Given the enormous effort devoted to the hydrodynamic design of ships’ hulls, I find it weird that the drag on the above-surface hull and superstructure is usually neglected.
Surely there is no need to have a massive ‘tower block’ built on a ship’s deck? Today’s invention is modular crew accommodation consisting of a cluster of containers on deck, each of which is essentially a large lifeboat.
These would have options to include large, sealable hatchways in order to create reasonably comfortable shared messes (such variability might actually be valued in reducing the boredom of a long voyage). In the event of a potential sinking (or pirate attack), the modules could be sealed and launched into the sea.
The issue of observation would be dealt with by having a deck crane dedicated to lifting a bridge module high in the sky when necessary. There might be several such observation modules for added assurance and each could be made an inertial platform, so that the crane compensated for the motion of the ship in the water…just like a bird holding its head still, by stretching and compressing its neck, when perched on an oscillating tree branch.