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Yamaha digital consoles are on the crest of a wave in P&O cruises’ latest ship

Jul, 2010

Although not as strictly formal as it once was, cruises are still a holiday activity where customers expect the very best. Whether it’s accommodation, dining or entertainment, P&O Cruises delivers the ultimate cruising experience, which is why the company’s newest ship features an array of Yamaha digital mixing consoles.

Launched in April 2010 the 115,000 ton, 3,080 passenger Azura is P&O Cruises’ latest ‘ship’ and is designed to offer the best entertainment afloat. As well as three dance floors and an art gallery, it features the Playhouse Theatre, an 820-capacity venue which is the first cruise ship theatre to produce all of its shows in-house.

“People that come on these cruises have seen high-tech entertainment programmes on television and expect to be properly entertained when on board,” says Steve Bee, entertainment production show manager for Headliners, P&O Cruise Lines’ in-house theatre company.

Flexibility, reliability, familiarity and high quality technical support are the four foundations on which Azura’s technical specification is built, so P&O Cruises chose Yamaha for its audio requirements, with a PM5D-RH, M7CL and numerous 01V96V2 consoles installed throughout the ship.

The sheer amount of Yamaha equipment in use throughout the world is a major benefit to cruise ship installations, because the majority of engineers are familiar with the Yamaha user interface. Additionally, Yamaha equipment already used on board P&O Cruises’ Ventura and Arcadia, allowing technical crew to transfer seamlessly between ships.

“We have a number of ships that have been successfully running a range of Yamaha desks onboard,” says P&O Cruises entertainment sound and light manager, Phil Yeomans.

“We have a good relationship with Yamaha and were happy to continue this relationship for Azura. The range of desks onboard means we can utilise the wide range of products for our various requirements, but still keep the same manufacturer to minimise training and spares costs.”

Installed - along with the rest of the ship’s entertainment technical infrastructure - by Kezia Group, a 56-channel Yamaha PM5D-RH was specified for the Playhouse Theatre where a wide range of 45 minute shows is put on, three performed every night.

“The Playhouse can be compared with any West End theatre, the main difference being that we run a different show every night of the week. Cruise ships have limited space, so we had to implement advanced use of technology to achieve outstanding results for every show,” says Phil.

“The productions can range from live bands and full-on dance and acrobatics shows to stand-up comedy and magicians. The equipment has to cater for all these needs.”

The Playhouse is just one part of the ship that benefits from Yamaha technology, however.

The three-storey high Atrium - the ship’s lively social hub - features a rack-mounted 01V-96V2 digital console, the Planet Bar and SeaScreen (Azura’s open-air cinema) each have an 01V-96VCM, while the Manhattan Bar has an M7CL-48 and the Indian-themed Malabar a custom-configured M7CL-32 to mix audio for its piano recitals and cabaret acts.

While the salt-laden sea air means that corrosion is an ever-present threat, Yamaha’s desks are built to cope with such challenging environments. But the global presence of Yamaha equipment and its support network means that, if a replacement was required, it could be rapidly sourced at the next port of call.

“Passengers expect the highest standards from all aspects of the cruise experience,” says Karl Christmas, Yamaha deputy general manager for Commercial Audio (UK). “The combination of reliability and flexibility - together with ease of use and familiarity for the technical crews working in a high-pressure environment - makes Yamaha equipment the ideal solution.”

Data

Products PM5D-RH , M7CL-48 , 01V96VCM

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