Those who are lucky enough to have been on a cruise will know that art, and often art auctions, are not uncommon on board. But some cruise lines take art more seriously than others, featuring hundreds of works of art fit for the most prestigious on-land gallery. Today we’re taking a look at art and art collections on cruise ships in a range of styles – read on below…

“from afar”, by Lawrence Argent

Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas – “from afar”, Lawrence Argent

Royal Caribbean own a massive fleet-wide collection of contemporary art worth $120m. In 2014, Quantum of the Seas debuted with $5m worth of art on board, including a self portrait from Andy Warhol. The largest piece on Quantum is undoubtedly the eight-ton magenta-coloured bear named “from afar”, by Lawrence Argent.

Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam – a dutch-american history of art

“Four Seasons” on Amsterdam. Image from Holland America blog

Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam contains $3m of artwork. Representing a history of the dutch influence on New York (or New Amsterdam as it was originally named), the ship features artworks through the dutch golden period, up to works from popular contemporary artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Amsterdam also contains works and artefacts documenting the history of New York, all of which the cruiser can learn about on an iPod-guided tour. One of the centrepieces on Amsterdam is “Four Seasons: personifications of winter, spring, summer, and fall” by Dutch artists Jan Floy and Leo Brum. These bronze figures were created in 1938 for the fleet’s flagship, and then re-purchased from a private collector for Nieuw Amsterdam.

Viking Cruises – Edvard Munch

Self Portrait with Skeleton Arm (1895), which currently resides on board Viking Orion

In 2019, Viking Cruises partnered with the British Museum for the biggest UK exhibition of art by Edvard Munch, ‘Edvard Munch: Love and Angst’. Viking Cruises own the largest collection of “The Scream” painters’ artwork outside Oslo, with 35 pieces displayed across its ships.

Additionally, Viking Cruises offer excursions to the Munch Museum in Oslo. The Munch Museum was built to house the 1,100 paintings, 4,500 drawings, and 18,000 prints Munch bequeathed to Oslo when he died. Back on board, the cruiser can explore further with ‘Munch Moments’ – a digitally-enhanced exhibition of Munch’s work, showcasing famous works in an interactive event.

The new building of the Munch Museum opening in Oslo, spring 2021

Hurtigruten Roald Amundsen – hand-picked by the Queen of Norway

Roald Amundsen features nearly 600 works hand-picked by HM Queen Sonja of Norway’s art foundation. The 600 works are made up of pieces of graphic art and prints from Queen Sonja herself, young Norwegian artists, and established international artists.

The Lindstrom restaurant on Roald Amundsen, featuring three of the 600 artworks on board

U by Uniworld The A – Tracey Emin

U by Uniworld, the river cruise offering from Uniworld aimed at a younger crowd, illustrates their attractiveness to millenials with tailored itineraries, excursions, and activities. The interiors are also reflective of this aim, with furniture and artworks based on the aesthetic ideals of a millennial. One of the main signifiers of this is a signed print of “Love is what you want” by Tracey Emin, featuring a neon heart.

The restaurant on U by Uniworld The A, featuring a signed print of “Love is what you want” by Tracey Emin

Art is a huge part of designing the interiors of cruise ships, with the ability to make or break a room. Artworks can be talking pieces, educational, mood-setting, or purely used from a reputational aesthetic point of view.