Launched into full revenue service in November 2008, “Solstice of the Seas” is the first cruise ship in the world to offer guests a genuine living lawn for recreational activities. Dubbed “The Lawn Club”, this multi-purpose outdoor entertainment and recreation area includes a practice putting green that doubles as a croquet court and two grass bocce courts, all totaling 13,000 square feet of natural lawn. The Lawn Club also has an outdoor bar and patio where guests can observe game play or play on an oversize chess and checkers game board, also part of the Lawn Club experience.

Waterfield Design prepared extensive feasibility studies for the lawn’s Proof of Concept which included researching a variety of soil profiles, extensive lawn testing at the University of Florida at Fort Lauderdale, and numerous design alternatives for the multi-use lawn area By researching various turf sections, Waterfield was able to come up with a soil/sod profile that satisfied the stringent performance requirements inherent with building a lawn on the top deck of a major ocean vessel.

This project, just like our sister project Genesis, essentially became an exercise in designing a complex moving green roof.

The lawn profile had to adhere to a strict weight requirements, resist over-compaction during heavy use by guests (the new ship has a capacity of 5,000 people) and be secure and safe enough to prevent sliding during listing or high winds. An incredibly short turnaround time between cruises requires that any turf replacement and maintenance be simple and quick, and that the recreational surface can be used almost immediately after the reinstallation of new pieces.

During our design process, we facilitated studies of solar accessibility, solar reflection impacts, wind impacts, evapo-transpiration, fire safety, pedestrian circulation, weight analysis, venue space programming, access restrictions, irrigation, life cycle, replacement logistics, and maintenance / repair programming.

This design-build project required extensive coordination with the Meyer Werft Shipyard in Papenburg, Germany (contractor) and with multiple owner entities (Royal Caribbean).