Size matters

Perth, 1st March 2011

If you want to see something sizeably impressive, a passenger cruise ship like the Queen Elizabeth certainly is. If you have never been close to such monster ships you can hardly imagine. They carry more than 2000 passengers and about 1000 crew! At a length of close to 300m and nearly 20 stories high these are pretty impressive sizes! I am a recipient of an IES Edwin Guth Lighting Design Award of Excellence for the lighting design of the New Amsterdam, a cruise ship of similar size, so I know what it takes to do the lighting design for such ships…

Size definitely matters as these ships are basically floating cities with all facilities you can imagine including an 800 seat theatre!. It is a bit like seeing the A380 double decker plane…you wonder how these massive colossi can even move, let alone fly or sail! Just imagine the amount of lights and power that needs to be generated to have all the lights working.

My lighting design award was for innovative use of compact fluorescent lighting (something new at the time) in replacing incandescent lighting, until then the common lighting solution. By applying CFL we reduced the power needs with nearly 80% per lighting point and what’s more, reduced the size of the generators needed, because the CFL also very significantly reduced heat generation by the lights and thus cooling needs. As an interesting side benefit CFL is not subject to vibration an issue that plagued the incandescent filament lamps, with lamps struggling to reach 500 hrs under the constant vibration of the engines.  

I have not been involved with any cruise ships recently but can imagine how the LED revolution is finding its way aboard these ships, like they do in the aviation industry big time. Like CFL was the revolution replacing incandescent at the time, LED for sure is finding its way in reducing the power consumption even further. As space is one of the spare commodities on board ships, LED and its compact size has to be a hit!

In Light Watch today the Queen Elizabeth 2 who visited Fremantle yesterday, but now sailed off to other destinations around the world. For a short visit on board check out the video at

Light Watch 42: The Queen Elizabeth II sailing into the sunset

01. March 2011 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: going green, light watch, lighting of the future | Leave a comment

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