There are many different aspects to cruising that catch our eyes - the spectacular buffet displays, the evening shows, the views from a balcony or window, the whimsical decor, the cocktail masterpieces. Cruise passengers are never without something fun to look at, but some lines take it to the next level and put a focus on their guests' visual pleasure with painting collections, sculptures, hull designs and many other kinds of art.
Holland America's art collections
The stately and classic atmosphere and decor of the Holland America fleet serve as a great backdrop to the line's famously extensive collection of artworks and antiques. Each vessel is home to multi-million dollar displays of original pieces, making them the perfect choice for art lovers. The collections reinforce the company's Dutch heritage - on the newest vessel, the Koningsdam, there is a large model of a Dutch sailing ship as part of the eclectic and interesting collection. Other notable items across the fleet include signed baseballs, works by Andy Warhol and a dolphin fountain.
Art tours guided by mp3 podcasts are available to passengers to aid them in enjoying the art around each ship. Downloadable onto any portable media player, they guide art lovers around the ship with walking directions and information about the various works and their creators.
Norwegian's majestic murals
Recently, Norwegian Cruise Lines, a line known for its colourful hulls and fun-looking ships, unveiled the new design for the Norwegian Bliss, a new build which will debut in 2018. The beautiful artwork features whales, dolphins and other marine wildlife, and was designed by Wyland, one of the world's premier marine life artists.
This is just the latest in the line's many gorgeous hull designs, which range from the Norwegian Breakaway's New York-themed mural and Norwegian Escape's swordfish portrait to the more abstract swirls of the Norwegian Getaway and the monochromatic squiggles of the Norwegian Jade. Each unique and bright hull mural is a wonderful sight to see when returning to your ship.
The reveal of NCL's new creation got us thinking about which other cruise lines and ships are particularly aesthetically appealing - there are plenty!
Royal Caribbean's modern objets d'art
Royal Caribbean has not been noted in the past for its commitment to art onboard, but its latest batch of modern and innovative vessels are stepping up their game. Recently, Cruise Sale Finder team members spent time onboard the Ovation of the Seas and marvelled at the weird and wonderful sculptures, paintings and installations to be found there.
Perhaps the most impressive and eye-catching object in the collection is the 33-foot mother panda reaching down to her baby panda, a nod to the line's partnership with WWF. There is also the first kinetic sculpture at sea, the Sky Wave, an interactive screen of butterflies, whacky pieces of furniture and many other unique and fascinating installations which push the established boundaries of visual art.
Celebrity's varied art appreciation
Celebrity Cruises have a strong appreciation for modern art and display it throughout their beautiful, elegant vessels. The Celebrity Reflection in particular has a focus on this, with an impressive range of paintings, sculptures, photography, video and architecturally integrated installations around the ship. You can take a self-guided tour here too, to fully enjoy the art on offer, with an iPad to usher you around and provide information.
On the Celebrity Solstice, which sails regularly in the South Pacific, and a few other vessels in the fleet, passengers can witness a fascinating blend of performance and static art: the Hot Glass Show. Amazing glass creations take shape right before the eyes of the crowd, thanks to very talented "gaffers" trained by the prestigious Corning Museum of Glass. It's an unexpected thing to find on a cruise ship, but all who see it are impressed!
These are just a few of the visual treasures waiting for cruisers amongst the world's cruise ships. Next time you're onboard any cruise, take a look at what surrounds you - you might just find an inspiring artwork, be it a painting, a sculpture, an installation or a great bit of architecture. Have you spotted something wonderful on any of your cruises, or attended the traditional onboard art auction? We'd love to hear your tips for art-loving passengers!