If you’re looking for the green shoots of recovery in the global economy, or in the travel industry, there are more than 2,200 square yards of them – the area of almost three tennis courts – on deck 15 of a brand new cruise ship being launched in the UK this week.
The Celebrity Equinox, like its sister ships Celebrity Solstice, and the yet-to-be completed Celebrity Eclipse which will be based in Southampton from next year, has a real grass lawn, which today was the venue for the world’s first croquet tournament at sea.
Ten croquet experts gave demonstrations of the game to some of the company’s board, as well as taking part in a Pro-Am tournament against teams made up of specially invited guests. Rivals include a team of travel agents, and representatives from cancer charity partner Walk the Walk – whose founder Nina Barough will name the ship on .Wednesday
Croquet star Chris Clarke said: “Croquet has taken me all over the world in recent years, but I never thought I’d play a game on water. I suppose most people think of quoits as the traditional cruise game – after this, croquet could definitely replace it. The lawn was in fantastic condition it’s simply incredible that it is onboard a cruise ship”.
There’s more than the lawn to make the Equinox a green ship. More than 200 solar panels are placed throughout the vessel, providing enough power for more than 7,000 LED lights..
A non-toxic silicon coating has been applied to the hull below the waterline to reduce resistance as the ship moves through the water and to cut fuel consumption.
The ship’s acres of glass are manufactured to reduce heat transfer from outside into cabins and public rooms, which in turn cuts the amount of air conditioning. The glazing still allows natural light to enter the ship, but filters out 99.9 per cent of UV rays and protects the vessel’s interiors and furnishings.
I shall be on board the ship tomorrow, and again for the naming on Wednesday, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t bump into croquet-loving former cruise ship steward John Prescott.