Taken on a culinary journey in time, passengers also play an active part - in the AIDAnova Time Machine Restaurant

In 17 restaurants and 23 bars AIDAnova, the first cruise liner to be 100% operated on LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas), offers excellent meals and a great diversity of cuisine. Among them there is the Time Machine Restaurant which has only recently been added to the AIDAnova range of entertainment services. Again Amptown System Company has contributed to this project all of their know-how and expertise as a system integrator of video and control equipment to turn the fantastic culinary journey through time into an unforgettable adventure. Everything is in motion while the waiters are serving three courses of a delicious meal.

In the Time Machine Restaurant on deck 6 entertainment and dinner are combined to merge into a single event. A world full of wonders, crazy happenings and surprises is awaiting the guests. The way the entrance to the restaurant is decorated gives an impressive taste of things to come: a loudly clattering splitflap display above a cross-barred gate announces the upcoming show; for this exhibit mechanical components from a vintage airport departures board were linked to a digital control unit.

All of the cruise guests, adults and children alike, are welcomed at the entrance to the à-la-carte restaurant by a host before they – unsuspecting - enter the lift which will transport them to unknown territory, lights flickering and scary sound effects to match. The lift experience is not for the faint-hearted as the ride will falter every now and then, and in the meantime the lift jerks violently. Actually it is a simulation only, the guests are jolted by a hidden oversized vibratory plate, but the sense of experiencing a real ride is very effectively produced. Screens fixed at the lateral walls and cleverly integrated into the decoration contribute to the impression that the ride is real – although the maximum lift of the mechanism measurable at all is 8cm only.

Thoroughly shaken in both senses of the word the guests are then released into a steampunk dream world where they can sit down at tables festively laid – in a unique ambiance unlike any other on board. Working together with the Leisure Expert Group which specialises in theme parks AIDA cruises has implemented the interior decoration concept with an admirable attention to detail. The three-course dinner lasts two hours, is accompanied by professional actors with a „Professor Tempus“ as the main character who, appearing in a retro look, convey to the dinner guests the feeling of being truly taken on a journey far back into the past.

In the middle of the restaurant there is a revolving stage which can be raised and lowered. AD-S4T-LP speakers by QSC were installed above the podium, and QSC subwoofers are concealed in the benches. The amping accessories were supplied by QSC as well.

Displays were installed all around the walls which at first glance and within the overall context seem to be windows. A wooden cladding which is smaller than the actual size of the screens adds to this impression. Hence the guests' subjective perception suggests a view more spacious than the „window“ frame should allow. At the ceiling of the Time Machine Restaurant more than one hundred Sharp monitors were installed. Malte Polli-Holstein, ASC Vice President Maritime Business for maritime projects, points out that it was a particular challenge to find a manufacturer whose products can be fixed „face down“ without the screens dropping from their frames after some time due to the vibrations of the ship. All of the screens were secured to the walls and the ceiling by means of special constructions manufactured by ASC.

„When the plans for the furnishings of a ship are made it is essential to take into account the fact that it may not be possible to procure the desired technical products in sufficient quantities when  construction actually begins“, explains Bernhard Loesken, Senior Superintendent Entertainment / Mediatechnics Newbuildings for AIDA. „Take flat screen monitors for example – today's current models will probably no longer be available on the market three years from now. It is exetremely important for us however that the specifications and dimensions defined at the planning stage are precisely observed because in a major project such as a ship the possibilities of changing the interior furnishings at a later date are very limited indeed. We absolutely need therefore to cooperate very closely with our system integrator ASC and the manufacturers involved. Manufacturers for instance will inform us of the dimensions of new products which up to that point exist as prototypes or even as plans only; this will enable us to include these specifications in our planning of a new ship.“

The technical equipment installed in the location was extensively preprogrammed by ASC so that no special training is required for the staff operating it. A complex control system is active in the background which automatically synchronises all of the electronically controllable processes along a timeline. Screens will inform the food & beverage personnel, the service team and the actors of what is going on in the restaurant. Software solutions by Coolux / Christie Digital Systems which are installed on special 19“ computers by XI-MACHINES are used as media servers. The cross-system control in the Time Machine Restaurant was supplied by Beckhoff Automation GmbH & Co. KG which is a first on an AIDA cruise liner. This control system even integrates whimsical devices such as various cuckoo clocks, pressure gauges mounted on the walls, or gearwheels rotating in the floor. The Beckhoff system works as a kind of translator between the Coolux software and the various sensors and actuators. Due to the high complexity of the technical equipment used the Time Machine Restaurant has got a control centre of its own.