By Michael ColemanÂ
A new luxury cruise ship poised to enter service in November will feature lots of green . . . grass that is.
In yet another cruise industry first, where lines outdo one another in the wow factor department with each new vessel launched, Celebrity Cruises will introduce a half-acre-sized lawn on the top deck of Celebrity Solstice.
The Lawn Club in fact will allow passengers the opportunity to enjoy bocce ball and croquet, practice their putting, picnic with a basket of wine and cheese, or simply feel the grass between their toes while sailing the oceans of the world.
For those counting, at 2,130 square meters (22,927 square feet), The Lawn Club is more than three times larger than New Yorks Rockefeller Center ice skating rink (668 sq. meters) and 1.7 times larger than an Olympic-sized swimming pool (1,250 sq. meters).
Creating such an environment was no easy task. Celebrity worked with design firm Wilson Butler Architects to design the entire club area, then engaged a team of landscape architects and irrigation specialists along with turf and soil scientists at the University of Florida.Â
Together, they conducted extensive research and tested a variety of grasses to determine which can withstand the winds, sun, shade and temperature variations that will affect the grass and soil as the ship sails in the Caribbean this winter. Other considerations included the ability of the grass to tolerate foot traffic, irrigation and day-to-day care and maintenance. Even the weight of the grass and soil had to be considered, as well as the water each absorbs from both the atmosphere and irrigation.
The ship will feature a host of dining venues, offering trendsetting cuisine and design, and varied entertainment options including new theater productions in partnership with Poet Theatricals.Â
The Lawn Club, however, will no doubt be the ships top drawing card and aside from the spectacle of growing grass at sea it will also feature a patio, hot glass show and aft bar.
The Patio on the Lawn will offer elegant yet relaxed sitting areas where luxury meets casual country club charm. Guests can read the morning paper, lose themselves in a good novel, or enjoy a cup of gourmet coffee with friends, courtesy of the patios coffee cart service.Â
The Hot Glass ShowÂ, presented in collaboration with The Corning Museum of Glass, is the patios main feature. In its own, dedicated glassblowing studio, the show will present the history and craft of glassblowing, from its ancient origins to its current countless uses. Three resident gaffersÂ highly skilled glassblowing artists will educate and entertain passengers with live glassmaking shows, lectures and workshops.
Previously set to launch out of Fort Lauderdale on December 14, the ship will now enter its season of roundtrip Caribbean sailings more than three weeks ahead of schedule. Look for a seven-day Thanksgiving cruise, November 23, followed by voyages on November 30 and December 7. Stops include San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten, and Basseterre, St. Kitts.