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26 October 2018

Fantastic Journey: World's Most Innovative Live Entertainment Goes to Sea Worldwide, Thanks to Princess Cruises and All-Star Friends

SEATTLE and LOS ANGELES – (Oct. 26, 2018) – The award-winning Caribbean Princess from Princess Cruises, the world's largest international premium cruise line, has wowed thousands of guests since completing its $8.2 million revitalization in 2017. Beginning last month, every guest has enjoyed all-access use of OceanMedallion(TM), the personalization technology recognized by Fast Company as a world-leading innovation. Now, all Caribbean Princess guests have yet another massive treat in store, as the ship's onboard theater is set to present the groundbreaking original Fantastic Journey live production on every upcoming voyage.

Hailed as one of the most technologically advanced live productions ever presented at sea, American Idol's Danny Teeson created, directed and choreographed Fantastic Journey as a visually stunning, multifaceted extravaganza, filled with awe-inspiring aerial performances and wondrously inventive uses of technology. Originally developed for the new Majestic Princess serving Asia, China's rich heritage of epic visual storytelling provides much of the show's inspiration. Featuring chart-topping hits and delivering rock-concert spectacle and energy, Fantastic Journey's futuristic staging, video, lighting and pyrotechnical aspects are also unparalleled.

Early into the development of Fantastic Journey for Majestic Princess, hybrid experience agency MODE Studios was invited to collaborate on production design, lighting design and content development. According to MODE's Chief Creative Offer Bob Bonniol, the invitation from Princess Cruises Director of Entertainment Operations and Production Management Kerry Lovegrove made this crystal clear: Princess wanted an unprecedented level of spectacle that would use every form of cutting-edge technology and approach.

In the words of Danny Teeson, "We always try to take on the impossible; not impossible because it can't be done in the Staples Center Arena with endless amounts of budget – impossible in terms of how are we going to fit it through a 10x8 scenic dock door into an 800 to 1,000 seat cruise ship theater."

Bonniol and MODE's Creative Director, Designer and Producer Butch Allen took charge as Co-Production Designers, with MODE's Principal Interactive Designer Pablo N. Molina also onboard to oversee design and execution of the project's monumental technical challenges.

In many ways, Fantastic Journey defies description. Still, Teeson, Lovegrove, Bonniol and their colleagues worked together to provide more details on the show's most exciting technological innovations.

"The Doors"

According to Mark Simons, Director of New Builds and Special Projects for Princess Cruises, the show's biggest challenge came from incorporating a set of moving "doors" or panels. Conceived by Teeson, the six total panels are full of LED, they rotate, they're automated and they are "beastly." At the same time, to the show's creator and director, these doors and their configuration are precisely what give the show its unique identity.

Working with Teeson's original sketches for the doors, MODE's Allen enlisted an all-star team, including Brilliant Stages UK, Stage Tech, Great Lakes Scenic, and specialty fabricator Push the Button. The result is Fantastic Journey's automated extravaganza of nested doors and panels, which traverse the stage, join, separate and rotate into infinite shapes and setups. Utilizing extensive low-resolution LED on one side, each door's opposing side is constructed to accommodate projection mapping... a feature put to use in brilliant fashion in every performance.

Lighting, Video and Projection Mapping Innovation

Naturally, the combined talents of Bonniol and Allen bring show-stopping lighting design to the forefront for Fantastic Journey. Further, for the original Majestic Princess production, the designers used the stage and all the space around it to immerse guests in a 270-degree entertainment experience. This involved some technical wizardry tapping MODE's expertise in lighting design, video design, production and projection mapping for world-class live performances.

Thanks to Bonniol and Molina, not only is the Majestic Princess stage immersed in projected pixels, but so is the entire theater. "With a 270-degree wraparound, the show surrounds the audience on all sides, expanding the effect and presence of Danny Teeson's dazzling performances," Bonniol explained.

While the Caribbean Princess accommodates smaller audiences than Majestic Princess in its theater, most of Fantastic Journey's most thrilling aspects are identical. This includes virtually all of the original video content, which was produced by MODE and utilized the extraordinary talents of Possible Productions. To fill the screens, production deployed motion capture of live dancers to create particle flame systems; used Next Limit Technologies' RealFlow software to render spellbinding water effects; and pioneered original content production via Autodesk Maya, Maxon's Cinema 4D, Epic Games' Unreal Engine, and Adobe's industry leading Creative Cloud.

For projection, the shows employ Panasonic laser projectors, with playback by Green Hippo's Hippotizer Media Server System. Molina's extensive development efforts behind Fantastic Journey focused on allowing Hippo's SHAPE Projection Mapping System to track and map the rotating set. The resulting leaps forward in look-ahead algorithms, automation tracking and performer tracking are now part of the most recent release of SHAPE.

Leveraging so much expert attention, Fantastic Journey's video elements absolutely maximize the screens in every setting, while also extending far beyond them. Among the most surprising innovations are sequencing for LED costumes – and for other "non-human" performers that are earning buzz worldwide.

"The Drones"

With Fantastic Journey, Princess Cruises became the first cruise line in the world to put drones in a live show. According to Danny Teeson, "The drones speak for themselves. To have a fantastic singer be elevated amongst choreographed drones, you don't need anything else. It just transports you to that moment, and I just think it's visually stunning."

To support the use of an autonomous flock of drones capable of performing interactive choreography with performers in the show, MODE's research led it to Zurich, Switzerland-based Verity Studios. With acclaim for its high-tech artistry surging due in no small part to its starring role in Fantastic Journey, Verity is among a handful of companies being credited for creating super intelligent drones that are taking over live entertainment.

"For our project, Verity developed an all new micro drone product, and modified their complex tracking and control systems to ensure safety and reliability of the performing drones in the unique environment of a moving cruise ship," Bonniol added. "The number where Verity's drones are used – which is set to the Katy Perry song ‘Rise' – has proven to be an iconic triumph of technology and art."

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS or by visiting the company's website at

About MODE Studios
Known around the globe as world-class purveyors of spectacle, MODE Studios is a hybrid experience agency providing transformative moments that engage and inspire. Designing, directing and producing live events and permanent installations for major brands, entertainment companies and architects, MODE's proprietary projects and solutions are built on this belief: Magic is real. Learn more about the Women's Business Enterprise National Council Certified company's powerful history of creating phenomenal experiences, and its patent storytelling alchemy, online at .

About Princess Cruises
One of the best-known names in cruising, Princess Cruises is a global cruise line and tour company operating a fleet of 17 modern cruise ships renowned for their innovative design and wide array of choices in dining, entertainment and amenities, all provided with the experience of exceptional customer service. As the world's largest international premium cruise brand, Princess carries two million guests each year to more than 360 destinations around the globe on more than 150 itineraries ranging in length from three to 114 days. The company is part of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE:CUK).

Posted by MODE Studios Inc


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