Cruise innovation: between LED walls and virtual reality

A look at the latest innovations in entertainment and design on board: the use of LED walls and virtual reality for the involvement of guests between entertainment and information.

Innovation and technology are two key words in the world of the latest generation of cruise ships. Among the most recent innovations in the field of entertainment and on-board design, there is an evolution that contributes significantly to immerse guests in a “virtual and augmented reality”.

What we’ve noticed on board some recent ships is primarily a new concept of engagement, taking a cue from the real-life situation (the itinerary, the name of the ship’s lounge) and bringing feelings and contexts on board through the creation of digital art content.

These are not simple LED screens on which photographs or films run. We are in front of entire walls or sets that without distracting us in an invasive way transport us to environments outside the ship. All this is created frame by frame at a “Digital Art” level, to give guests fully “immersive” sensations of great involvement.

We talked about it with Andrea Celia, owner and founder of Vizmo Designing Motion, an Italian company that has already carried out projects for Crystal Cruises and Costa Crociere with truly extraordinary results.

What we see on the LED screens on board these ships is something original, not just a simple video broadcast on a loop. The content created by Vizmo, explains Andrea Celia, “allows us to perceive the movement but does not abduct the gaze”. This allows them to represent a delicate element of involvement, which frames an aperitif or the reading of a good book, without necessarily having to capture our attention.

On board the new Crystal Endeavor, an expedition ship in the luxury segment, we find a first realization of artistic content of this kind inside the Crystal Cove, a lounge dedicated not only to conferences but also to entertainment and live music. Here, the LED wall forms the backdrop to the stage LED wall, has a tripartite shape with two side wings and is an integral part of the setting for the shows when they go on stage.

But during all the other moments the visuals take passengers to experience the most beautiful environments of the ship’s itineraries: from Iceland and its marvelous waterfalls, to the Orient, the United States and New Zealand. Majestic landscapes, reproduced with an effect of brushstrokes on canvas, in a light and constant movement. Every time you raise your eyes you will see the water falling rapidly from the falls, some birds flying, the wind moving the trees.

Aboard the Costa Firenze, Costa Cruises‘ flagship that launched in July 2021. Here Vizmo Designing Motion has gone one step further and brought not only Florence and Tuscan landscapes on board. In the Tuscany Lounge, the large LED wall even offers excursions to discover the capital of the Renaissance and the Chianti hills. Simulating a ride on a typical colored Vespa, you can explore the Chianti hills, dotted with cypress trees and farmhouses, during the afternoon. You will experience the real sensation of moving among the curves, climbs and descents, discovering corners of wonderful Tuscany.

In the evening, instead, the walk is in a Florence by night, crossing the historic center of the city, from the Arno to the Duomo. Passages faithful to reality, perfectly reconstructed, that really bring guests face to face with Florentine art, with the palaces, with the bridges. But at Lounge Tuscany there are also other kinds of visuals, more static ones like those made for Crystal Cruises: in the morning you will find yourself in Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa or in the countryside of Lucca etc.

“These are true 3D Photorealistic reconstructions,” explains Celia, “created ad hoc pixel by pixel. We’re not talking about simple video projections, but virtual reality creations that bring guests to experience what surrounds the ship or, as in the case of Costa Firenze, the art and history of the city to which the ship itself is dedicated”.

In the sphere of on-board entertainment, therefore, a novelty in continuous evolution that leads to a new dimension in the use of LED screens and, in particular, of large LED walls that characterize entire environments of recent ships.

The two projects completed by the team of Andrea Celia and Project Manager Talia Egelhof, start from the same innovative concept and are perfectly complementary to each other. On Crystal Endeavor they have the merit of making us experience the environment that surrounds us while sitting comfortably in the cozy Crystal Cove. On the Costa Firenze, on the other hand, they allow us to experience the splendor of the Renaissance or the gracefulness of the Chianti hills wherever the ship is in the world.

These innovations mark an evolution of no small importance within the design and construction of cruise ships, taking on-board entertainment to new dimensions and innovative levels of involvement.

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Gabriele Bassi