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(20-09-2010)

Joe Farcus Changes His Focus - Cruise West Closes its Doors - Other Cruise News



by Mark Tre' - "The Cruise Examiner"

After over three decades of working on Carnival ships, renowned interior ship designer Joe Farcus is changing his focus away from Carnival Cruise Line to Costa Cruises while Partner Ship Design take charge for the Carnival Breeze. Elsewhere, Cruise West finally closes its doors while the queen's grocer, Fortnum & Mason, goes to sea, and the queen's favourite cruise ship, Hebridean Princess, joins the French vessel Le Diamant in offering small ship Round Britain cruises next summer.
As to the queen herself, she will be christening the new Queen Elizabeth in three week's time at Southampton and The Cruise Examiner will report from there.


STORY OF THE WEEK

Joe Farcus Changes His Focus

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 the 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 the Carnival Breeze, while Farcus does the theatre and casino. Farcus's last two ships were the Carnival Dream and Costa Deliziosa.

And Costa still has the the 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 the Aidablu and Aidasol and the next of that class, and the Ventura and Azura for P&O, the two Ocean Village ships, and previous Carnival work on Carnival Fantasy during her refurbishment in 2007.

Farcus first worked with Morris Lapidus, designer of many famous Miami Beach hotels, culminating in the Fontainebleau and the Eden Roc. While there, Farcus worked on the Carnivale, Carnival's second acquisition, and later branched out to work for his own account on the 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 the 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 the Carnival Conquest, 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 the 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 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. Neverthless, 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."


OTHER CRUISE NEWS

Cruise West Closes its Doors

This Saturday, after operating as a family business since 1947, Cruise West finally closed its doors after a summer-long struggle for survival. With the exception of its October 22 Danube cruise, which is operated by Lüftner Cruises, all Cruise West operations have now finished. And like the Danube operation, Canodrus, Cruise West's Galapagos partner, says it will come up with alternatives for 2011 and Cruise West clients should contact them direct.
Down under, meanwhile, Orion Expedition Cruises is offering between 20% and 50% off various departures as a gesture towards Cruise West passengers who have definite future bookings but have been disappointed by the withdrawal of the Spirit of Oceanus.

The latter ship's new owners are TN Cruise K/S of Denmark, who have taken delivery at Freeport, Bahamas. This deal was put together by International Shipping Partners of Miami, who already operate sister ship Constellation II for Travel Dynamics, and manage a number of other small-to-medium-size cruise ships for Clipper Group, also of Denmark.

Passengers who have been stranded by Cruise West's demise have been advised to claim against their travel insurers or their credit card companies first. For people who paid by cash or cheque, for departures from US ports Cruise West maintained a Federal Maritime Commission bond with Wells Fargo Disability Management in Abingdon, Virginia, and for departures from non-US ports a $1 million bond with the US Tour Operators Association in New York, which will only pay out pro rata over the total number and amount of claims received. If you are affected, full details of what to do are given at the former cruise line's web site at www.cruisewest.com


Fortnum & Mason Goes To Sea

People used to be able to shop at Harrod's only shop at sea when the Queen Elizabeth 2 was in service, but now another luxury retail name, Fortnum & Mason, will be going to sea on the new Queen Elizabeth when she enters service in less than a month's time. Founded in 1707, Fortnum & Mason, is today owned by the Weston family, different branches of which also control the high-end department store Selfridges and low-cost fashion outlet Primark.

The shipboard Fortnum & Mason will offer a selection of teas, preserves, biscuits and gifts. Their main shop, in London's Piccadilly, has held royal warrants since 1863 (hence its nickname as "the queen's grocer"), and it has two branches in Japan. The Weston family, meanwhile, made their fortune in bakeries and biscuits in Canada, where Samuel Cunard had been born a century earlier in Halifax. It is not yet known whether one particular Fortnum & Mason gift, a pair of skull and crossbones cuff links that sells for £110, will be stocked on board Queen Elizabeth.


Small Ships Go Round Britain

Two ships that are not known for Round Britain cruises will be doing so next summer, one on a long itinerary and one on two short ones.

The 49-guest ultra-luxury Hebridean Princess, which was chartered by Queen Elizabeth II this year for her summer holiday will be sailing all around Britain in six sectors in 2011. On offer will be eight nights Invergordon to Leith (Edinburgh), eight nights Leith to Tilbury, seven nights Tilbury to Portsmouth with three calls in Normandy, a nine-night cruise from Portsmouth, nine nights from Portsmouth to Cardiff and ten nights from Cardiff to her usual base at Oban. Fares start at £4,480 for the 8-night Taste of Normandy that calls at Dieppe, Honfleur and Le Havre.

Meanwhile, in the reverse direction Compagnie du Ponant's 226-berth Le Diamant will make two Round Britain cruises from St Malo on July 30 and August 11 to Portsmouth and the Isles of Scilly, Foynes, Galway and Killibegs in Ireland, Tobermory, Kirkwall, Portree and Leith in Scotland and Whitby in England.

For British passengers, departures will also be offered from Portsmouth on July 31 and August 12. Fares from St Malo start at €1710 and from Portsmouth at £1455. Six shorter summer cruises will also sail from St Malo to Portsmouth, Penzance, Dublin, Holyhead, Cork and the Isles of Scilly, with fares from €998 from St Malo and £848 from Portsmouth.


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