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Credit: Holland America Line

Art of cruising: Discover amazing artwork onboard Holland America Line ships

Author: Olivia Sharpe

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A floating gallery with world-class art at every turn, a stylish Holland America Line ship is like cruising in a kaleidoscope of creativity

On a Holland America Line cruise, there’s no need to wait until your ship docks to experience enthralling art.

The cruise line has curated an extraordinary, multi-million-dollar collection of work by eclectic artists and sculptors in order to intrigue and capture the imagination of guests.

And the line's first Pinnacle-class ship, MS Koningsdam, is no exception.

Caretaker to artworks valued at $4.1million (roughly £3million), with each piece worth between $500 and $600,000, the collection onboard Holland America Line's Koningsdam ranks among the largest at sea and represents artists from more than 21 nationalities.

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Koningsdam’s intriguing artwork – themed around ‘the architecture of music’ – includes a stunning silkscreen made of toy cars cast in resin by UK artist Miss Buggs.

There's a dreamy, twisted bamboo-reinforced sculpture by Dutch artist Peter Gentenaar which rises through two decks, and was hand-cast on-site from Belgian linen delivered to the ship frozen.

From whimsical to surreal, still life to immersive, many of the ship’s pieces feature around music, sound and movement.

There’s a feeling of guests becoming part of the art themselves, rather than merely consuming it; a mindset that mirrors the cruise line’s approach to travel.

'Wings of the Pharao' by Peter Gentenaar. Credit: Holland America Line

It’s not just Koningsdam that steals the artistic limelight, though.

Gallery-quality art has always been a major component of the cruise line’s aesthetic since its inception.

The artwork displayed in lounges, corridors, stairways and sleek atriums across its fleet is just one reason why Holland America Line has become known the world over for its sophisticated style.

Onboard the rest of Holland America impressive fleet, guests may come across musical instruments owned by rock legends such as David Bowie and Bob Dylan.

'Harps' in Nieuw Statendam's Atrium. Credit: Holland America Line

Expect poolside figures of frolicking sea lions, carved and buffed to a pristine patina by British sculptor Susannah Holt, or water sculptures designed by Bjørn Storbraaten.

Made of lightweight stone and doubling as eight-foot-high waterfalls that guests can walk through, Storbraaten’s water sculptures are subtly engraved with the word ‘water’ in 100 languages.

Another unmissable hallmark aboard all ships is the paintings by maritime artist Stephen Card, known for his evocative oil-painted seascapes.

Art in the Explorer's Lounge. Credit: Holland America Line

Whether it’s in the Captain’s Corner or the Crow’s Nest, there’s an abundance of art to stimulate the soul. Even the architecture onboard ships is ‘artfully’ inspired.

Take the dramatic three-deck-high atrium of Nieuw Statendam, for example.

Graced with an airy stainless-steel sculpture, it has been designed to emulate the feeling of being inside a musical instrument.

Just like music, the experience changes as guests move around and through it, so no two perspectives are ever the same.

'DashelAir & DrashelDeep' by Simon Casson. Credit: Holland America Line

Guests can look up to see subtle projections dancing on the ceiling skylight, such as wispy clouds floating in an azure sky or soothing images of light dappling in water.

By night, the atrium takes on dramatic lighting hues or reflects the starlit constellations of the night sky.

If you can tear your eyes away from the glittering ocean vistas and seabirds swooping and coasting in the warm air current created by the ship’s passage, then you’ll find beauty around every corner onboard Holland America Line ships.

French artist Henry Matisse once said, 'Creativity takes courage' – and Holland America Line is a cruise company that isn’t afraid to nail its colours to the mast, quite literally.

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