Having fostered a reputation in the early ’90s – when its projects included Cunard Line’s famous QE2 – as the go-to for marine outfitting services, The Deluxe Group continues to be a prominent name within the cruise interiors industry. Known for providing high-end luxury interiors to the hospitality sector, The Deluxe Group also operates within “The Experience Economy”, helping to create exciting entertainment attractions internationally.
At Cruise Ship Interiors Expo, The Deluxe Group will be showcasing its most exciting offerings, with an emphasis being placed on its most recent marine project: the 19th Hole, a new bar concept for Marella Cruise Line’s Explorer 2, which features pioneering technology that allows passengers to play golf while enjoying an immersive view of the world’s most famous courses.
Ahead of the inaugural event, we caught up with business development director, Richard Hill. Read on to discover the company’s journey into the marine sector, the most exciting project to date, and get a taste of what’s to come this June 19-20 on the show floor.
Hi Richard. Thanks for speaking with the CSIE team today! Let’s start by talking about your current role at marine outfitting services suppliers The Deluxe Group. What does your role entail on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis?
My role is to identify and develop project opportunities for The Deluxe Group across the cruise line and visitor attraction industries. As clients and projects are internationally dispersed I am fortunate to travel in my work and this year I have already spent time in Miami, Orlando, London, New York, Paris, and Saudi Arabia. I am also on the board of The Themed Entertainment Association, which provides opportunities to attend industry conferences and events keeping me up to date on the trends in the growing “Experience Economy”.
Typically I try to spend a couple of weeks a month overseas meeting with clients and spend my remaining time back in the company head office working on proposals and planning projects with our team of estimators, designers, project and production managers.
We can see a growing overlap between the attractions market and the cruise industry, as guests demand ever more exciting experiences with designers and operators striving to make the vessel a destination in itself.
The Deluxe Group has been around since 1969, creating specialist joinery, themed works, and providing marine outfitting services. Can you tell us about the company’s transition into the marine market? What was it inspired by?
The company’s experience in marine actually goes back to the early ’90s working as a specialist decorative contractor on classic liners such as the QE2 and some of the first newbuilds for Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and Disney. I myself was a project manager for interior refits for more than 10 years. We have spent several years away from the marine sector helping to create exciting entertainment attractions internationally with clients such as Disney and Universal. We have also gained a reputation in the luxury hotel interiors market in London and have just completed the interior of the historic Great Scotland Yard, home to police in the Victorian era.
With moving into our state-of-the-art new workshop last year, and working with a growing mix of cruise industry veterans and enthusiastic innovators, we feel this year provided a great foundation to offer the marine market a unique combination of skills.
The timing has been fortuitous as we can see a growing overlap between the attractions market and the cruise industry, as guests demand ever more exciting experiences with designers and operators striving to make the vessel a destination in itself. So far the reaction to what we can offer has been really positive.
Has there been a project in the marine market you’ve worked on that was particularly challenging, unique or exciting?
We are very fortunate that Marella Cruise Line invited us to deliver its exciting new themed golf bar, the 19th Hole on Explorer 2 (pictured above), which has just entered service. The project was a challenge in that we had just a few weeks of refit time in Cadiz to remove the existing interior and complete a turnkey fit-out of the new concept.
The 19th Hole features state-of-the-art simulator technology for experienced and new golf enthusiasts set within a sumptuous bar interior with a luxury clubhouse feel. For this, we fabricated some cool features, including seating booths themed as golf buggies. The pioneering simulator technology creates a totally immersive view of the world’s most famous golf courses that passengers will want to bring to their own clubs!
Only those working in the industry understand the ever-demanding timeframes during drydocking to carry out interior refit work, so the planning needs to be meticulous and logistical execution must be precise.
What do you need to consider when designing for the marine market? Are there any major differences between designing for land versus sea?
Only those working in the industry understand the ever-demanding timeframes during drydocking to carry out interior refit work, so the planning needs to be meticulous and logistical execution must be precise. Our design process strives to maximize prefabrication and considers any physical restrictions there may be in getting our materials into the deck space. There is also the matter of fire classification, which is an area we believe from working across marine and themed attractions we have great knowledge of and have been innovative in developing materials and coatings to create unique features and finishes.
Using just three words, how would you describe The Deluxe Group today?
Creating memorable spaces.
Thanks for speaking with us today. Finally, who are you looking to meet and what do you hope to achieve at Cruise Ship Interiors Expo 2019?
This is an exciting time for Deluxe to be returning to the ship interior sector, as we can draw upon an unusual mix of experience in the luxury interiors market and innovation in the entertainment sector. We hope to meet cruise line operators and designers who are looking to push the creative boundaries of on board guest experience.
P.S. Interested in reading more about cruise line adventure attractions? Read our feature, ‘Our Top 4 Adventure Attractions at Sea‘!