Martin equips latest AIDA cruise ship

AIDAsol offers a full gamut of shows including some specially composed for the AIDA fleet

2 September 2011

World - The 2,194 passenger capacity AIDAsol is the fifth of seven ships for AIDA Cruises built by the Meyer Shipyards in Germany and is the latest luxury liner to set sail outfitted with Martin Professional entertainment and architectural lighting solutions.

The AIDA ships are designed by Architects Partner Ship Design, a creative team from Hamburg, who together with Christian Schönrock, director of new building at AIDA, are 100% responsible for the integrated visual style of the AIDA brand.

Chief lighting designer for AIDA is Hilton Jones, who was commissioned to create dynamic lighting schemes for the myriad of entertainment spaces on each AIDA ship.

"For AIDA Cruises, entertainment has always been a very important part of the experience for the guests on board, and an extensive program of shows has been part of the concept from the very beginning of the AIDA brand," Hilton Jones states. "Instrumental in the success of the entertainment on board is that the people creating the shows are also involved at a very early stage in the ship's design process, enabling the venues and equipment to be designed and specified for the particular requirements of the entertainment programme.

"For the purposes of maintenance, spare parts and economy of scale, it makes sense to utilize as much as possible from one manufacturer. Martin Professional offered by far the best range of equipment catering for all of the requirements."

AIDAsol offers a full gamut of shows, specially created, including some specially composed, for the AIDA fleet. The atmospheric and fantasy-filled entertainment, which often includes modern dance theatre, is all different and covers a variety of themes such as African or Arabian.

"We have 29 shows on the ship on one cruise so we need to create a lot of different looks. Each show has to be different, has to look different, and has to have a different feel," Hilton explains. "My contribution as a lighting designer is to create a unique atmosphere for each; therefore we need maximum flexibility from the lighting system."

Central to the on board entertainment is the Theatrium, a fusion of theatre and atrium with a classic proscenium stage. Enclosed in glass and located in the middle of the ship, this versatile entertainment space extends over three decks and across the entire width of the ship.

"As the Theatrium is basically a glass room, fixtures with relatively high output are required," Hilton explains. "However, in the compact spaces on a cruise ship the size of the units is also a consideration. The lighting system is primarily Martin moving lights and is comprised of MAC 2000 Profiles and MAC 700 Washes with MAC 2000 XB Washes in the auditorium positions to give a little more intensity to colour washes at times when there is still daylight to contend with. At the rear of the stage is a white backdrop illuminated by Martin Tripix strip lights and spaced around the two balcony levels are MAC 250 Washes to give low level light to the thrust stage. MAC 250 Entours are used as variable floor lamps for several shows."

The Pool Deck is the second main location for entertainment. It covers a length of more than 60m over three decks with cascading pools, a large stage and amphitheatre-style seating. The stage has similar dimensions to the Theatrium stage, and a similar technical setup, enabling shows to be transferred easily between the two venues in the case of inclement weather.

The Pool Deck incorporates Martin Exterior 200 LED and Exterior 410 luminaires to light the architectural elements of the pool as well as the pools themselves. Lighting is also integrated into the pool stage in the form of MAC 700 Profiles in custom Plexiglas domes and are used during daytime performances "to give the show that extra little edge," Hilton states. The stage has a large outdoor LED screen and laser system that work together to provide a unique immersive experience. Once the shows are over, the Pool Deck becomes a huge open-air disco. Martin Exterior 200 LED units set behind underwater glass panels in the pools allow the pool water to be colored to suit the rest of the atmospheric and ambient lighting.

"On the older AIDA ships there was always a problem with equipment exposed to the salty sea air. It rusted and fell apart within two years," says Hilton. "The Martin Exterior range has proved incredibly resistant to the sea air and even after five years of exposure, still looks and operates like new."

(Jim Evans)

 

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