Digital Signage Maximizes Cruising Experience on “Floating Resort Hotel”
As P&O Cruises, Britain’s leading cruise line and part of Carnival UK, started its plans for building its latest and largest cruise ship, it had very clear communication objectives set out to complement its passengers’ holiday experience. P&O Cruises chose a state-of-the-art digital signage and audio-visual solution to maximize the passengers’ exclusive cruise.
The cruise line also wanted it to be built as an integral part of the ship because the intention was to use the screens to communicate information to the passengers about the current location of the ship, as well as the huge range of activities on board.
P&O Cruises’ newest superliner, Azura, blends all of the much-loved P&O Cruises traditions with modern luxuries and innovations. Her atmosphere is stylish, sophisticated and serene. Every element of life on board is delivered with a particular attention to detail. Passengers can enjoy glamorous formal occasions, as well as a whole host of varied daytime and evening entertainment. Azura offers the ultimate in relaxation, indulgence and pampering. Passengers can be on board for a few weeks, traveling from country to country. So the communication media need to deliver visually engaging and targeted messages while passengers are aboard, and the types of messages displayed on various screens need to be diverse and promote the ship’s many activities. P&O Cruises creates an experience for customers so they don’t feel like they are just “along for the ride,” but rather are enjoying the wide range of activities, venues and shops on board.
Beaver Solutions worked with P&O Cruises before, having provided similar installations for other P&O Cruises ships such as the Oriana, Aurora and Arcadia.
For Azura, Beaver created a comprehensive and impressive digital network that informs, entertains and communicates using screens that are integrated into the ship design. The network is a truly integral part of the ship and the journey because it literally accompanies the passengers on their voyage, displaying various categories such as information, entertainment, way finding and promotions.
In total, Azura’s digital network has 45 high-definition LCD and plasma screens, ranging in size from 19 inches to 80 inches, and it features 15 channels. In the reception areas, in shops and throughout the ship, all of the screens display information that is relevant to the location. The screens promote the many services and activities on board. Passengers can also find out the ship’s location, local weather and important news announcements from live, up-to-date maps on the screens.
“Beaver Solutions understood the unique requirements of our business, giving us a practical yet elegant solution for communicating with our passengers. We are very grateful to Beaver for the time spent installing this project on board Azura and integrating it with our other systems. It’s an impressive system and we are delighted with the results.”
- Graham Douglas, Entertainment Media Manager, Carnival UK
Have a Drink in the Serengeti
If you fancy a drink with a difference, you’ll want to visit Azura’s luxurious Planet Bar, where several 103-inch plasma screens display ambient and scenic views for guests. The mood of these screens and all of the various screens on board the ship reflects the situation and location they are in, helping to further integrate them into the cruise experience.
This chic venue boasts a unique audio-visual plasma wall that screens iconic, manmade and natural wonders from the world’s continents, creating a visual feast. Passengers can enjoy a cool drink, for example, while the jaw-dropping images of the Serengeti jump off of the screen and African beats fill the air.
The 8.2-meter LED “SeaScreen” is located above the pool on Deck 16. The SeaScreen is one of the most exciting features on board Azura, combining digital messaging with entertainment. During the day, this huge screen is used for group video games (such as Wii Sports) and plays video while passengers enjoy the pool.
After sundown, passengers can enjoy a unique experience as Deck 16 becomes an open-air cinema under the night sky while passengers cruise to their next destination.
“SeaScreen, a first for the fleet, is a fantastic addition to Azura, and making it multi-functional has been very valuable to us and a great enhancement for our passengers.”
- Graham Douglas, Entertainment Media Manager, Carnival UK.
Reliability and Ease-of-Use is Key
One of the unique considerations with the deployment and management of this project is that it is sea-based. There is only a limited Internet connection while the ship is docked, and it is impossible for an outside company to deliver support or system management while it is at sea. This means that the system needs to be ultra-reliable and easily manageable by the crew.
Beaver Solutions turned to the leader in digital signage software: Scala. Scala now supports the design, management and delivery of all content on the digital signage network across the ship. Scala was chosen, in part, because it had been used before on other P&O Cruises ships, and it had proven itself as very reliable, scalable and easy to use.
“This on-sea, high-end digital signage network can only function when driven by a stable, easy-to-manage software solution. We are proud that Beaver and P&O Cruises have valued these key features of Scala when choosing software for Azura.”
- Oscar Elizaga, Vice President of Scala, EMEA
Content and templates for this project were developed by Beaver using Scala 5 Designer, following Azura brand guidelines and ensuring that the designs fit with the rest of Azura and P&O Cruises’ corporate messaging. Azura crew members use Scala 5 Content Manager and Player to broadcast content across the digital signage network via the ship’s infrastructure using video transmitters and receivers.
For the complete hardware installation, Beaver collaborated closely with many other international contractors while the ship was being constructed in its Italian dock.
“This is an excellent example of a large and well-planned project. We’re very pleased with the outcome, as so often screens can be added as an afterthought. However, with this project, it’s clear that the screens and the content are part of the new ship, adding to the holiday experience of the guests on board.”
- Barry Thurston, Group Chairman, Beaver Group
About P&O Cruises
P&O Cruises, voted Britain’s favorite cruise line, is based in Southampton, England, and operated by Carnival UK. Formerly a division of the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company, P&O Cruises is the world’s original cruise line, having operated the world’s first passenger ships in the early 19th Century. The company was demerged in 2000 to form P&O Princess Cruises PLC, which subsequently merged with Carnival Corporation in 2003. P&O Cruises currently operates seven cruise ships, with its most recent vessel Azura having joined the fleet in April 2010. More information at www.pocruises.com.
About Beaver Group
Beaver Group is an organization whose focus is the delivery of digital signage and design solutions and is made up of two companies, Beaver Solutions and Beaver Design.
Beaver Solutions was formed in 1998 to supply individuals, companies and public institutions with solutions for the delivery of communications via Plasma and LCD screens. Using the very latest in display and networking technology, Beaver Solutions specify, supply, install andsupport solutions including retail and menu board systems through to corporate TV for companies, government, education and the military. Beaver group works with various software and hardware manufacturers in the field of digital display to ensure that they deliver the best fit for each project. Clients they work with include Ericsson, IKEA, The Home Office, BBC, Showcase Cinemas and P&O Cruises.
Beaver Design was formed in 1977 and provides end-to- end content design services in print, web, digital signage and branding. They have many years of experience working within each of these disciplines and develop in-house bespoke solutions to fit each client’s requirements, resulting in a fresh, brand-focused service. More information at www.beaver-group.com.