Last week, one of the world's largest cruise liners currently in service graced Sydney Harbour with its presence. It carries 3145 souls inside a luxury city kept afloat by baffling physics and clever science. Her name is the Celebrity Solstice, and Gizmodo went aboard to study her secrets. It even has its own Apple Store!
First of all, some numbers about the 13th largest ship in the world: • It carries 3145 souls, 1250 of whom are crew. • There are 13 guest decks • It weighs 122,000 tonnes • It has its own Apple Store • It measures 317.2 metres end-to-end • It has 18 retail stores, a Glass Museum, an art gallery, 10 restaurants, a theatre, a casino and half an acre of grass on the roof deck.
This is the Grand Eperney Dining Room, one of the largest on the ship. It seats 1400 people and features a wine tower that holds 2800 bottles of the red and white drop.
Everyone on board is issued with a swipe card that controls all of the food, beverage, entertainment and other luxury services they get on-board the Solstice. These wine bottles aren't just behind glass because they're special, they're there for tasting and sampling.
Cellar Masters is the on-board luxury wine bar, and visitors can taste wine just by scanning their cruise cards.
What would a cruise ship be without its own enormous Casino? Even on a luxury liner, though, things can go wrong.
Quasar is one of the many nightclubs on board the Solstice. It's meant for a slightly younger crowd, and features VIP areas, a weird DJ booth and a Kinect-enabled gaming console. Because why wouldn't you want to play Kinect in-between Rihanna records?
The Solstice Theatre which will play host to three new shows on the voyage. It's when you walk into rooms like this you start wondering how it even stays afloat. That's a feeling you try to push out of your mind as fast as possible.
A rare find: we think we found the last remaining copies of the physical Encyclopaedia Britannica. They're on the Solstice!
That's right: inside the Solstice's luxury internet "cafe" you'll find bona fide Apple resellers waiting to flog you shiny new iGear. Everything from iPods to MacBooks, right through to Apple Care is available at sea.
Don't expect savings in international waters, though. It's all about the same price.
The on-board gym sits at the top of the ship and hold more equipment than your local sports store can dream of. It also backs onto a new yoga "studio" and luxury spa.
But how does the Solstice get all the juice to power all the fountains, lifts, lights, casinos and nightclubs? Some of it is plain, old generators, but a lot of the energy comes from the most abundant resource known to man: the Sun.
The Solstice plays host to 216 solar foils and 61 panels that collect energy from the Sun as long as it's in the sky.
You could be forgiven for noticing the green credentials of the Solstice, and that's kind of the point. Passengers demanding luxury don't want enviromentalism thrown in their faces while on holiday, I guess.
The only green the passengers get in their faces is the half-acre lawn on the top deck of the ship.
It's a baffling vortex of numbers that helps to keep the Solstice afloat for its 3000 passengers, and it goes to show that sparing no expense at sea is still alive and well.