Celebrity Cruises’ five Solstice-class ships, the latest of which, Celebrity Reflection, is on its inaugural voyage, are famous in cruising circles for their distinctive half-acres of living lawn on the top deck. The lawns are venues for bocce, croquet, afternoon jazz or simply for lying on a blanket with a book.
But growing grass at sea isn’t as easy as it might seem. For example, did you know…
The lawnkeepers, recruited in the Philippines, are highly qualified agriculturalists with experience managing world-class golf courses.
The grass isn’t grown in soil, which would a) wash away and b) make the ships way too top-heavy. It’s grown in a layer of lightweight porous material that includes volcanic pumice, among other things. And two types of grass are used, Bermuda grass and ryegrass.
The lawns were originally meant to be putting greens, but Celebrity boss Richard Fain decided he wanted to feel the grass between his toes.
The whole lawn on each ship has to be replaced once every 12 to 18 months.
The grass loves the Norwegian fjords in summer, growing tall and lush thanks to the 24-hour daylight and occasional rain. Its character can change from one port to the next because of individual microclimates.
With numerous cameras in the area, the lawn is one of the most heavily policed areas on each ship. The grass, it seems, is just too conducive to “inappropriate behavior.”
Every morning, the lawnkeepers are up at dawn, seeding the grass, watering it, cleaning it and recording data on wind, temperature and humidity.
On one cruise, the lawn developed mysterious burnt patches. The security cameras showed up shadowy, four-legged figures on the grass. It turned out that the culprits were some guide dogs that were traveling with their owners.
Celebrity Solstice will sail next year in Australia and Alaska, which presents a whole new set of challenges and climates for the grass.
The most frequently asked question about the lawn is, “Is it real?”
Lawn or poolside? What’s your preference on a Solstice-class ship? Let us know in the comments below.
Celebrity Reflection: First impressions of the fifth and final Solstice-class ship.
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