by kind permission of Mark Tre’ – "The Cruise Examiner"
Joe Farcus, Carnival Cruise Line’s chief interior designer architect since 1977, seems to be slowing down a bit these days and recently it was announced that Carnival Magic would be the last Carnival ship on which he would be the lead architect. At the age of 66, he is not yet ready to retire but will evidently be concentrating more on new ships for Costa.
Partner Ship Design of Germany will meanwhile take the lead on Carnival Breeze, while Mr. Farcus does the theatre and casino. His last two ships were Carnival Dream and Costa Deliziosa.
And Costa still has Costa Favolosa and Costa Fascinosa to come in 2011 and 2012 and may yet order more. Partner Ship Design, meanwhile, has already worked on other Carnival Group ships such as several Aida ships, including Aidablu and Aidasol and the next of that class, and Ventura and Azura for P&O, the two Ocean Village ships, and previous Carnival work on Carnival Fantasy during her refurbishment in 2007.
Mr. Farcus first worked with Morris Lapidus, designer of many famous Miami Beach hotels, culminating in the Fontainebleau and the Eden Roc. While there, he worked on Carnivale, Carnival’s second acquisition, and later branched out to work for his own account on Festivale, Carnival’s third ship, in 1977. Since that time he has headed up the interior design work on 40 Carnival ships, as well as worked on early Holland America newbuildings after that fleet became part of the Carnival Group, and more recently all the new Costa ships.
But his best-known work is the Carnival ships, where every ship has its own theme and no two are the same. It is these that will remain his legacy. His works have ranged from statues of Marilyn Monroe sitting at a bar on Fascination to Egyptian mummies, buses or cars parked in the promenade decks and strobe lights in Carnival dining rooms to accompany the dancing waiters, another Carnival tradition that has also now moved to Costa.
Let’s take just two ships as recent examples. For Carnival Conquest, Mr. Farcus used the idea of the impressionist paintings as the launch pad to decorate this ship. There are impressionist reproductions and impressions thereof, for instance in Murano lighting fixtures, throughout the ship, and the ship’s main show lounge takes its name from the contemporary Moulin Rouge of Toulouse Lautrec fame.
The ship’s dining rooms are equally named for Monet and Renoir and the casino for Tahiti, the latter day home of Paul Gauguin, while the ship also has a Matisse piano bar. Such works have been the man’s trademark.
For Carnival Legend, he used the idea of great legends, featuring the Colossus of Rhodes in its entry decoration, and a main restaurant called Truffles, named after the legendary food, with walls decorated with samples of china.
Her casual restaurant is named for the legendary Unicorn (which also happened to be the name of the first Cunard ship to cross the Atlantic).
Further lounges on the Legend take their cue from the legend of the Golden Fleece, the name of its supper club, and the Merlin Casino, following the legendary court of King Arthur and the Round Table. The jazz club is called Satchmo’s, after the musical legend Louis Armstrong, while another music venue is named for Billie Holliday.
Many are surprised by this move but Joe Farcus is now 66 and might like to slow down a bit from the pace of being involved with so many ships at the same time. Nevertheless, there is a feeling in the background that since Gerry Cahill took over as Carnival president from Bob Dickinson, he has been trying to move Carnival in a slightly different, more sophisticated direction – his own "Evolutions of Fun" as it were.
And while Partner Ship Design have done previous work for Carnival lines, they have also worked on more high end ships such as Sea Cloud and River Cloud as well as Peter Deilmann’s Deutschland. From here on in, it is pretty certain that Carnival ships will change from their more exuberant (some even say crazy) themes of earlier years, and away from what has come to be known as "Farchitecture."