AIDAdiva Sails with Martin Lighting

AIDAdiva Sails with Martin Lighting

November 30, 2007

Cruising’s enormous popularity continues unabated, and why shouldn’t it? With luxury cruises from AIDA Cruises within the economic grasp of an ever younger audience, what young European wouldn’t want to sail the western Mediterranean or Canary Islands aboard a fun-filled modern luxury liner?

AIDA Cruises, the German affiliate of Costa Crociere S.p.A., a sub-branch of Carnival Corporation, originated the ‘club resort’ cruise concept aimed at a younger, more active public back in the ‘90s. With four AIDA cruise liners already in the water and three more on the way, the idea has taken off to say the least.

The 2,050 passenger capacity AIDAdiva is the latest in the AIDA fleet and the first of four identical ships for AIDA Cruises being built by the Meyer Shipyards in Germany. Launched in April, 2007 dynamic lighting from Martin Professional features prominently in several areas of the ship and will on the remaining three ships as well, scheduled for delivery in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

LD Hilton Jones
Lighting Designer Hilton Jones was commissioned to create dynamic lighting schemes for the myriad of entertainment spaces on each AIDA ship. Hilton works as Entertainment Lighting Consultant for AIDA Cruises in Rostock and Lighting Designer for Seelive Tivoli Entertainment & Consulting in Hamburg, the firm responsible for the entertainment onboard AIDA cruise ships.

Hilton comments that Martin lighting fixtures were chosen for reasons of service and interchangeability as well as economy of scale. “It makes sense to stick with one manufacturer,” he says. “In the product ranges I required, Martin offered the most modern and versatile products.”

Architects PartnerShipDesign of Hamburg, what Hilton calls “an amazingly creative team,” together with Christian Schönrock, director of new building at AIDA, are 100% responsible for the integrated visual style of the AIDA brand. “There is no space in the ship’s public areas which is not part of the overall design with each area blending seamlessly into the next,” Hilton states. “They are also big on integrating the technical equipment into the room design. That the Martin fixtures are not so ‘clunky’ looking always wins points with the architects. The sound consultants had a much harder time!”

Each new cruise ship launch brings more modern and ever unique amenities. AIDA Cruises has set new standards in the cruise industry with the new AIDA series by foregoing the traditional theatre and creating instead a “Theatrium,” a fusion of Theatre and Atrium.

The Theatrium is the central space in this new class of ship. 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. It includes other amenities as well like coffee and sushi bars.

A classic proscenium stage can be extended into the center of the room in just a few seconds with several motorized podiums forming a broad, freely configurable catwalk. At the head of the catwalk is a round podium which, together with a large second podium at the rear of the stage, can be lowered to the sub stage one deck below. This enables spectacular entrances for cast and stage elements.

“As we have a large number of shows on the Diva a high degree of flexibility is required from the system, the result being a high reliance on moving lights with very few conventional lights installed,” explains Hilton. “As the Theatrium is basically a glass room, fixtures with relatively high output were required. However, in the compact spaces on a cruise ship the size of the units is also a consideration with which the Martin units were able to gain extra points.

“The primary stage lighting in the Theatrium is MAC 2000 Profiles and MAC 700 Washes with MAC 2000 Washes in the auditorium positions to give a little more intensity to color washes at times when I still have daylight to contend with. Spaced around the two balcony levels are MAC 250 Washes to give low level light to the thrust stage but they also double for architectural highlights. MAC 250 Entours are used as variable scenic floor lamps for several shows. We have Jem 24/7 Hazers mounted onto the side lighting booms which give a good coverage.”

Suspended across the Theatrium’s main stage is an LED wall. The wall is divided into 6 vertical elements which are individually movable. Any conceivable position or combination is possible, from a 4:3 screen to 6 individual stripes. The LED wall, with varying positions and different visual content, forms the setting for 19 production shows plus 6 solo programs and additional weekly guest artists.

Just getting started
The Theatrium is by no means the only space on the ship for fun. Entertainment areas abound and include the pool deck stage and disco, Anytime Disco, AIDA Bar, Crew Bar, Piano Bar, Kids Theatre, TV Studio, mobile system and extensive Wellness Area.

Pool Deck
The AIDAdiva pool deck is a hub of activity, day and night, with an assortment of relaxing pools, cabanas, bars and pool deck stage and disco. For this type of exposed environment, Hilton has never been satisfied with ‘weatherproof’ PAR lamps which have always rusted away in the salty sea air. “This time I decided to use Martin Exteriors for color washes,” he says, “and this has already proven to be a far superior choice, both for the weather resistance and the versatility due to the color mixing.”

