“Why are cruise ships painted white?” – The answer lies in some basic physics and a little tweak of aesthetics.
Throughout our middle and high schools, we’ve learned that white colour is the best reflector and the worst absorber of sunlight. Turns out, this is exactly the reason cruise companies have a ‘go-to’ colour when it comes to painting cruise ships and that is, obviously, white.
Being the best reflector and worst absorber in the colour spectrum, white coloured exteriors save the ship from getting heated up, reducing the burden on air conditioning systems.
Cruise ships and yachts mostly sail in tropical climates like the Caribbean. The passengers boarding them look for a luxury time onboard, away from all the hustles and bustles of life. Cruise lines have to ensure maximum comfort of their passengers, without incurring a loss.
Therefore, the air conditioning systems have to work in full throttle. With the ship’s exterior painted in bright white colours, the temperature of the interior of the ship gets reduced considerably and saves the ship from becoming a giant oven in the middle of nowhere.
Brushing aside the scientific reasoning, psychological factors, too play a major role when it comes to the colour. We must remember that the cruising industry falls under the hospitality sector, where customer satisfaction is valued above everything.
White paint brings about a clean and tidy look to the ship, shining against the blue background of the vast ocean. Psychologists have suggested that white colour is related to invoking a strong holiday spirit among passengers, giving them a sense of occasion- like a big fat wedding.
Even though cruise lines have to shell heavily when it comes to white paints and maintaining them with pinpoint accuracy, passengers seem to absolutely love them.
Luxury yachts though have different reasons for being painted white. During yacht manufacturing, shipbuilders pour epoxy with layers of glass fibre. This results in the yacht having an epoxy coating as the exterior. Shipbuilders mix the white colour with the epoxy coating, omitting the painting of the ship altogether, saving on painting costs.
Apart from giving the ship a shiny exterior, saving on painting costs as well as saving the ship on air-conditioning costs, white colour also helps in masking mould defects.
However, a lot of cruise lines have been experimenting with different colours lately, with some even having their own signature hull colours.
It is well known that Royal Caribbean International and Virgin Voyages have been experimenting with blue and grey colours on the ship exterior. Carnival owned Holland America generally opt for a dark blue coloured hull, reflecting the company’s decades-old heritage of sailing in the cooler trans-Atlantic routes.
Disney, on the other hand, has its ship hulls coloured with Monica Blue-an amalgamation of black and blue colours. This unique mix causes the hull to visually change colours depending on the weather conditions, time of the day, as well as on sunlight conditions in the sea.
Premier cruises, which had filed for bankruptcy in 2000, had the fleet’s ship hulls painted in bright red colours, branding themselves as “The Big Red Boat”. Royal Caribbean owned Celebrity Cruises had its ship hulls painted in bright blue colours.
So yes, white is the obvious choice for most cruise lines, owing to the aesthetically pleasing and pristine nature of the white colour, as well as reducing the burden on air-conditioning systems onboard the ships. But many do spend extra cash on holding onto their company’s long-standing originality and brand value.
Over to you,
Do you think there is any other reason for the cruise ship to be white?
Let’s know in the comments below.
Video Credits: BRIGHT SIDE | Casual Navigation
Marine Insight does not own the rights of the video.