“We called upon FUNA and their team to come up with creative technical design solutions in a number of areas including physical placement, additional cooling and power and integration with the existing audio system, and the result is a 3D movie experience as good as or better than any land-based theater,” said Christopher Vlassopulos, Entertainment Technology and Technical Direction for Royal Caribbean International & Celebrity Cruises.
A stereoscopic 3D digital cinema provided by FUNA International is one of the features that distinguish Allure of the Seas, Royal Caribbean International’s (RCI) new vessel and largest cruise ship in the world.
Through the technical services of FUNA – a global engineering firm employing more than 200 professionals in 10 international locations – and an alliance with DreamWorks Animation, Royal Caribbean has made it possible for Allure’s guests to enjoy all the current 3D DreamWorks titles as well as other 3D movies, in the ship’s Amber Theater. Allure’s November 28 naming ceremony honored DreamWorks’ Princess Fiona, Shrek’s animated life partner, as the godmother of the ship.
In addition to the Amber Theater, FUNA provided technical design, engineering, integration and consulting for entertainment, display and communications in most of the theaters, restaurants, clubs, and public spaces – as well as the crew recreation and support areas – on Allure of the Seas. The 16-deck, 5,400-guest, 225,282-ton, $1.5 billion Allure of the Seas is just 5 centimeters longer than sister vessel Oasis of the Seas, for which FUNA provided a similar range of technical services. Royal Caribbean International took delivery of Allure on October 28 from STX Europe in Turku, Finland. Her US debut into her homeport of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. occurred November 11.
Configuring 3D cinema on a cruise ship has its own special challenges due to the maritime environment, limited footprint, close proximity to other systems and functions, and the need to rely on in-house maintenance. “We called upon FUNA and their team to come up with creative technical design solutions in a number of areas including physical placement, additional cooling and power and integration with the existing audio system, and the result is a 3D movie experience as good as or better than any land-based theater,” said Christopher Vlassopulos, Entertainment Technology and Technical Direction for Royal Caribbean International & Celebrity Cruises.
“On testing the finished product, people at the highest level at Barco [projection supplier], DreamWorks and Dolby [sound system supplier] were ‘blown away’ with the result. We wanted to do a good job but to impress them out of the gate was a real bonus and obviously something the guest will really enjoy. It looks and sounds great.”
“Oasis of the Seas is already a floating marvel, but Royal Caribbean never stands still. With 3D cinema now on board Allure of the Seas they’ve raised the bar yet again in redefining the luxury cruise guest experience, and we’re proud to have been a part of it,” says Rex Stull, President of FUNA.
“Royal Caribbean is always looking for the latest and greatest in entertainment technology, and pushing us to help develop it on board their ships and utilize it in the best way for their guests,” says Derek Warner, FUNA project manager, “which is one reason they’re fantastic to work with.”
Building upon the popularity of 3D exhibition Royal Caribbean will next upgrade several existing cruise lines with new 3D cinemas, starting with Allure’s sister ship and immediate predecessor, Oasis of the Seas. “We’re doing Oasis in the first quarter 2011, as well as Liberty of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas,” confirms Vlassopulos, adding, “It was a pleasure to work with FUNA. I am always confident that they will do an outstanding job.”
FUNA provided technical design of the venues for Allure of the Seas as the company had previously provided for sister ship Oasis of the Seas, under contract to the ship owner, Royal Caribbean. Under contract to the ship builder, STX, FUNA realized those designs, providing equipment, installation, and commissioning. Allure, like Oasis, was a vast, specialized contracting project for FUNA from a management and logistics viewpoint not only in the sheer size and number of venues, but also having to work within the unique requirements of international cruise ship construction. FUNA’s various entities came into play: FUNA Oy (detailed design/installation), FUNA GmbH (commissioning) and FUNA Inc. (design, purchasing, logistics, and commissioning).
“These ships are literally vast, floating, state of the art resorts, of the same complexity and scope as a land-based resort complete with hotel, retail and entertainment but totally self-contained,” says Doug Ellis, Senior VP of FUNA and Program Director for Finland operations. “But – due to tighter safety regulations and a bevy of special considerations unique to marine projects – they’re designed and built to be more robust, more energy efficient and make fuller use of a limited footprint than you find in land construction.”