The scientific reason:
White is the best reflector and the worst absorber of sunlight. For this property of the colour, white exteriors save the ship from getting heated up, reducing the burden on air conditioning systems.
The economic reason:
Consequently, cruise ships exclusively cater to the luxury industry, which means that companies have to ensure maximum comfort to the guests onboard, keeping in mind that they make a profit margin.
To ensure maximum comfort, the air conditioning onboard goes full throttle. With the exterior painted in bright white colours, the temperature of the interior of the ship gets drastically reduced. This saves the ship from turning into a giant oven in the middle of the ocean.
For luxury yachts, the reason is different, however. During yacht manufacturing, shipbuilders pour epoxy with layers of glass fibre. Therefore yachts have an epoxy coating as the exterior. Shipbuilders mix the white colour with the epoxy coating, which eliminates the need to paint the ship altogether, saving on painting costs.
The psychological reason:
As mentioned earlier, the cruise ship falls under the hospitality sector, which values customer satisfaction over everything. White paint brings about a clean and tidy look to the ship. Against the blue background of the ship, the white colour provides an aesthetically pleasing look to the ship.
White colour means minimalism and simplicity. In Western cultures, the colour white is often associated with weddings, hospitals, and angels and is often used to convey a sense of purity, cleanliness, and peacefulness. This automatically induces a holiday spirit among passengers.
Apart from all the above-mentioned reasons, white paints mask mould defects as well.
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