A Guide to Cruise Ship Art Auctions

Hidden amongst the water slides, rows of sun-drenched deck chairs and surf and turf dinners is one aspect of a cruise vacation too many people are overlooking; art auctions. You may not embark on a cruise vacation specifically for the auctions, but many cruisers find them to be fun, engaging and informative activities on par with everything else found on board the modern cruise ships of today. From the colorful pop art of Peter Max and Romero Britto to the detail and precision of a Picasso lithograph or a Rembrandt etching, there’s something for everyone when you explore a gallery at sea curated by a professional art auction service like Park West Gallery. 

Park West Gallery curates countless auctions each year on board major cruise lines like Carnival, Celebrity, Norwegian, MSC, Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises and the gallery understands how to make the experience a memorable one for both casual art fans and dedicated collectors. A new pre-register initiative recently announced by the gallery is aimed at growing interest and appreciation for art in the cruise industry.

Cruise Ship Art Auctions

Park West Gallery offers a wide selection of art | Photo: Park West Gallery

Cruise Ship Art Auctions: What to Expect 

After a morning spent enjoying Eggs Benedict and catching a few rays on the lido deck, cruisers often wander through an onboard lounge to find it’s been magically transformed into an art gallery. Since 1969, Park West has been the leading provider of art for cruisers and their team is second to none when it comes to a fun and engaging experience. 

From the moment you walk into a cruise ship art auction, the goal is to inform, inspire and entertain. Wait staff circle the room with bubbling flutes of champagne as people peruse the selections before the auction begins. There’s no obligation to bid on anything if you don’t want to! Many come to get out of the sun for a bit, sip their champagne and learn a thing or two about art and an auction from the best in the business.

Cruise Ship Art Auction

A Park West Auctioneer | Photo: Park West Gallery

 A lot of curious cruisers who find themselves attending an art auction on board the ship like to chat with their fellow cruisers about the art, the ship, the cruise line and the experience as a whole. It’s a great place to meet someone new! 

RELATED:10 Reasons to Buy Art on a Cruise Ship

One thing most don’t realize about art auctions is how fast-paced and entertaining they actually are. Auctioneers can be downright mesmerizing when they command the room and start taking bids. It may sound like nonsense, but an auction chant, or bid calling as it is sometimes called, is actually the auctioneer repeating the current bid and raising the price for the next bidder. Should no one else bid higher after a few moments, the work is sold! 

Cruise Ship Art Auction

Gallery staff can answer all your questions | Photo: Park West Gallery

In case you do see a work you like, pre-registering for the event makes a lot of sense. When you pre-register at Park West’s website, cruisers can get $50 worth of buying credits towards a work of art as well as a free gift from the gallery! 

Learn About the Art Before the Auction 

If you find yourself exploring the ship during the first few days of the cruise, make sure you check out the art gallery and view some of the collection set to be auctioned off. The friendly and informed gallery staff are more than happy to show you around the gallery and answer any questions you may have about an artist or individual work. For novice art enthusiasts, this is a great way to familiarize yourself with each work and perhaps find one that catches your eye. 

Cruise Ship Art Auction

You never know when a work of art will catch your eye | Photo: Park West Gallery

90% of Park West’s art comes from partnerships with living artists and occasionally the artists drop by the cruise ship auctions to surprise their collectors. Whether you’re looking for something nice for a wall back home or you’re curating an art collection of your own, learning about each work prior to the auction is one of the best things to do! If you’ve cruised before on the same ship, always head back and see the gallery again as the selection changes and something new may stand out! 

Go for the Experience! 

For many, cruise ship art auctions are something new and exciting that doesn’t come up very often in daily life. Cruising is about having fun and experiencing new things, so why not check one out on your next cruise vacation! Don’t forget to log onto the Park West pre-registration website and choose which line you’re sailing with for an extra $50 in buying credits and a free gift!