‘The programmne delivers on so many levels. Everyone will find something appealing in it’

Distributor BossaNova Media
Producer Afanti Productions
Length 2 x 60 minutes
Broadcaster Channel 4 (UK)

Afanti Productions’ The World’s Biggest Cruise Ship offers an exclusive look behind the scenes of Royal Caribbean’s recordbreaking behemoth Icon of the Seas, which set out on her maiden voyage in January. The 20-deck ship – which is five times the size of the Titanic – boasts seven swimming pools, six waterslides and an ice-skating rink.

The glossy two-parter has already found a buyer in Channel 4, but BossaNova has high hopes for the show in Cannes. Picking up the show was “pretty much a no brainer”, says head of sales Tatiana Grinkevich.

“Audiences love the sense that they are the first to get a look at something, and to get insight into how it works,” she says. “We thought it was a great piece of television and a great fit for our slate.”

While the show does have travelogue elements, its appeal goes beyond that, looking at the complexities of the ship’s day-to-day operation, Grinkevich says.

“There’s also content there for someone who is more interested in engineering because it explores how such a gigantic ship was made and how it’s controlled,” she says. “And then there’s how they’ve worked on minimising its environmental impact through developing specific systems for food waste recycling and energy conservation.”

The show also features “stunning visuals”, such as “a huge zipline that takes you literally over the ocean”, as well as coverage of rehearsals for the performances put on for passengers every night.

Grinkevich adds: “It’s very character-led as well. There are 2,500 crew members plus 7,600 passengers – so that’s about 10,000 people on board in total. The kitchen crew, for example, includes more than 400 chefs, making 45,000 to 50,000 meals daily. It’s a big, big machine.”

The diversity of nationalities represented by those on board the ship, which was built in Finland by a Finnish crew and then set sail from Miami, should also help the show sell well across multiple territories, Grinkevich says. For added star power, the ship was launched by Argentinian football icon Lionel Messi.

As well as being snapped up by C4, the show has already found a home in Australia, although the name of the broadcaster remains under wraps. BossaNova is also in conversations with a buyer in the Nordics and Grinkevich is optimistic that Germany and Benelux will jump on board.

Grinkevich says The World’s Biggest Cruise Ship will appeal to all audience demographics “from 18 up”, and could work on streaming or in a linear schedule.

“Because the subject is of interest, the exclusive access, and because the programme delivers on so many levels, showcasing the biggest and most expensive cruise ship in the world, there will be an audience for it with broadcasters or streamers,” she says. “I don’t think there’s any limitation – everyone will find something appealing in it.”