In late 2015, Life Floor, a US-based manufacturer of resilient aquatic flooring, had one eye on the growing cruise ship industry. Specifically, they believed their floor tiles, which are designed especially for aquatic recreational areas with barefoot traffic, would be a perfect solution for on-deck waterparks and pool beach effects.
“We’d been interested in the cruise market for some time,” said Life Floor CEO, Jonathan Keller. “And while we’d received the necessary testing and certifications to prove our tiles were seaworthy, we’d yet to find an advocate within any of the cruise lines who was willing to be the first adopter.”
Enter Dominic Chancellor, the Brand Manager for Outdoor Decks at Carnival Cruise Line. Chancellor met the Life Floor team at the World Waterpark Association tradeshow and symposium in 2015, and invited Life Floor and its installation partner, NLC, Inc., to visit the Carnival Magic, scheduled for dry dock the following February.
“We talk about ideal applications at Life Floor, and this was definitely one of them,” said Keller. Carnival planned to install Life Floor tiles on the deck of its WaterWorks, an exciting, onboard water park complete with slides, spray features and other attractions. Life Floor would be going over the top of an existing resin that had not met expectations.
Life Floor was also able to meet Carnival’s design needs, an important consideration for a company that makes brand and onboard experience a top priority. Life Floor tiles would not only look good, they’d also give the area more traction while also providing better cushioning for barefoot traffic and better padding for any inevitable falls. Carnival decided to use the Magic installation as a trial-run. The company would see how Life Floor performed on this first ship and, if it was successful, it could add more ships quickly. What Life Floor didn’t anticipate was how quickly.
“After six weeks aboard the Carnival Magic, Life Floor had already demonstrated significant improvements to guest comfort, safety and overall satisfaction. That’s when they invited us onboard Carnival Sunshine,” said Keller.
Carnival Sunshine followed Carnival Magic in April 2016. These ships were soon joined by Carnival Fascination (June 2016), and a meeting at Carnival’s corporate headquarters in Miami, Florida.
“Carnival indicated that they wanted Life Floor on all their WaterWorks as soon as possible. They also wanted to try it on a handful of their ‘beach effects’, which are the areas around the pool. From that point on, it became an ever-evolving challenge to get our tiles on these ships. We realised Carnival knew this product was making their guests safer, and they were serious about rolling it out quickly. It was very exciting.”
The WaterWorks on Carnival Imagination was fitted in September 2016, followed by Carnival Ecstasy (January 2017), Carnival Sensation and Carnival Dream (both February 2017), Carnival Glory (March 2017) and Carnival Breeze (April 2017).
“We’ve spoken to a number of other vendors in the cruise industry, and they’re usually shocked to learn how quickly this happened. They ask if our product is on any ships yet, and when we say we’ve been installed on nine ships in less than 13 months, they think we’re joking. We think the partnership is perfect, though,” said Life Floor’s Director of Marketing, Gwen Ruehle.
Most importantly, Carnival’s guests love the refitted WaterWorks decks. “Safety and brand are both important to Carnival, and Life Floor understands this completely,” said Chancellor. “Not only does rolling out Life Floor across multiple ships provide the consistency expected from Carnival, but the tiles improve the safety, image, and guest experience of every area where they're installed.”