When Celebrity Cruises decided that they needed a better-designed stateroom they asked Synecticsworld to help them create not just a different look but a radical new standard in stateroom design based on insights and guest-inspired creativity.

The world of cruise ship design is a small club. With the three largest cruise companies based in Miami, Florida and a small number of architects and ship builders serving the industry, it had become increasingly difficult to find a fresh point of view on the possibilities that could be created in this all important guest touchpoint. For years the cruise companies had put the focus on creating innovative experiences in the public areas of the ship. Now, Celebrity was determined to bring that same focus to the one private space where a family could find refuge – their stateroom.


The project design and execution was jointly envisioned by the Synecticworld team and the executive vice president in charge of ship design for the Celebrity brand, a veteran of several Synecticsworld projects. They believed that a particular challenge would be helping the ship designers to see the opportunity differently in order to find new inspiration for the staterooms. Then they would need to quickly shift into using their considerable ship design skills to bring that inspiration to life given a tight deadline for submitting the final plans to the shipyard. The resulting approach was dubbed the “The Leading Ladies ”. A slightly different take on Volvo’s famous approach for automotive design which would not only inform the design of the new staterooms, but also become a centerpiece of the launch campaign of the new ship, Celebrity Solstice, when she was launched.

The Leading Ladies

Celebrity knew that women are the key decision-makers in vacation decisions, so Synecticsworld worked to identify five creative women who represented a range of perspectives, backgrounds and cruise experience. For the project to be successful, the Celebrity ship building team would need to be SM prepared to listen to “The Leading Ladies ” with a fresh perspective, and instantly make connections for how they could bring what they were hearing for life. In addition, a safe climate for sharing and SM exploration would be critical, both in order for “The Leading Ladies ” to truly open up to the Celebrity team, as well as for the team to be able to identify the, at first, outlandish thinking that would lead to an award-winning stateroom design. The Synecticsworld team leveraged a number of proprietary techniques to build this esprit de corps and prepare the team for a fast-paced project.SM The team listened to, and explored the needs of, “The Leading Ladies ”, not only in regards to cruising, but also how they designed their own homes and the tricks they used to get more out of the “small, comfortable spaces” in which they lived and worked. They explored the sometimes competing concepts of family time and personal time and looked at global design trends, creating prototypes and mock-ups along the way. The work culminated in a walk-through of cabin mock-ups at the shipyard in Finland, making real-time design modifications right up to the point that the ship design was finalized.


The resulting stateroom design was received as a revelation in the cruise industry. Widely heralded as the best staterooms in the industry upon the Celebrity Solstice launch in 2008, the design has won numerous awards, including being voted as “Best Staterooms” in the mega-ship category by Conde Nast Traveller’s readers in 2011. For perspective, this is almost three years after the ship’sintroduction which is a time when most staterooms begin looking a bit tired or dated. But not those that Synecticsworld empowered “The Leading Ladies ” and the Celebrity team to invent.

And what makes these awards even more interesting is that the revolutionary stateroom design was not based on over-the-top technology or luxurious materials, but instead introducing simple changes that added the comforts of home, like a step in the shower for women to use while shaving their legs, a mirror on the bathroom door to keep an eye on the kids while putting on make-up before dinner, or lifting the beds high enough to hide the suitcases underneath. All ideas that had been hiding in plain sight in the homes of the Celebrity design team, but which took Synecticsworld and “The Leading Ladies ” to help them see.

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