When the world’s largest cruise ship Oasis of the Seas sails its first Caribbean cruise on December 1, passengers will experience exciting outdoor and indoor theaters, nightclubs and lounges, a skating rink, photo gallery and a landscaped park – all designed by Wilson Butler Architects.
The most innovative and novel of these entertainment venues is the first-ever amphitheater at sea, the 700-seat AquaTheater perched at the stern of Oasis.
“The big idea behind AquaTheater is to create a sensory passenger experience unlike any other,” said Scott Wilson, principal of Wilson Butler Architects, a Boston-based arts and entertainment design firm. “AquaTheater performances will be heart-throbbing. With the open ocean as a backdrop, the stage, LED-lit fountain jets, pool and diving platforms will come alive with dramatic aerial acrobatics, synchronized swimming, water ballet, and precision high-diving, all choreographed to water features, music and lights.”
AquaTheater’s stage features the largest and deepest saltwater pool at sea. The stage technology and complex hydraulics allow the pool’s depth to rise and fall to meet the needs of each performance. Three custom lifts built into the 135,000 gallon pool will move performers through and above the water. Ten meters above the pool is a dive bridge outfitted for aerial acrobats. Zip lines extend from the dive bridge to rock climbing walls built into the sides of the deck above the audience. Scenes below the water are captured by underwater cameras, and projected onto two giant LED video screens.
Royal Caribbean International Chairman Richard Fain, who refers to Scott Wilson of Wilson Butler in his Chairman’s blog as “our special guru” for all things Oasis, concurs, “What makes Oasis of the Seas special is how well quite disparate elements fit together. Almost anywhere you go on this ship, you’re going to see places of wonder, where you turn a corner and you’re surprised, because you never expected to see what you’re seeing.”
In addition to the planning and design of AquaTheater, Wilson Butler Architects provided master planning, architecture, interior design, and project team and construction oversight for countless spaces throughout the $1.4 billion Oasis of the Seas and its sister ship Allure of the Seas. Oasis is the 21st cruise ship design project for Wilson Butler Architects.