Onboard Viking Art Guide Brings Personal Self-Guided Experience

Cruise ship art collections range from top deck sculpture to prints, paintings, drawings, photography, crafts, mixed-media and/or a combination of different forms.  The entire collection often ties in a shipwide theme but is one of the least talked about features.  In the past, when I got around to documenting the ship’s art collection, that meant boredom had set in.  On a day at sea aboard Viking Ocean Cruises’ first ship Viking Star, I explored the ship’s collection in an entirely new way using a new Onboard Viking Art Guide that was anything but boring.


Onboard Viking Art Guide


Onboard Viking Art GuideI started paying attention to hallway and stairway art on Carnival Legend nearly 15 years ago, fascinated by the collection of urns that tied the ship’s theme together quite nicely.  At the time, the topic lit up the CruiseCritic message boards. One side of the argument liked them, the other hated them. It was nearly as volatile a topic as Princess Cruises then-new Movies Under The Stars coined “MUTS” in a very derogatory way .


Onboard Viking Art Guide


Continuing to support a clear and focused cruise travel experience, Viking Ocean Cruises took the standard cruise ship art collection in a different direction.  Developing a smartphone app, Viking travelers are invited to take a walking tour of the ship, via the art that is strategically placed throughout it.


Onboard Viking Art Guide


Available for iOS and Android devices, the Onboard Viking Art Guide works off the ship’s complimentary internet system, separate from the satellite-fed signal one might use to check email or upload a photo as part of their Viking story.


Onboard Viking Art Guide


There are two ways to go with this.

  • By KeyPad- Going this way, users punch in a number they see next to a piece of art to learn more about the artist via insightful commentary by Viking’s Karine Hagen.  Going this way, we can learn more about individual pieces randomly, walking around the ship
  • By Spaces– A more global view of the collection happens in the Spaces which celebrates the Scandinavian design of the ship, featuring clean lines, a variety of textures and light woods. In this same place, users will find the same information found by KeyPad, nicely organized by the spaces they occupy.

I happened to do the walking tour by keypad first but it would probably have been more enjoyable to do spaces first which also highlights works in the same physical space for a good overall feel of the ship.




All of the above describes the mechanics of taking this self-guided art tour.  Now, here’s where the Viking magic takes over and brings a unique, personal experience.

First, this is not a major undertaking as the narration is artist-specific for the most part, repeating at each work of the same artist. Photos tagged to the displayed numbers make it indirectly educational. Basically,  the entire shipwide collection might have appeared to be a nice curation of pieces complementary to the area where they were placed prior to the tour.

But not far into it the viewer becomes familiar with the artist’s work and gains an appreciation for their unique style. It’s about then that you realize the thought that went into curating pieces and how it fits into the overall ambiance of the ship.

The end result of both verifies and details the overall comfortable feel of the ship and helps explain an otherwise elusive, though pleasant ambiance. In a way, this is a behind the scenes look at the thought process that went into all of it.


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