Launched by Cruise Ship Interiors Design Expo Americas (CSI) in 2022, the CSI Future Leaders program, supported by Cruise & Ferry Interiors, was created to highlight the next generation of design leaders and those who are making a positive impact within the industry. These rising stars within the cruise interiors design community have been selected for their dedication to this niche sector. Whether it’s being a master at spotting the next trend, a fast-thinking problem solver, a champion of sustainability, or simply an unsung hero, the CSI Future Leaders are some of the hottest up and coming names in cruise design!

Read on to meet this year’s CSI Future Leaders…

Aida Lora

Senior Design Associate | Royal Caribbean Group

Aida Lora joined Royal Caribbean Group in June 2019. With 11 years of experience in architectural and interior design, Aida has participated in the design of hospitality, educational and recreational projects in Asia and the Caribbean. Aida is a strong advocate for the interior design profession. She has been involved in the Miami Design community as well as being a board member of the IIDA South Florida Chapter. Her ability to connect with young designers has led her to participate in several mentorship programs for junior designers. She is also part of the Advisory Board of the Interior Architecture program at Florida International University (FIU), Miami. Aida has written for several publications including Cruise Ship and Ferry Interiors and Voyage Miami.

An American born with Dominican blood, Lora has a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the Dominican Republic and a Master’s in Interior Architecture from FIU. She is a registered interior designer in the State of Florida. For Aida, design is more than a passion; design is people.

Anna Thomas

Owner Supply Manager (Newbuild) | Princess Cruises

“I have been fascinated with the cruise industry since my first cruise in 2017. Since then, I wanted to understand how cruise lines deliver perfect vacations to customers; I wanted to peek ‘behind the curtain’. In 2018, I started my journey with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings in Miami as a Buyer for furniture, fixtures and equipment. Then, after some time I took responsibility as a Category Manager for Refurbishment Projects. At the start of 2022, I joined Holland America Group in Seattle in my current role as Owner Supply Manager for Newbuild projects. Currently, I work on Sun Princess as Owner Supply for furniture and fixtures.

The cruise industry is one of the most fascinating industries I’ve ever worked in. Every day I learn something new, and no day is ever the same. I am excited to see the growth of global fleet and new sustainable changes coming to the industry.”

Carolina Espinosa

Interior Designer | Tomas Tillberg Design

Carolina is a passionate interior designer with a Masters in Interior Architecture and a Cruise Ship and Super Yacht Design certification from Florida International University. Alongside her incredible team at Tomas Tillberg Design, Carolina currently designs incredible interior spaces for marine projects worldwide.

“I remember the first time I understood the true meaning of interior design. I was 14 years old, and my mom had decided to completely renovate our home in Quito, Ecuador. I would spend my afternoons by her side, observing how she made sketch after sketch, designing ways to expand the existing spaces and make our home feel more open and cozy. I didn’t think much of it until she proposed something that would make a great mark in my life. She showed me what would be my new bedroom […] a room that shaped the most cherished memories I made during my teenage years. In a way, the bedroom we designed together watched me grow up. That’s when I learned that interior design is really about shaping life experiences and creating human connection. Interior design shapes who we are and who we become.

Today, my goal as a designer is to enrich life experiences through incredible interior spaces that are not only beautiful, but also functional, ethical, and unique.”

Gianluca Gugliotta

Senior Manager Vessel Refurbishment | Norwegian Cruise Line

“My passion for cruise vessels and their construction has been a constant throughout my life. From a young age, I was captivated by the intricate design and engineering required to build these impressive ships. Since completing my university studies, I have been fortunate to work in various roles within the cruise industry. This has provided me with invaluable insight into the industry as a whole from both the operator and contractor perspectives. This experience has allowed me to develop my skills in managing highly complex projects. It has also instilled in me a deep commitment to continuously explore and improve processes to enhance project management practices.”

Willie Traeger

Design Manager, Interior Asset Management | Holland America Group

Willie has been with Holland America Group for a little over one year now, and though a newcomer to the marine industry, she comes from hospitality design, where she designed for boutique and branded hotels. Prior to entering marine interior design, Willie worked for over a decade in the fashion and costume design industries. Falling in love with design at an early age, she had a lot of influence from her competitive figure skating career. This led to her studying fashion design at Parsons in New York City.  Willie is extremely passionate about textiles, inspired by art and architectural influences. She is looking to push the boundaries with the use of sustainable materials in cruise ship design.

Source, learn and network with Cruise Ship Interiors Design Expo Americas, the only event dedicated to the cruise design community. Find out about the next event here.