Disney Cruise Lines introduced 3D movies to all of its ships a few years back, allowing guests to watch hit movies at sea while they were still playing in theaters back home. So to one-up the competition, Carnival Cruise Lines has introduced the first 4D theater at sea on its newest ship, the Carnival Breeze.
Custom designed for the new ship by SimEx-iWerx, the Thrill Theater allows 24 guests to enjoy a roller coaster experience through a half dozen specially-modified Hollywood 3D films. The theater seats move, vibrate and have prods that pressure your back, while the theater includes effects like wind, fog and bubbles to bring the 3D action to life through movies like Happy Feet, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Journey 2.
"You get wet just like the characters would in the movie, your seats move, we use air compressors to simulate different things like rats running by your feet in one of the features," said Butch Begovich, cruise director on the Carnival Breeze. "It's like a roller coaster but you're stationary and it all happens in a 17-minute experience."
Visitors who've stayed at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort hotel in Orlando can see the same 4D movies in a full-size theater on land. Eric Merz, director of guest technology at Carnival Cruise Lines and a former Walt Disney Imagineer, worked with the technology company to bring the experience on the Breeze. And the plan is to incorporate additional theaters in new ships that are currently being built. There might even be room for larger theaters, which would be useful as guests packed the theater to watch movies over and over again. Many vacationers bypass the $7.95 single viewing ticket and upgrade to the unlimited 7-day pass for $14.95 to take in the action-packed exploits again and again.
One thing that won't change in the Thrill Theater is the length of the films. Merz said that sitting in the motion seats for longer than 17 minutes can get tiring. SimEx-iWerx works directly with Hollywood studios to edit down the latest 3D features and configure them to take advantage of the sensory effects in these special theaters. This gives Carnival a steady stream of new 4D content, as well as holiday-themed films like The Polar Express.
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