Pathways of the Creative Journey - the Significance of a Cruise Ship Concept Design

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph


This dissertation examines the initial stage of a cruise ship design process and those key success factors that have an impact and are estimated to improve the process, contributing the success of the concept. The aim of this work is to improve the consistency and efficiency of the concept design process by sequencing this substantial design phase more accurately. In addition, the factors that are relevant to the success of the concept, such as design collaboration and practices, the utilization of modern tools, maturity of design, punctuality, cost evolution, and potential risks, are considered.In the construction of a new ship, in particular within prototype, focused and efficient steering of the design process has a significant impact on the success of the project. The clear sequencing of the conceptual design phase, and the focused leadership approach that is assumed have a remarkable impact on the process, from the initial design, through construction, until the completion of a project. The more accurately the different stages of the concept design with contents can be defined, and results measured, the more mature the new ship concept will be for the project launch beyond the basic design phase. This requires all major design questions to have already been evaluated and addressed in the concept design phase. The pivotal success factors that have an impact on various stages of the cruise ship concept design process and on the concept are explored. This work is executed by using semi-structured expert interviews, analysis of the open scientific literature on concept design, and the use of Grounded Theory to identify the gaps in science and practices. On this basis, the advanced concept design thinking is derived. The aim of the new concept design thinking is to harmonize technical and architectural design tasks, cost estimation, and the assessment of various risks in terms of design and construction, but also from the future perspective. Advances in state-of-the-art technology, in particular in virtual design environments, allow the examination and definition of this type of complex product from the conceptual stage and are believed to facilitate and improve design updates and changes made to sister vessels. Various indicators that emerged from the interviews are considered to assess relevant key factors that are critical to the success of a concept. Of these, e.g distributed leadership, regular joint evaluation of the various design stages and a forward-looking approach by the partnering groups, the quality of the teamwork, and collaborative tools will enable the efficiency of the whole design approach to be increased. The new concept design thinking that is developed is validated through the real-life case, demonstrating that the additions to the front-end phase contribute to the overall ship design process and add to the sophisticated importance of the distributed leadership of the design process in large construction projects.
Translated title of the contributionLuovan matkan polut - konseptivaiheen merkitys risteilylaivan suunnittelussa
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Romanoff, Jani, Supervising Professor
  • Kujala, Pentti, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-64-0292-5
Electronic ISBNs978-952-64-0293-2
Publication statusPublished - 2021
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)


  • concept design
  • cruise ship
  • front-end design process
  • ship design
  • shipbuilding


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