Kurt Wenner, known for his anamorphic sidewalk murals, spent much of Tuesday outside the New York Stock Exchange completing a detailed depiction of warmth and relaxation: the Lawn Club on Celebrity Silhouette, the line's newest Solstice-class ship. The tropical scene, which was juxtaposed with people posing on it while wearing winter coats and gloves, is designed to be an interactive way to appeal to potential seafarers.
"It's a kind of social networking, people get to connect with the work and company," said Wenner.
Made over the course of two weeks on adjacent boards and accompanied by Caribbean steel drum music that could be heard from a block away, Wenner's drawing attracted a line -- about a dozen people long -- of exchange employees and stock traders wearing blue and yellow jackets. A photographer was on hand to shoot pictures of participants, who posed as if they were playing bocce or peering over the railing. Celebrity printed each person's photo as a souvenir free of charge.
The mural highlights some of the new features on Silhouette, which debuts in July with voyages out of Rome, followed by a season of 12-night Caribbean round-trip sailings from nearby Cape Liberty in New Jersey. Among the changes to the Lawn Club -- a half-acre of real grass on the top deck, a staple of Solstice-class ships -- is the addition of eight rentable cabana-style alcoves, complete with hammocks, Wi-Fi and room for four.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the new ship and its siblings is that the new Lawn Club Grill is replacing the Corning Glass Museum and accompanying glass-blowing demonstrations. Billed as cruising's first "outdoor interactive grill," passengers will have the opportunity to choose their own cut of meat and grill side-by-side with one of the restaurant's chefs.
Michele Nadeem, a spokeswoman for Celebrity's parent company, Royal Caribbean, said the grill is part of the company's push to attract foodies. "We definitely try to set ourselves apart with our culinary options. This ship's going to have a dozen different restaurant to choose from."
While some cruisers might be into grilling up their own grub, one person who struck a pose on Wenner's picture was unimpressed. "It's a cruise, what am I going to cook for?" said Linda Williams as she collected a photo of herself on the mural.
Although the mural was only on display for a day, a Celebrity rep said the company might use the now-completed piece at other events to promote the new ship.
--by Graham Kates, Cruise Critic Contributor