When it comes to life on board a cruise ship, travellers will usually look for features like great food options, fun shows, activities to keep busy, and a comfortable bed.

What many don’t think about, however, is the thought and precision that goes into building and designing a cruise ship.

Charlie, a cruise ship designer from Florida, has worked in the industry for over a decade and had a hand in helping put together the design for two huge cruise ships.

Charlie said that the main mission is to make guests feel comfortable and safe by any means necessary.

Speaking to 9Honey Travel, Charlie said, “If you notice things, we’re not doing our job correctly.”

“Our job is to make you feel at ease with the space.”

A cruise ship takes several years to design, with a lot of planning, care and thought going into the most intricate details.

“Cruise ships are so large scale and that even though a lot of the designs are replicated from each room or ship, you have to ensure that the design fits each area and it’s not just copy paste.”

There are four main things Charlie says to keep an eye out for on your next cruising adventure, which make all the difference to your journey.

Safety first

Above all else on a cruise ship, the safety of the passengers and the crew must come first.

Aside from the practical elements such as bullet-proof glass and lounges that have the potential to turn into flotation devices, there are psychological considerations as well.

“Everything when it comes to cruise ship design comes from a safety standpoint, and how you make sure guests feel safe at all times,” Charlie says.

“Like the fact there’s handrails almost everywhere you look. Down to whether the height of a table will be at a height where if you need to lean down, it’s probably a little bit taller than the average table, just so that you have something to grab onto.”

Nothing moves unless it’s supposed to

Due to the constant movement on a cruise ship, everything onboard the vessel must be secured, which can make design aspects difficult.

“You have to keep in mind how things function within a space. So if you go to a restaurant, you can’t join tables, or move tables because they’re literally secured to the floor.

“And it’s one of those things where it actually becomes very difficult in planning. The lighting plan, for example, also has to incorporate that because the lights overhead can’t move. So your interior designers and your lighting designers have to be working together probably at least three to four years before you would actually install any of those.”

So you’re less likely to see things like pendant lights, unless they are on a rod fixed to the ceiling.

“You don’t want to have that ability to see something in motion, because then that gives you the idea that you aren’t safe,” Charlie adds.

Quick repairs are a rarity 

Charlie shared that longevity needs to be considered when designing a cruise ship, as repairs can often take a long time to complete.

“What’s the lifespan and what’s the duration of time it would take for someone to repair it. And are you able to store that stuff on a ship?

“Nothing is off the shelf. Nothing is just ‘oh, I can go to the store and get that’. A manufacturer would produce that specifically for them. So if something does break, getting it replaced is going to be a lot more difficult.”

Long hallways are a big no

“Guest flow and how people move through a space is very key,” Charlie points out.

“In most modern day ships, you wouldn’t directly have a linear path except down your guest room hallway. Nowadays, you’d have little jogs (or alcoves) so that you can’t just see all the way to the end of a floor.”

And the reasoning for this design choice is two-fold.

“Being able to have an end point or something to focus on helps to establish equilibrium. You have something to focus on if the ship starts to move a little bit,” he explains.

Image credits: Getty Images

This article first appeared on Over60.