The genius behind Carnival Cruise Lines' bold and eclectic ship interiors since 1977 is marine architect Joe Farcus. History, art, and culture all mingle in Farcus' fertile imagination, which results in what he calls "entertainment architecture." Farcus views a cruise ship not as a floating hotel, but as an experience that carries passengers to another time and place. He once told me he creates spaces for passengers "to get away from normal life and recharge their batteries."
A highlight of every Carnival new-ship preview for the media is a tour personally led by Farcus, pictured above explaining an element in his design aboard Carnival Miracle. It is during those tours that we learn what's behind the designs, such as the carpets that drape the ceilings in Carnival Glory's Egyptian-themed casino to suggest a caravan in the desert. Sadly, Farcus hasn't participated in the renovation of Carnival Cruise Lines' older ships and the core elements of his designs, such as those on the iconic Fantasy-class vessels, have become somewhat muddled as a result. That will be happening more often in the future as we've learned that Farcus, who is 66, is cutting back on his work for Carnival Cruise Lines to concentrate more on personal time. He has often worked on several ships at once in the past decade, both for Carnival Cruise Lines and Costa Cruises, the Italian brand under the Carnival Corp umbrella.
While Farcus is the lead architect on Carnival Magic, now under construction and due to enter service next year, he will pass that role to German-based Partnership Design for the next ship, Carnival Breeze, with his only contribution to be the designs for the casino and theater. However, his fans will be happy to know that he'll continue his relationship as lead architect with Costa Cruises.
As Farcus told Travel Weekly recently, "I chose Costa to devote my major work, as this choice better suits my effort and goals," adding that he and Costa CEO Pier Luigi Foschi "speak each other’s language."
While those of us who know him will miss his inventiveness on Carnival Cruise Lines ships, Farcus also told Travel Weekly, "The fact is that there is new management, and it is a putting together its own management style and ideas about what the product should be."