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, an amazingly 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.
Lighting Designer Hilton Jones
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. Hilton works as Entertainment Lighting Consultant for AIDA Cruises and Lighting Designer for AIDA Entertainment GmbH, the company which creates all of the entertainment for the AIDA cruise ships. Senior Manager of Show & Live Performances for AIDA Entertainment is Ursula Maile.
”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 program.
“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.”
Different shows, different looks, flexible lighting
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.”
Hilton, who has worked with AIDA since 1998, says he decided to go with Martin quite a while ago. “It came out of a combination of decisions back when we designed the ships,” he states. “The main factors are 1) the compact size - the Martin units, despite their excellent power, retain their compact size. We have limited space and have to work with the space we’ve got; 2) the reliability of the units - there are other small lights on the market but they aren’t reliable. It doesn’t do me any good to have a lamp that is constantly in the workshop getting repaired; 3) cost effectiveness is also a factor of course as I have a budget I have to work under; and 4) flexibility of the lamps.
“The uniformity of the fixtures across the fleet is also an important issue so that we can send our service technicians - when they are trained on a particular product range - onto any ship and they will be confronted with the same products. This was a major consideration when we speced the ship. It also helps with the programming as I know exactly what the lamps are capable of doing.”
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 color 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 60 meters 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!”
Anytime Bar and Disco
The Anytime Bar and Disco is the main late night dance venue on the ship. It features a large outdoor bar and terrace with the dance floor extending through a retractable glass wall to the outside area. LED points set into the ceiling and walls throughout the room, together with internally LED-illuminated tables, columns and bar facings, allow the room to be washed in colors and patterns.
For the dance floor illumination, a combination of Martin smartMACs™, Wizard Extremes™ and Atomic 3000™ strobes provide a dynamic base for the lighting system, while Exterior 410 LED fixtures are used for the outdoor illumination.
There are a myriad of other entertainment venues on board including the AIDA Bar, which features a live band and dance floor with dynamic color from Martin Tripix LED strips. Another unique venue for a cruise ship is the Brauhaus with live music and excellent beer brewed right on board where more Tripix LED strips help set the mood. Decorating the multitude of stairways that connect the interior spaces are Martin Alien 02 Spots™ which add a festive touch to an otherwise functional space.
Installation of the entertainment lighting systems on board AIDAsol was by Amptown System Company of Hamburg with Rolf Garnies and Michael Knappe as key personnel. Hilton also mentions Morten Gjøtz, Martin Professional Business Area Director, Cruise Ships & Theme Parks; and Peter Kroul, head of Martin Professional Germany, as having been very supportive throughout the entire process. Programming of the shows and systems on board AIDAsol was by Philipp Herbst and Tue Selmer Friborg.
14 x Martin MAC 2000 Profile™
6 x Martin MAC 2000 Wash XB™
16 x Martin MAC 700 Wash™
16 x Martin MAC 250 Wash™
4 x Martin MAC 250 Entour™
2 x Martin FiberSource QFX 150™
10 x Martin Tripix 1200™
6 x Martin MAC 700 Profile™
8 x Martin Exterior 410™
14 x Martin Exterior 200 LED™
6 x Martin Exterior 600™
5 x Martin Tripix 1200™
4 x Martin smartMAC™
6 x Martin Atomic 3000™
2 x Martin Wizard Extreme™
4 x Martin Exterior 410™
18 x Martin Tripix 300™
3 x Martin Tripix 1200™
Stairways / Interior:
31 x Martin Alien 02 Spot™ (Supplied by FUNA)