co-located with

Marine Catering Expo

CSI Awards 2020: June 15, 2020
Expo & Conference: June 16 – 17, 2020

Miami Beach Convention Center

Speaker Q&A with... David McCarthy

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Boasting more than 25 years' experience in the hospitality and maritime industry, David's cruise ship career began early. After a 14-year sea-going career with P&O Cruises, David moved on to work in various land-based roles with Carnival UK. Now, David helms the marine division of AD Associates, an award-winning multidisciplinary design agency based in London. In his role as director of maritime projects and communications, David oversees all marine projects and sales & marketing activity. 


Drawing on his years' experience, David will address Cruise Ship Interiors Expo attendees in the conference session 'Design Trends 2022', alongside fellow industry experts: Javier Calle, Studio DADO, Andy Yuill, SMC Design, and Helena Sawelin, Tillberg Design of Sweden. Senior interior designer at Carnival Cruise Line, Elizabeth Cazau, will moderate the session, taking place on Thursday, June 20, 2019. 

Before hearing him speak this June, we wanted to gain a deeper understanding of David's time in the industry and find out what to expect from his session.


Thanks for speaking with the Cruise Ship Interiors Expo team today! Tell us about your current role and what it entails on a day-to-day basis?

I have been with AD Associates for a little over three years. As a member of the senior leadership team, I provide oversight and liaise closely with our clients throughout the lifespan of a project. In addition, I support the studio with both operational and regulatory advice and expertize. My role also oversees all marketing and promotional activity.


What inspired you to venture into the marine industry?

A history rooted in hospitality saw me run away to sea in 1993, joining a P&O Cruises vessel as a junior hotel officer. Within 10 years I was the youngest appointed hotel general manager with experience across multiple ships and I was instrumental in the introduction of newbuilds and refurbishments throughout the brand. Having served in the Royal Navy, my grandfather was delighted I carried on the seafarer tradition!

 

With the cruise order book at an unprecedented level and brands diversifying their markets to cover both ocean, expedition, and luxury, the opportunities for interiors are boundless.


Can you tell us about any key opportunities or challenges faced by the cruise ship interiors industry at present?

With the cruise order book at an unprecedented level and brands diversifying their markets to cover both ocean, expedition, and luxury, the opportunities for interiors are boundless. Something that is often seen as a challenge, but for us is an exciting opportunity, is our determination to attract wonderful talent to our studio, especially as our client base has driven exceptional growth over the last three years.


Tell us about a recent project that was particularly challenging, interesting, or unique in some way.

We were delighted when Saga Cruises approached us to curate the interiors for their second newbuild vessel, Spirit of Adventure. A twin-sister to Spirit of Discovery, the challenge was to provide her with her own identity whilst upholding the brands boutique-luxury brief. I’m happy to say both Saga Cruises and AD Associates are thrilled with the results.

 

Every cruise brand is careful not to follow trends that could have a short life expectancy but rather pursue something that provides longevity and purpose.


In the cruise interiors industry, forecasting trends for the years ahead is vital to stay on top of the game. What trends are you expecting to emerge in the next few years? This could be anything from new lighting solutions to new materials or sustainable solutions and beyond!

This is a very interesting question. I think every cruise brand is careful not to follow trends that could have a short life expectancy but rather pursue something that provides longevity and purpose. Undoubtedly technology will play an increasing role moving forward, such as individualizing lighting and mood settings in a cabin. I think sustainability awareness will only grow. Again, major cruise brands are ‘spread betting’, by offering the mega (almost theme park-esque) vessels, all the way to smaller, more exclusive types that enable some of the bucket list holidays desired by certain travelers to be fulfilled.


Using just three words, how would you describe the current state of the cruise interiors industry?

I’ve chosen to put these three words together... “Challenging the norm”.

 

As a founding Advisory Board member, I’ve witnessed from the beginning the growing interest and how highly anticipated this expo is. With the commitment of fellow speakers, exhibitors and, of course, the organizers, I truly hope the visitor footfall will do justice to this commitment. I have every confidence it will.


Come June you’ll be speaking in the Cruise Ship Interiors Conference. Without giving too much away, can you tell us what we might expect from your session?

Well, I wouldn’t wish to dim the anticipation my fellow panelists and I should be generating for the session, but with a title of 'Design Trends 2022' we may all be gazing into a crystal ball to speculate how interiors, and crucially the guest experience within, will remain of crucial importance in 2022 and beyond.


Finally, we have to ask, what are you most looking forward to at the inaugural Cruise Ship Interiors Expo Miami?

As a founding Advisory Board member, I’ve witnessed from the beginning the growing interest and how highly anticipated this expo is. With the commitment of fellow speakers, exhibitors and, of course, the organizers, I truly hope the visitor footfall will do justice to this commitment. I have every confidence it will.