The finished product was a result of much deliberation over the best design, because once they chose a design and built the moulds, the only changes possible would be to the accessories and non-fiberglass parts.
Yes, the gondolas are fiberglass, but not just any old "tupperware" boat material - the vacuum-bag construction method used was top of the line and state-of-the-art. Ultra high-quality foam core and fiberglass materials were used, and the guy who headed up the building project was reportedly known to have built racing sailboats that competed in the Americas Cup competition.
Suffice to say, the gondolas were built on a budget that you might expect at a major Las Vegas casino. The proprietor of said casino was new to the game and wanted to put his best foot forward - he spared no effort or expense and it shows, not only in the boats but in the resort as a whole.
I had the opportunity to tour the Treadway facility during the construction of some of these gondolas.
It was incredible, really amazing to see such high quality work being done on such a large scale. Around two dozen of these boats were produced there. By the time I walked through the facility, some had already begun cruising at the casino, but there were others - stored and waiting in a room. I walked into that room, and the best way to describe it, would be that it was like walking into the showroom of a luxury car dealership. There they were, all black and shiny - the glossy gel-coat was like no paint on the market, surfaces reflected like black chrome. The wood trim on each boat was stained a little different than the others, and the seating upholstery colors varied as well.
I realize that some who read this find non-Venice-built gondolas to be objectionable, but these gondolas are like no others on the planet (except their sister ships that operate in the casino's counterpart in the Orient).
Treadway no longer builds gondolas, the contract to build them for the casino in Las Vegas was a limited one, and the moulds and designs used to build them are the property of the casino, not Treadway. I know this because the reason I visited Treadway was to hire them to build boats for one of my operations - they were thrilled with the idea, the owner of the moulds was not.
It's easy to criticize the gondoliers who operate thes boats, but one must remember that they are simply doing a job in the manner that it was designed to be done. For whatever reason, the people who designed the casino waterways felt that a smaller boat which was motorized would serve their needs better than gondolas of traditional design and propulsion. I'm not here to cast judgement, just report the facts. The boats are roughly twenty-five feet long, and their remi are used as rudders more than rowing gear. The boats are pushed through the water using electric motors which are hard-mounted beneath the boats. On-board chargers are plugged in each night when a boat is wrapped for the night, and the ones operating in the outside lagoon also have protective canvas pieces for the seating areas.
The hull design looks like it's round, but just below the waterline the bottom is flat making the vessel more stable. These boats are wide, probably five feet or beamier at the widest point. When compared to the genuine article from Venice, their bow decks are bigger and don't have quite the A-shaped cathedral, but they do catch the eye nicely.
One thing that Treadway did which was an original element for a gondola, was the use of varnished wood as both trim and to frame the seating area. I believe that oak was used on all the boats, again, with different stains used to give a variety of tones within the fleet.