Carnival Cruise Line ships have added bocce to their onboard activities, due to an inflatable court developed by NZ company Packaworld.
Manager of Entertainment Experience for Carnival, Joey Colby-Begovich, said Carnival was excited to introduce bocce on 18 ships across its fleet after successful trials onboard Carnival Glory and Carnival Pride. The trials were run by American Bocce Company, which is leading a revitalisation of bocce across the USA.
Bocce is a participation-based sport similar to pétanque and lawn bowls. Despite being an ancient sport, the size and bulk of traditional courts has posed a significant barrier to offering bocce on cruise ships or in shared spaces in the past.
To overcome this problem, Packaworld developed inflatable ‘Packabocce’ courts in collaboration with Special Olympics New Zealand.
Packaworld CEO Peter Roberts said ‘Packabocce’ courts were developed to make it easier to bring the game to new players and locations around the world.
The invention of portable recreation courts in 30-foot by 8-foot recreation size and 22-foot by 6-foot mini size meant recreational bocce could now be set up in minutes just about anywhere there was space to inflate the courts, he said.
"Traditional courts are 60 feet long, 12 feet wide, and usually made of wood, so they require a dedicated space. Moving them takes a lot of effort, and transporting them has been dependent on trailers and shipping containers. This led us to invent Packabocce courts. They are revolutionizing the way bocce is set up. One of the world’s oldest sports can now be offered anywhere from ship to shore."
Mr Roberts said bocce was a great fit for recreational play on cruise ships as it encouraged people of all ages and physical abilities to get involved. He said Carnival Cruise Line’s innovative decision to offer bocce in indoor social spaces such as on-board bars meant it could deliver the best experience for cruise line guests rain or shine.
Packabocce courts have been a vital factor in a recent resurgence in the sport of bocce, as promoted by the American Bocce Company. Courts are now used in a wide variety of locations, from local sports leagues and restaurants such as Eataly to team trainings for the American Special Olympics Bocce team.