In an industry first, ultra-luxury Crystal Cruises has unveiled the world’s first self-contained, free-standing living wall at sea, created and crafted by UK-based ANS Group Europe.  ANS Group Europe spent two days installing the living wall on the 922-guest Crystal Symphony as the ship sailed from Portland to Dover to complete its 11-night “British Isle Brilliance” voyage.

Designed for an al fresco area in the ship’s Deck 11 Trident Grill, the unique living wall uses a varied and diverse selection of indoor plants to display a world map.  The living wall is 37.7 feet (11.5 meters) long and 7.9 feet (2.4 meters) high and will receive regular maintenance by Crystal Symphony’s onboard team of florists.

“In keeping with our ongoing focus on design, we wanted to create a focal point that was both highly contemporary and visually stunning,” says Alexandra Don, Crystal’s vice president, hotel design and services.  “The end result is a living wall that brings the Trident Grill to life and serves as an eye-catching backdrop to the incomparable service and choices that always characterize a Crystal holiday.”

Joel Nash, marketing manager for ANS Group Europe added, “This bespoke project is an exciting and exhilarating scheme.  Installing living walls on a cruise ship is taking us to a completely new level and opens up all sorts of possibilities.  When you think this wall will be travelling as far north as Lapland and down to Cape Horn, it takes your breath away.”      

A living wall is a vertical garden that is pre-planted in panels and then attached to the wall or facade of a building.  Plants stay intact in their vertical positions because their root structures are anchored in two to four inches of soil kept within the panel.

The installation of the wall on Crystal Symphony is yet another example of Crystal’s "Crystal Clean" environmental and educational efforts both onboard and on shore.  A living wall acts as a bio filter, enhancing air quality by breaking down harmful airborne contaminants and transforming them into clean oxygen. 

By absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, it reduces greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Crystal’s passion for taking care of guests in an inviting environment of extraordinary space, quality and choices has earned the company more “World’s Best” awards than any other cruise line, resort or hotel in history.  A keen focus on design has also earned the line numerous industry design honors, including first-ever awards from Hospitality Design magazine and the Association of Retail Environments (A.R.E.) in 2012.