Oasis of the Seas

Entertainment Team Champions Technology for World’s Largest Cruise Line

Oasis of the Seas, the largest and most elaborate cruise line of Royal Caribbean International, depends on Clear-Com’s Eclipse-Pico digital matrix, Encore partyline, HME DX200 and FreeSpeak wireless system for clear communications as well as efficient and wide collaboration during broadcast and live productions.  
 

Background 

 
Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand that has built its reputation on providing novel cruise experiences to over 80 countries. With already 20 ships in service, Royal Caribbean International took on their most ambitious project yet, to construct Oasis of the Seas, which would be the largest cruise ship in the world at that time. Commissioned in December 2009, Oasis of the Seas, which sails in the Caribbean, spans 16 decks and can carry over 6,000 guests along with 2,394 crew members. This cruise line was the pinnacle of their navel engineering genius thus far.  
 
Launching this new ship was an opportunity for Royal Caribbean to imagine and create innovative experiences for their guests without compromise. Not only was Oasis of the Seas their first ship with an Aqua Theater and carousel, but it was the first to implement the idea of seven distinct themed areas. This impressive cruise line had more theaters than former builds and the physical size of each theater was larger and staffed by more personnel than ever before. Accordingly, Christopher Vlassopulos, Royal Caribbean’s Entertainment and Technical Design Director, wanted to maximize their communications technology so that their guests can receive the very best on-board entertainment. 

Business Challenges
 

Unreliable Connection between and within All Production Venues
On older ships, Royal Caribbean International had installed basic partyline and UHF intercom systems, with each functioning as standalone systems. At times, it was difficult for the UHF wireless beltpack users to clearly hear each other because of the interference from other Wi-Fi and wireless devices, of both the ship’s crew and guests, sharing the same frequency spectrum. Moreover, the crew could only use their wireless beltpacks to communicate in the region of coverage surrounding the UHF intercom system.  Hence, when the crew was out of range, they would either use their wireless mobile phones to correspond with each other or walked around the ship to search for their point of contact. 

With Oasis of the Seas, they wanted to interconnect all production venues and ensure that the staff could effectively communicate between their three theaters, themed neighborhood locations, and the Broadcast Center’s control room.
 
Improved Productions Required More Powerful Technologies 
Although basic partyline and the UHF intercoms were adequate for the demands on those ships, the much larger and more intricate productions on Oasis of the Seas would require advanced intercom systems with expanded features and user controls. They had set a high bar to design nearly flawless entertainment experiences and they were determined to reach it.
 

The Intercom Solution

 
Choosing Clear-Com
Through the recommendation of two system integrators and their past history with Clear-Com, they knew that Clear-Com’s intercom systems are reliable for coordinating their complex productions. Since Clear-Com was known as the most common and popular choice of intercom brands, Royal Caribbean’s global staff was familiar with their intercom systems, as were their crews. Furthermore, the Clear-Com staff would be able to share their experiences and best practices gained from working with highly demanding applications from all over the world. Evidently, Vlassopulos selected Clear-Com’s voice communication solutions with full confidence.
 


Clear-Com’s intercom technologies were installed throughout the Opal Theater, Studio B, Dome, Pool Deck, Sports Deck, Royal Promenade, and Aqua Theater, linking the production managers, lighting technicians, spotlight operators, safety divers, broadcast technicians and more under an integrated intercom platform. Because Clear-Com provided reliable, crystal-clear communications, they were able to expend less energy on communications management and focus their efforts and resources on producing quality television and theatrical performances.
 
Although Clear-Com’s Encore partyline was familiar to the crew at Royal Caribbean International, the Eclipse-Pico and FreeSpeak wireless system were entirely new technologies that had been adopted to accomplish their grand aspirations for Oasis of the Seas. They were more complex and presented a new challenge for the entertainment and technical design team to master. Nonetheless, Rom Rosenblum, one of Clear-Com’s Application Engineers, helped them interconnect the sophisticated technologies, programmed the systems for ease of use, and thoroughly trained the technical staff.  Vlassopulos affirms, “Clear-Com was definitely the right technology partner. With the help of their ground-breaking intercom solutions and highly-skilled technical engineer, we were able to our vision into reality.” 
 

Results

 
Today, Clear-Com has become the high performance intercom backbone for over 90% of Royal Caribbean International’s cruise lines. With Clear-Com, Oasis of the Seas is able to respond faster to real-time production challenges, work cohesively across the entire ship, and simplify workflow processes.
 
Faster Response to Shifting Production Demands
Since all Clear-Com systems have been integrated into a single, comprehensive intercom infrastructure, staff members can route multiple sources of program audio in real-time, control integrated external devices, such as lights, IFB cue systems, and more from any location where there is a PC with internet connection.  The Entertainment and Technical Design Team can now respond faster to their evolving production needs, making changes to any of the systems from a central location instead of going to each production venue.
 
Wider Collaboration
Because FreeSpeak extended coverage to all production areas throughout the ship, the staff can always be in communication. The time spent traveling to find the point of contact has been eliminated and Oasis of the Seas has significantly lowered mobile phone bills by using their FreeSpeak wireless beltpacks. 
 
Increased Efficiency
With their feature-rich V-Series panels, the production team has a more successful dialogue with one another because they can turn up the volume in loud environments for greater clarity as well as record and replay the last 30 seconds of incoming calls. Additionally, the FreeSpeak wireless beltpacks not only offer customized, private channels of communication, but also has cellular auto-roaming technology that continually detects and automatically selects the best connection. The exceptionally clear audio quality from the panels and beltpacks coupled with tailored conversation channels eliminate confusion when resolving problems. Moreover, they facilitate a thorough exchange of information so that educated decisions can be implemented rapidly. 
 
All in all, the Clear-Com products and technical support team have been major players in helping Oasis of the Seas carry out excellent performances in the theater, on the ice rink, or in the waters. It is no surprise then, that time and time again, those productions have been well-received by guests with nothing less than standing ovations.