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MSC Streamlines Its Cruise Ships’ Large AV Infrastructure with NDI

Image of MSC World Europa Cruise
MSC uses flexible, NDI-based equipment to connect some 200 video flows per cruise ship. NDI empowered the AV team to create a reliable, lightweight large-scale installation spanning as much as 26,000 square feet and 14 decks on a single ship.


MSC Cruises is the world’s third-largest cruise line with many decades of navigating the oceans. Like the rest of the cruise industry, MSC was using traditional HDMI video with SDI cables to connect video equipment across any given ship, and this created a number of challenges.

Traditional infrastructures are bulky, expensive, and lack interoperability, requiring extra equipment that is difficult to deploy at sea. With roughly 200 video flows on a single ship, the sheer volume of equipment and network cables was massive and cumbersome, rivaling a network studio like NBC Universal or Time Warner. 

Additionally, working at sea is very different than working in a studio. SDI cables aren’t easy to switch out, and AV teams have to carefully consider the amount of equipment they bring on board. For example, if they have a camera that requires a frame converter and they don’t have one on board, they’re out of luck.

In an effort to create a more lightweight infrastructure, André Nunes, MSC’s Manager of Digital Video and Broadcasting, made the switch to an NDI infrastructure on the MSC Explora and MSC Europa cruise lines. 

I believe we have the biggest infrastructure in the world aboard the MSC Europa, and I’m not joking. The decision to go with NDI was largely about reducing infrastructure, saving space, and supporting interconnectivity through fiber optic lines.

André Nunes, Manager of Digital Video and Broadcast


Connecting over 400 video flows across hundreds of devices is no simple task, especially in the middle of the ocean. To support their efforts, André and his team enlisted the help of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to help design the NDI infrastructure. 

MSC also worked with AdCom to orchestrate and finetune the setup from the project’s conception, helping with things like organizing routings, closing domains, and designing workflows. Both consultants helped them reduce the latency created by the strict firewalls required on all MSC cruise ships. 

Together with their consultants, André and his team created a comprehensive NDI infrastructure consisting of:

  • 133 Kiloview Devices (encoders and decoders)
  • 24 Panasonic PTZ Cameras
  • 6 Vizrt Tricasters
  • Sienna Router with 160×160 crosspoint matrix
  • More than 200 total NDI streams

Everything was managed by HPE Network Switches on FO, with 40 GB in link aggregation between AS and DS, with 200 GB directly on core—all in redundancy.

With NDI, I don’t have to worry about massive infrastructure. I have a simple network that is one-half to one-third the size of a cable connection. One switch is all I need.

André Nunes, Manager of Digital Video and Broadcast
The entertainment halls from MSC Europa and MSC Explorer benefited from NDI workflows.


Thanks to a lightweight NDI-based infrastructure, André and his team built a comprehensive network that was perfectly suited to sail the seven seas.

The MSC Explora and the MSC Europa cruise lines are now equipped to benefit from:

  • Minimal, streamlined infrastructure
  • Flexible, interoperable equipment
  • Reduced costs per connection

The entertainment halls from MSC Europa and MSC Explorer benefited from NDI workflows.

Together with HPE and AdCom’s consultants, they created a highly functional multicast network despite the challenges that come with firewalls and access controls. The consultants helped André purchase the right equipment to navigate these challenges.

In all the photos I’ve seen of NDI setups, I’ve never seen anything like this. What we’ve built onboard the MS Europa, and the use case we created for this kind of NDI solution, is like nothing I’ve ever seen in the cruise industry.

André Nunes, Manager of Digital Video and Broadcast
Further Info

MSC Cruises official website: 


Images courtesy of MSC.

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