The latest luxury cruise liner to feature a Helvar lighting control system is Britannia, the biggest such vessel ever built specifically for the UK market.
Instantly recognisable with a 94m Union Flag emblazoned on the bow, the Italian-built ship is by far the biggest in P&O Cruises' fleet, carrying 3,647 passengers and 1,350 crew members across 15 decks. Britannia weighs in at 141,000 tons – 27,000 tons heavier and carrying 547 more passengers than the line's previous biggest ship, Azura.
The ship’s lighting solution is on a similarly massive scale, with approximately 15,000 ballasts and LED drivers in the public areas, and 56 dimmer racks. Helvar features in all public spaces on board the cruise liner, including the spa, restaurants, theatre, shops, atrium, reception, lounges, lido, kids’ zone, gym, photo gallery and cafés.
With importance placed on the use of lighting to maintain the vessel’s relaxed, opulent feel, Helvar was tasked with supplying the lighting control for its marine partner, Navalimpianti, to install. The Helvar lighting management system provided the platform to integrate all the light sources into one ship-wide lighting control system that supports monitoring and controllability through the IP network.
The Helvar system also allows integration with the ship’s AV and entertainment systems, with special interface devices allowing show lighting desks to take control of the house lighting system. The impressive ‘starburst’ chandelier located in the atrium is also controlled by Helvar, forming a stunning centrepiece, which was created and supplied by Austrian company Kalmer.
Helvar equipment installed includes the Imagine 920 Router, the DIGIDIM 454 dimmer, the DIGIDIM 474 4-Channel Ballast controller and the Imagine 939 Panel.
Luca Montanaro, cruise and yacht commercial executive at Navalimpianti, commented: “Dimming systems on board cruise ships are an essential tool to create the right atmosphere suited to each situation; the finer and smoother the control of each light fixture in public venues, the better the comfort and experience of the guests. The right setting of all lighting sources on board is absolutely essential to achieve the desired ambience that creates the kind of experience which guests are looking for. For the same reason, less than perfect dimming is often pointed out by guests as a major factor of discomfort and dissatisfaction.
“Given the fact that owners spend millions to have the best possible dimming system and the best light fixtures on board their ships, it’s fully understandable that great expectations are put on them. It is a fact that a modern cruise ship can be likened to a huge four- or five-star hotel, with up to 25,000 square metres of public spaces, something that makes many other buildings ashore pale in comparison!”
Lighting was initially configured to follow a standard pattern to ensure the system was fully operational. Following this, Navalimpianti technicians programmed the whole system following detailed instructions received by lighting designers. Each room is programmed with up to eight different lighting scenes that can be recalled by the hotel manager or his assistants through a local control panel located in each room. Each preset scene is set to suit specific conditions of the room at a specific time, such as breakfast, lunch, dinner or cleaning. Moreover, the system is linked to the ship’s clock in order to automatically start some actions programmed for certain hours. The ship is entirely LED-lit.
Helvar’s control system has helped create a stunning and multifunctional lighting solution for every part of the ship, whether it be dining, relaxing, reading, exercising or for nightlife. The preset lighting scenes and dimming capabilities allow spaces to be flexible in their use and make for a memorable holiday for the vessel’s guests.