Cruise ship brings backyard with it
Wednesday 20 Nov 2013 3:52 p.m.
By 3 News online staff
For those who decide to go on a cruise, it can be difficult to leave behind the terra firma in place of the open ocean.
But one company – Celebrity Cruises - has dealt to that problem by installing a grass lawn on the top deck of its ships.
One of those ships – the 317m long Celebrity Solstice – docked in Wellington today with a horde of tourists eager to explore the capital.
The top deck is just over a half-acre in size and is largely covered by Agrostis Stolonifera (Creeping Bent) grass.
The ship's environmental officer Nikolas Asproudas says the lawn requires routine weekly maintenance including frequent watering, fertilisation to provide nutrients and pest management to abide by strict biosecurity restrictions in New Zealand and Australia.
The grass is planted in silica sand instead of soil to comply with restrictions and also to lighten the load on the ship and for stability.
"At the same time it is to regulate and control insects that might stay on the grass. They don't like the sand."
Mr Asproudas says maintaining the lawn can provide some challenges normal gardeners wouldn't need to deal with.
During rough weather on voyages across the Tasman Sea, salt water can "burn" the grass so staff need to wash the salt off immediately.
He says the idea to install the grass was novel at first and it is now considered one of the most walked lawns in the world.
Biosecurity staff need to clear the ship and its grass before it can dock in New Zealand.
The Celebrity Solstice is due to leave Wellington tonight.