SeaLetter Cruise Survey Results Cruise Survey
Art Auctions Cruise Survey Results

We asked your opinion on Art Auctions on board Cruise Ships: Did you Approve, Disapprove, Not Sure Yet and Why?

This was our closest SURVEY vote yet! Of the total responses, 37% APPROVE, 42% DISAPPROVE and 19% are NOT SURE YET. I think a good many of those who approved were more interested in the FREE CHAMPAGNE than in the artwork!

Some of your comments appear below. We regret that we cannot publish all of them, but we do not publish unsigned comments or letters.

In my opinion, the cruise lines should be able to find some other means of 'entertainment' than these horrid art auctions.

I will admit that I am not an art afficionado, but I do appreciate art. Some of the stuff offered at these functions would be better off in the artist's garage.

I have not been able to find out just when this practice of 'art auctions at sea' began, but believe it is a rather new activity.

I guess I could go on and on, but all my comments would be negatives. I always try to find the good in all things. But for the life of me, I have not been able to ascertain just what is good with these sales.

John Bruneel

They are the biggest ripoff afloat in yet another attempt to boost ship revenue. They prey on the fact that vacationers are more likely to spend money on something they don't want or need on vacation than if they were at home. They also have the advantage that there is not way to research an art object to find out what it's true market value is in the middle of an ocean. The only social redeeming value of them that I have seen is the free champagne I am sure they offer to loosen up the purse strings. I drink their champagne, but tighten my purse strings firmly shut.

Tucker in Texas

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to express my thoughts on this topic.

I love cruising and hate to see it be used in such an obvious way to make more money for the cruise lines. It must be a very high profit endeavor since only a very small percentage of passengers seem to attend, much less buy, get it seems to be a practice that is growing. I for one will boycott any attempt to turn cruising into a retail opportunity with a captive audience.

Sandra Russell

Why not, If you do not want to buy, don't show up for the auction.

After all its nothing more than another method for the cruise line to get you to spend your money with them and or you to get something better than a t-shirt for your cruise.

Paul J Cannamela

Art auctions are certainly another cash cow for the cruise lines. No different that bingo, the casino and the mixed drinks.

On our recent cruise on the Destiny, we attended an auction and bought two African paintings. At the end of the auction, I won the raffle, which turned out to be one of the paintings we bought earlier. We were given a refund. The two paintings now grace two walls in our family room and we are quite proud of them. Friends who come over are always commenting about how nice they are. We felt we got good value for the money spent and we enjoyed the free champagne throughout the auction.

Hondu Wiltshire

I don't think I would ever buy anything from one of these auctions but if it floats your boat--go for it.

Marge Frahm

I have yet to find anything resembling a deal yet and feel they are an annoyance more than anything else as they tend to clutter up the ship.

Dennis Guy

Its just another way for the ships to make money. They spend too much time in Shore excursion meetings, other information meetings to tout these art objects. I spend enough time waiting, listening and spending without being subject to them pushing art on me too.

K Edwards

The auctions are yet another way for cruise lines to make money. I don't think anybody is going to get a bargain if they buy something but for those of us who don't participate, the auctions are a good deal because they allow the cruise line to keep the cost of the cruise affordable.

Marlene Elster

The only gripe I have against Art Auctions is that I have a sneaking suspicion that there would be one more activity offered that I would participate in if art auctions didn't exist. I've gone to them for charity drives but they are one of the last things I'd want to spend valuable cruise time doing. But I won't object because there are passengers would like them.

Elaine Sapp

Why not? If you want to go, go. If not, don't. The announcements are a bit annoying, but they don't physically drag you there, do they?

William L Carpi

We consider Art Auctions like Bingo. We do not participate but if others like to that is fine. We enjoy other activities that are available. That is the aspect of cruising we like, a variety of activities to suit everyone. What we do not like are the constant reminders about the auction over the PA.

Dale Ensor

I don't care much one way or the other. If you're not interested, don't go. Occasionally a free glass of champagne is offered. That's nice. I'll always drink a glass of champagne.

Carla Rogers

What's the problem? Some people want to buy "art" - lrt them. There's plenty of other things to do aboard the ship for those who want other activities - not to mention things to do on shore.

Allen Karlebach

While I do not attend the auctions, they certainly do not interfere with my cruise enjoyment. To each his own.

Gerald Eckstein

Only show up at first art auction for the free champagne.

Joe Gamoran

I don't believe there is anything wrong with a ship having 1 or 2 auctions...the problem seems to be they are running them for the length of the whole cruise! Then there are a thousand announcements about them during the day. I have a funny story about an auction on the Grandeur. My teenage son and some of his new found friends were resting in the Centrum of the ship, which happens to be where the auctions are held. They fell asleep and when they awoke they were sitting in the front row of the auction. They were sorrounded by people, so they were afraid to move! We were up on one of the balconies and saw them sitting there looking pretty sheepish...I thought it was sweet that no one woke them up or asked them to move! My opinion is to limit the auctions, they are not that exciting...I'm sure the cruise lines can come up with better ways to generate $$$!

