and in one column of 12 on the digital menu. In one study, the physical menu was tested on 172 female participants, while in the second study, the digital menu was tested on 182 female participants.

Female participants were chosen as previous research has found that dieting behaviours – likely to impact menu choice – are consistently more prevalent in women.

Participants then chose an item from one of the experimental menus before completing a psychological test that identified their ‘dietary restraint status’; that is whether or not they were actively choosing to restrict their eating habits for the purpose of health or weight loss.

“We found that neither the order of food items, nor participants’ dietary restraint status, impacted whether or not healthy food was chosen in the physical menus,” says Ms Gynell.

“However, for the online menus, we found that participants who saw healthy items at the top of an online menu were 30-40% more likely to choose a healthy item than those who viewed them further down the menu.”

The authors say the finding is important because if added up over time, consistent healthy choices could result in general health benefits at a population level, highlighting why such an intervention could be worth implementing.

“Diet-related illnesses and disease are more common now than ever before, and with a rise in online food ordering it’s important we uncover cost-effective and simple public health initiatives,” says Ms Gynell.

“Changing the order of a menu, which doesn’t require the addition or removal of items, is unlikely to impact profits as consumers are guided towards healthier options without being discouraged from purchasing altogether.

“This means it’s more likely to be accepted by food purveyors and, despite being a somewhat simple solution, has the potential to shape real-world healthy eating interventions.”

The effect of item placement on snack food choices from physical and online menus by Indah Gynell, Eva Kemps, Ivanka Prichard and Marika Tiggemann is published in the journal Appetite.

Continue Reading


Serving larger portions of veggies may increase young kids’ veggie consumption

The researchers found that while the larger portions of vegetables were associated with greater intake, the addition of butter and salt was not. The children also reported liking both versions — seasoned and unseasoned — about the same. About 76% of kids rated the vegetables as “yummy” or “just ok.”



Photo by Nadine Primeau from

It can be difficult to get young kids to eat enough vegetables, but a new Penn State study found that simply adding more veggies to their plates resulted in children consuming more vegetables at the meal.

The researchers found that when they doubled the amount of corn and broccoli served at a meal — from 60 to 120 grams — the children ate 68% more of the veggies, or an additional 21 grams. Seasoning the vegetables with butter and salt, however, did not affect consumption.

The daily recommended amount of vegetables for kids is about 1.5 cups a day, according to the official Dietary Guidelines for Americans as set by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services.

“The increase we observed is equal to about one third of a serving or 12% of the daily recommended intake for young children,” said Hanim Diktas, graduate student in nutritional sciences. “Using this strategy may be useful to parents, caregivers and teachers who are trying to encourage kids to eat the recommended amount of vegetables throughout the day.”

Barbara Rolls, Helen A. Guthrie Chair and director of the Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior at Penn State, said the findings — recently published in the journal Appetite — support the MyPlate guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which recommends meals high in fruits and vegetables.

“It’s important to serve your kids a lot of vegetables, but it’s also important to serve them ones they like because they have to compete with the other foods on the plate,” Rolls said. “Parents can ease into this by gradually exposing kids to new vegetables, cooking them in a way their child enjoys, and experimenting with different flavors and seasonings as you familiarize them.”

According to the researchers, the majority of children in the U.S. don’t eat the recommended daily amount of vegetables, which could possibly be explained by children having a low preference for them. And while serving larger portions has been found to increase the amount of food children eat — called the “portion size effect” — kids tend to eat smaller amounts of vegetables in response to bigger portions compared to other foods.

For this study, the researchers were curious if increasing just the amount of vegetables while keeping the portions of other foods the same would help increase veggie consumption in kids. They also wanted to experiment with whether adding light butter and salt to the vegetables would increase their palatability and also affect consumption.

For the study, the researchers recruited 67 children between the ages of three and five. Once a week for four weeks, the participants were served lunch with one of four different preparations of vegetables: a regular-sized serving of plain corn and broccoli, a regular-sized serving with added butter and salt, a doubled serving of plain corn and broccoli, and a doubled serving with added butter and salt.

During each meal, the vegetables were served alongside fish sticks, rice, applesauce and milk. Foods were weighed before and after the meal to measure consumption.

“We chose foods that were generally well-liked but also not the kids’ favorite foods,” Rolls said. “If you offer vegetables alongside, say, chicken nuggets you might be disappointed. Food pairings are something you need to be conscious of, because how palpable the vegetables are compared to the other foods on the plate is going to affect the response to portion size. You need to make sure your vegetables taste pretty good compared to the other foods.”

After analyzing the results, the researchers found that while the larger portions of vegetables were associated with greater intake, the addition of butter and salt was not. The children also reported liking both versions — seasoned and unseasoned — about the same. About 76% of kids rated the vegetables as “yummy” or “just ok.”

“We were surprised that the butter and salt weren’t needed to improve intake, but the vegetables we served were corn and broccoli, which may have been already familiar to and well-liked by the kids,” Diktas said. “So for less familiar vegetables, it’s possible some extra flavoring might help to increase intake.”

Diktas said that while serving larger portions may increase vegetable consumption, it also has the potential to increase waste if kids don’t eat all of the food that is served.

“We’re working on additional research that looks into substituting vegetables for other food instead of just adding more vegetables,” Diktas said. “In the future, we may be able to give recommendations about portion size and substituting vegetables for other foods, so we can both limit waste and promote veggie intake in children.”

Liane Roe, research nutritionist; Kathleen Keller, associate professor of nutritional sciences; and Christine Sanchez, lab manager at the Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior, also participated in this work.

Continue Reading

Like Us On Facebook

Facebook Pagelike Widget

Most Popular

Copyright ©FRINGE PUBLISHING. All rights reserved.