A Love of the Sea Takes Dreams to Reality

— Regina P. Ciardiello

While this year's Sea Trade Cruise Shipping Convention in Miami, Fla.

offered up the usual fare of new innovations and ideas for the cruise industry, Fincantieri introduced not a new vessel or concept, but a book outlining the concepts and designs that the yard has based its European traditions. Rather than focusing on just the vessels themselves, Fincantieri's executive team, namely Executive Chairman Corrado Antonini and Giuseppe Bono, the company's CEO, approached the situation as an historical artifact. Therefore, the company sought the assistance of Fiora Steinbach Palazzini, a writer and communication consultant, who is also a professor at Trieste University Palazzini, who teaches the course "Theories and Techniques of Image Promotion." is also a life-long resident of the city, which happens to be the location of Fincantieri's headquarters. Her knowledge of rich history regarding this port city, coupled with her professional experience led to Financtieri's decision to formulate their dream of this book, ironically titled, "La Fabbrica del Sogno," (The Dream Factory), into a reality.

Following the book launching party that was held on the second day of the Sea Trade Convention, MR/EN had the opportunity to catch up with Palazzini, (via a translator supplied by Fincantieri), who shared her vision and inspirations for both the book and the vessels that adorn it. Throughout the conversation, Palazzini mentioned several times that her drive to produce this book stemmed from her love of the sea and a passion for the ships that sail on it. "I remember as a young girl, the ocean liners coming into the Port of Trieste, and now, later on in my life, I had the opportunity to tell my story," she said. "To tell the story from the past - is the actual story." Aside from her personal knowledge regarding Fincantieri and its vessels, Palazzini, spent approximately one year researching materials for the book, often spending days at a time at the shipyard's Trieste location sifting through years of archived materials, not to mention fact checking and interviews with individuals who had worked on the vessels.

Deciding that she would divide the book into two sections - personal stories and the construction process. Palazzini, learned amazing facts and figures regarding the various phases of ship construction — by speaking to those who had participated in the vessels' construction process. She also presents brief profiles on some of the most prominent figures in the cruise industry today — both on the business and design side.

Featured are Micky Arison. Carnival Corp. Chairman and CEO: Joseph Farcus. who has been designing Carnival's vessels for the past 25 years; Matt Ouimet. president Disney Cruise Line; Designers Petter Yran and Bjorn Storbraaten, whose firm Yran & Storbraaten created some of the interiors on Disney Magic and Wonder; and Pier Luigi Foschi, president and managing director Costa Crociere.

Meeting and speaking with so many industry figures also provided Palazzini with a well-rounded perspective on the planning and effort that goes into creating these "dream factories." "I knew that Fincantieri had created these ships, but in doing all this research. I understood just how complex this industry is," she said. "I learned more about the shipbuilding process from speaking to different people, and after writing this book, I now understand the complexity of it all." She continued: "The ship today that Fincantieri has built represents the realization of dreams," she said. "The idea of taking people to some of the most beautiful places on the high seas is a very beautiful thing." — Regina P. Ciardiello

Other stories from April 2003 issue


Maritime Reporter

First published in 1881 Maritime Reporter is the world's largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime industry.