Also on the pool deck, Exterior 200 IP65 rated color changers set behind glass plates in the side walls of the pools - a concept Hilton introduced on the previous generation of AIDA ships - enables changing color washes in the cascading pools at nighttime.

The pool deck stage has MAC 700 Profiles behind half domes set into the ceiling over the stage. Color washes are supplied by a combination of Exterior 200s mounted below the ceiling as side washlights, and Exterior 600 IP65 rated color changers on masts one deck higher for front washes. Martin Mania SCX700 scanners are focused onto the open area in front of the stage that functions as a dance floor for pool parties.

“I love the 700 Washes and Profiles. They’re compact, fast and have a phenomenal light output,” Hilton says. “The animation disks in the 700 Profiles enable some attractive animated effects. The zoom and rotating beam shaper in the 700 Wash also makes it a very practical unit and actually I’ve been using both 700 models for my land based projects where possible. The saltwater resistance of the Exteriors is a huge plus for external applications on the ship.

“To balance all of that we had a fairly tight budget set by AIDA Cruises for the entertainment technical equipment. Value for money was important! Reliability is of course a major issue and on the older ships back in 2001 we did have teething problems with the early MAC 2000 units. However, six months after installation of the Diva the 2000s are behaving themselves and the 700s, which are the workhorse of the system, have proven themselves to be a reliable unit with no out time.”

Anytime Disco / AIDA Bar / Crew Bar
With a clientele younger than the general cruising public, it’s no surprise that the AIDAdiva’s dancing and bar areas are especially popular. The main disco/bar is the Anytime Disco, a large nightclub with both an interior and exterior dance floor that sees plenty of action.

Above the exterior portion of the dance floor hang Exterior 200s for changing color washes while the inside dance floor is covered by Mania SCX700 scanners, Mania EF3 effect lights and Wizard Extremes mounted onto two rings. An LED system covers the walls and ceiling with internal LED illumination at the bar and tables.

At the AIDA Bar, Mania SCX700 scanners provide the dance floor energy while in the Crew Bar Mania SCX600 scanners and Mania EF3 effects under control from a Martin Freekie help keep the atmosphere festive.

Wellness Area
What would a pampered week of cruising and partying be without, well, a bit of pampering? AIDA has taken care of that with a one-of-a-kind 2700 m2 Wellness Area, one of the largest wellness and spa areas on the seas.

This unique space includes a glass roofed “tropical garden” and relaxation area extending through two decks. The centerpiece of the room is a spa pool surrounded by stone grotto, palm trees and reclining benches. A retractable glass roof can be opened when the weather is nice.

Martin Exterior 600s and Exterior 600 Compacts modified with CTO filters and dimmers provide additional ambiance to the space. On overcast days the Exteriors can simulate sunlight with the option of providing lighting effects at night for evening parties. Decorative fiber optic in a steam room and multiple saunas is powered by Martin FiberSource QFX 150 fiber optic illuminators.

Job well done
Lighting installation and equipment supply for the AIDAdiva was by Amptown of Hamburg. “The installation and set-up of the lighting system went relatively smoothly,” Hilton says. “The biggest challenge we had was the limited time available due to problems with the stage machinery and delays in the fitting out of the room’s interior decoration.

“The Amptown crew was tireless and did a great job despite constant setbacks instigated by delays and problems from other departments. Support from Morton Gjøtz (Martin Denmark) and Peter Kroul (Martin Germany) has been fantastic throughout the entire process. And a huge commendation goes to programmers Philipp Herbst and Tue Selmer Friborg as well as Seelive’s Manager for Show and Live Entertainment, Ursula Maile.”

14 x Martin MAC 2000 Profile
6 x Martin MAC 2000 Wash
16 x Martin MAC 700 Wash
16 x Martin MAC 250 Wash
4 x Martin MAC 250 Entour
2 x Martin FiberSource QFX 150
4 x Martin Mania SCX700
4 x Jem 24/7 Hazer

Pool Deck:
6 x Martin MAC 700 Profile
22 x Martin Exterior 200
6 x Martin Exterior 600
4 x Martin Mania EF3

Anytime Disco:
4 x Martin Mania SCX700
6 x Martin Mania EF3
2 x Martin Wizard Extreme
4 x Martin Exterior 200

8 x Martin Mania SCX700

Wellness Area:
10 x Martin Exterior 600
10 x Martin Exterior 600 Compact modified with CTO and dimmer
6 x Martin FiberSource QFX 150

Crew Bar:
Martin Mania SCX 600
Martin Mania EF3
Martin Freekie controller