Sally Dunn

They are a relaxing way to spend some time on sea days and we've picked up a few interesting pieces.

Judy Vaughan

They don't bother me too much since I don't participate, but the art auctions come across a just another way the cruise lines are trying to get in your pocket.

Harry Johnston

Authenticity of art pieces is questionable. Also, not much variety same style generally repeated with different themes.

Sharon Hoskins

Personally, I would not go on a cruise to buy art. I did not attend any of the auctions because I felt that the cruise line was just using this as an opportunity to make a profit from people who are out to have a good time and are willing to spend money like there is no tomorrow. My guess is that a lot of people buy this 'art' while they are cruising over the ocean without a care in the world, but when they get home and see what they bought, they wonder why. I would say it is largely impulse buying. If I were going to buy something that I was going to permanently display in my home, I would rather wait till I got home where I could take my time and pick and choose rather than get caught up in the moment. People cast caution to the wind on cruise ships and in my opintion that is what a cruise is for - not for buying art.

Barbara Dobson

We are vets of 26 cruises to date with number 27 coming up in April.And we love a "well run" art auction. Have purchased a number ofgreat pieces aboard ship. All were bargains when compared to the prices in Las Vegas Gallaries. Many folks do not know art or are not interested in art and that is OK, their choice. I am not interested in Bingo, but I do not have a problem of it being touted on every ship afloat. To each his own.

A good auctioner is really the key to a good auction. Park West Gallaries does a great job at sea. Some other we have seem were less that enjoyable. Some cruises do not lend themselves to Auctions. Were just on the Viking Serenade last weekend and on a short, price sensitive cruise like that they could not get enough folks together with an real interest in art to make an auction work. Same was true on Carnival's Holiday, no interest, poor auctioner and it did not work. Again, I don't think the "Party Ships"are going to make an auction work.

Ed and Roe Wynn

I personally don't like them but some people do, therefore, they should be allowed to purchase art work from these auctions. I have attended two art auctions on two different cruise lines and will not go to another one. I did not see anyone purchasing art work.

DiAnne Long

As long as attendance remains one's free choice as long as the sessions are conducted with integrity as long as a precedent is being established for the ship being rendered a floating "flea market", let the practice continue. When passenger complaints about the lack of the above factors begin to appear, it is time to reevaluate the practice. I choose not to attend the activities and have never felt pressured to attend.

Jim Fort

The last time my wife and I went on a cruise, there was what seemed to be an unending art auction. When we looked at the quality of the pieces being offered, we couldn't figure why anyone would want to try to get another large piece of "stuff" off the ship and home, especially when we had purchased several prints in Hamilton Bermuda, of better quality, and at a far smaller price for much less. With UPS delivery included no less. It seems to me that the idea of an "art auction on board" provides a good new revenue base for the cruise line and is pointed at travelers who have had little or no experience in the purchase of works of art.

Art Kurrasch

I really enjoyed the art auction(s).

First- There were plenty of other things to do if you weren't interested. The auctioneer was friendly and willing to talk and answer questions. this put me at ease.

Second the prices were fantastic. I bought a signed lithograph for less than $100 and then came home and researched it and found it listed retail ( at multiple locations) for over $800. Can't wait for the next cruise and auction.

Debbie Carlsen

If I want to shop for a painting or picture I'll go to a art gallery. I consider it to be a waste of time.

John Lewandowski

I have participated in purchasing in two art auctions, one aboard NCL and the latest on RCCL. We were very pleased with the purchase on NCL, a FRAMED original art work and received it within about 4 weeks. This was our first art auction purchase, and we were very pleased with it. So, we thought it would go as smoothly on RCCL, WRONG!!!!!

The program on RCCL is through Park West Galleries and are they ever awful! The first day of the auction, we bid on a painting and I have spent from Oct. 97 to Feb. 98 trying to get the product that was presented at the auction. Our print was matted and framed and shown as such. The auctioneer made a big deal out of starting the bid at $220.00 and saying "The frame alone is worth at least $200.00." For the record, I heard it, my husband heard it, and my in-laws heard her say this. Based on that, we bid the $220.00 and signed for them to ship it. Again, we only bought it because it was FRAMED.

Six to eight weeks later, I had a "tube" on my doorstep. I could not believe this was the "framed" print I purchased. After numerous phone calls to both Park West and RCCL here's what they offered. First offer was to send the framing pieces, cost of shipping another $45.00. Then I would still have to pay someone to put it together. Plus, don't you think $45.00 is a little high to ship just the "boards", no glasss, no matting. Next offer was to give me a $200.00 "land auction" credit. Well, a few weeks before they had sent us a $200.00 free land auction credit. So, this offer wasn't worth jack. Last, after calls from RCCL they offered to have me send it back, they would frame (they would not even consider giving me my money back), and wanted to charge $145.00 to ship it!!!! How insane! The framed print we had gotten from NCL was the same size and cost $35.00 to ship. What a rip-off!!!! I told her I would pick it up, she was shocked, "that's a long way to come". Well, "I don't feel like being ripped off for another $145.00", I said. I will NEVER buy or recommed anyone to buy from Park West Galleries. They have AWFUL customer service. It also bleeds over into my feelings for RCCL. Don't know what their "ship guarantee" that they tout so much is really worth, but it obviously does not include the art auction (note, this was our 5th RCCL cruise).

