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Art at Sea

Art lovers will find plenty to admire on cruise ships. Oceania Cruises, for instance, has a collection of 2,000 original works on its Marina and Riviera, including a signed Picasso lithograph. The line recently published a color catalog of its world-class art, joining Celebrity Cruises, which published one last year.

The cruise lines take different approaches with their collections. Some commission top artists for site-specific works. Most work with a third-party curator, such as International Corporate Art (ICArt), which buys art for Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. Oceania has art-loving top executives who do their own bidding.

Cruise passengers who want to learn more about the art on ships operated by Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Holland America Line, among others, can borrow iPads or iPods at reception for self-guided walking tours.

Royal Caribbean International

Each ship has its own personality – and the artwork program helps create that personality which we call the “red thread.” A red thread is the theme or general concept for the art collection – a way for us to guide the creative process and art selection. Imagine the amount of art pieces onboard. Just on Allure alone, there are 9,660 individual art pieces which represents over 60 tons of art! Of course, that includes all of the staterooms and suites with just over 8,000 pieces, but just in the public spaces alone, there are over 1,600 pieces of art. The red thread helps create a method to the madness of managing a project with this amount of art.


“Dream of Utopia” by Korean artist Keysook Geum on Allure of the Seas


Magenta Bear on Quantum of the Seas by Denver artist Lawrence Argent

A Brito Sculpture in the pool deck on Mariner of the Seas



Celebrity Cruises

 The Celebrity collection was begun in the 1990s when the line decided to enhance its modern ships with contemporary art. On the each of the line’s five Solstice-class ships, an artist was commissioned to create a hanging sculpture to hold a live tree – conceptual artist Bert Rodriguez’ creation on the Reflection features extravagant metal branches. For Solstice, Colombian-American Nancy Friedemann incorporated lace, flowers and a “traveling” string of ants on a black background that extends to walls, ceilings and floor as she explores the tension of living between cultures. For Eclipse, Daniel Arsham, who grew up in Miami, has covered the vestibule walls with erosion sculptures that speak to the concepts of natural and human-made forms. On Equinox, Cuban American sculptor / designer Jorge Pardo affixed reflective, flower-like lights to walls, inviting passersby to reflect on beauty. Miamian Carlos Betancourt collaborated with Alberto Latorre to create a mystical, romantic space of flowers and classical imagery for Reflection that is dramatically different from Julie Heffernan’s lush, painterly Eden aboard Silhouette.

Chandelier by Dale Chihulya on Celebrity Infinity

Celebrity Solstice holds a $5 million dollar art collection. Romantics will appreciate this larger-than-life sculpture by Jim Dine.

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Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises founders Frank Del Rio and Bob Binder give new meaning to the term “hands-on.” When building the line’s two new ships, Marina and Riviera, they were directly involved in every step of the process, from the initial design to the selection of furnishings to perhaps the grandest undertaking of them all: amassing the entire art collection for both ships. Oceania Cruises Art Collection is a diverse assortment of masterpieces from renowned names like Picasso and Miró, as well as gems from emerging artists such as Li Dominguez Fong and Carlos Luna. Spanning eras from classic to contemporary and methods from painting to sculpture to blown glass, the scale of the collection has never before been seen at sea. 

Coral Reef Series by Beverly Albrets on Oceania Marina

A Picasso Lithograph on Oceania Riviera

The Cuban Jazz Band by Humberto Benitez on Oceania Marina

Whether you are an art aficionado or just enjoy seeing beautiful pieces of art, sailing on any of these cruise ships will be a real treat.


To paint… to travel… to combine the two… is to celebrate life.  – Jack R. Brouwer

September 17, 2014

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