WATCH: Behind-the-Scenes of Harmony of the Seas’ Central Park
Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International
Not only is Royal Caribbean International’s Harmony of the Seas the biggest cruise ship in the world, but it also features a living marvel in the form of its Central Park courtyard exposed to the sun and sky above.
In fact, the line released a new video showcasing the work it takes to maintain the neighborhood, hosted at my Popular Cruising YouTube channel and embedded below.
From flowers to trees, Lazlo Turos, Landscape Specialist on Harmony of the Seas, leads a team of three horticulturalists to oversee an incredible 12,000 plants. “They require a lot of care, but more so they require somebody who has the knowledge to look after these plants,” said Raimund Gschaider, AVP, Hotel Operations for Royal Caribbean International.
Turos explained, “It’s a dynamic environment, and Harmony of the Seas’ Central Park was built based on the experience after the first two, Oasis and Allure.” Like corporate cousin Celebrity Cruises’ living Lawn Club aboard the Solstice-class ships, Central Park on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class might sound gimmicky, but both are honestly quite remarkable sights and certainly accomplishments at sea.
“This is a very different environment than growing plants on land. This is a tropical park,” added Turos. “I don’t have the luxury of walking into a garden center when I need a new plant. We are out at sea and are also limited to purchasing plant material at certain locations. So, I have to think ahead. I have to anticipate any plant replacement.”
Also impressive from a technical standpoint, “One of the great features we have in the Central Park is what we call the living wall,” said Petteri Keso, Project Director, Oasis Class, Royal Caribbean International. “So, we are all used to seeing plants on the ground on a horizontal plane, but we actually have two really big vertical walls of plants where the plants do not grow from the ground up but from the wall out.”
And it has even been enhanced since Harmony’s predecessors. Turos described, “On Oasis and Allure, it’s a system of shelves with containers in them, and we let the plants grow out and hang down, these vine-type plants. Here, there’s nothing behind it. It’s a very thin 5 inches thick. Smaller plants, much smaller plants come out at 90 degrees, and behind it we have an irrigation system.”
Guest feedback also proves the shipboard feature is more than a gimmick. In fact, “We get a lot of compliments from guests,” said Turos. “They say we’ve never seen anything like that before, and when I introduce myself, they’re really, really amazed. And usually I get something like: landscaper on a cruise ship? You’ve got to be kidding me!”
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