I would caution anyone against buying anything from these con artists!

Shelly Nichols

I do not like them, they make sooo many anouncements about them over the loud speaker, it gets to be too much. I do not feel they belong on a cruise ship. Kind of tackey.

Terry Morin

If one is interested in buying art and getting a good deal, one should go to where they sell art as collectables. A cruise is the last place I would be looking to buy art. There are too many other things to see and do on board. Forget the art auction.

Gary Zumwalt

It's only my opinion ... but I haven't seen any artwork yet that I like! This "auction" on board just cheapens this part of a cruise to that of a "flea market" type atmosphere! I can do without it!!

Barbara McAloon

I have not seen very much nautical art and surely this is the best environment for it. I agree with any retailing that is different from what is available ashore.

Oliver Hawes

I'm certain that cruise lines use art auctions as a way of increasing revenues. The net impact is that this allows cruise lines to offer a lower base cost for the cruise. I don't think this is really any different than charging for alcoholic beverages on board.

I personally have been on four cruises with my family. I have not participated in any art auctions myself. Nor do I drink a lot of alcoholoc beverages on a cruise. Therefore, from my standpoint, I would rather not pay a higher cost for a cruise and have alcohol beverages included. I just wouldn't benefit from it. I feel the same way about art auctions. If you want to participate, fine. If you don't, you're not forced to.

I guess that I'm in favor of ways of keeping the base costs of cruises down.

Tom Kanitra

Waste of time and space. The art is marginal and hard to take home. Would be better if they had an additional activity instead.

Beverly Mahfuz

My husband and I love the art auctions. We have purchased several works of art from the auctions on Rccl's ships and have been very satisfied with our purchases.

There are some exceptional deals that shouldn't be missed if your a fan of fine art. I would say we've probably bought about $4000.00 worth of art from these auctions and we intend to keep on buying.

Every piece has been shipped to us with the greatest of care.

We sincerely hope they continue to have the auctions-there great fun!

Lori Kidd

I find that I am not in the least bit interested in buying artwork when I am on vacation, especially a cruise. If I want art, I can go to a real gallery in NYC.

Kelly Saunders

I don't really mind if a ship has one auction, but IMO that is plenty! I find it slightly tacky and definitely a strange activity for a cruise - shopping for anything is usually easy to do off-ship and I can't imagine wanting to lug home a picture on the plane along with all of my other "treasures".

I guess I am not completely against it for people who enjoy it, but enough is enough! I was tired by the end of the Carnival cruise with looking at what activities there were to do and finding the art auction or bingo was the main (and almost only!) activity yet again.

So if I was to suggest that a cruise err one way (too many) or the other (none), I would prefer none.

Susan Mellott

My husband and I enjoy the auctions. We don't attend all, and do not really find any incredible bargains, but we do not shop for art at home and take this opportunity to add to the art in our home. I hope they continue.

While others go to bingo, we go to the auctions. We have cruised a lot and when you have gone to the same islands over and over, sometimes we just like to stay onboard the ship. The auctions allow us something to do besides just reading, sunning and relaxing on the pool deck.

Bonnie Gelb

I don't really see where it would become a problem, those who are not interested and don't care to participate shouldn't have a problem avoiding such auctions. Cruises are designed to have interest lectures and functions covering a wide array of interests so that almost anyone can find something aboard a ship to enjoy...why should something like this be treated any differently?

Rhonda Rivera

It may well be that many people like events like art auctions. I personally have very little interest, but I certainly don't want to stop other people from going. I suspect that if very few people buy from these auctions, they will disappear. In the meantime I don't have to attend.

Kenneth McCall

I have an experience related to art auctions which shows what a sham they are to the uneducated.

On the Splendour of the Seas in 1996, we attended the art "auction". The auctioneer started the bidding out at $50 and several parties bidding got the price up to around $150.00 when he stopped, whispered something to his assistant, and announced he had special authority to not only let everybody in the room have a painting (they found more in the back room, I guess) but to lower the price to....$50! Everybody cheered and clapped, and he sold about 10 of these bargains.

This was not an auction at all. He was simply selling paintings at his asking price by generating a false interest and value! Every day he did this - everybody got the painting at a price he determined anyway!

As my father used to tell me, "If a man with experience meets a man with money, the man with the experience will soon have money and the man with the money will get the experience"!

Charles Coriaty

A royal pain and a real nuisance! The announcements over the loudspeaker constantly does get annoying. In my six cruises, I don't recall many people ever showing much interest.

Debra Latta

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