Royal Caribbean International’s newest “smart ship,” Ovation of the Seas, is setting sail from Southampton, U.K., this week on her 52-day Global Odyssey, visiting exotic ports of call from the Mediterranean to the Far East and beyond.
Guests onboard Ovation will experience these extraordinary ports while enjoying an 11,000-piece, $4.5 million dollar art collection that has been inspired by the words of Confucius: “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” The collection was curated by London-based Peter Millard and Partners and features contemporary art from artists from around the world.
“The true essence of a Royal Caribbean vacation is to broaden travelers’ horizons by introducing them to new and unexpected adventures, and that includes the art we feature onboard our ships,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Ovation of the Seas features unexpected and destination-inspired artwork, unique pieces and interactive art experiences that will surprise and delight our guests.”
33-Foot Panda and Cub Set Sail
One of the ultimate photo ops onboard Ovation of the Seas is “Mama and Baby,” a larger-than-life commission designed by a U.K.-based artist Jo Smith.
Perched atop the SeaPlex on deck 15, the piece depicts a mother panda and her cub, reaching out to one another. Considered a symbol of good luck and a national treasure in Chinese culture, the peaceful creatures with the distinctive black and white coat were curated with Ovation’s primarily Chinese guests in mind.
They are intended to bestow peace and prosperity on all who interact with them. The pandas are also a playful nod to the cruise line’s newly announced partnership with World Wildlife Fund, which focuses on ensuring the long-term health of the oceans its ships sail upon.
Mama and Baby together weigh approximately six-and-a-half tons. Mama is 10 meters high — or approximately 33 feet, from the deck to the top of the sculpture — while Baby is approximately three meters — or ten feet — tall.
Smart Art Includes First Moving Sculpture at Sea
It wouldn’t be a smart ship without smart art, and the Quantum class hallmark of high-tech pieces continues onboard Ovation with “Sky Wave.”
Created by New York-based Hypersonic and Boston-based Plebian Design, “Sky Wave” is the first ever kinetic moving sculpture at sea. The installation pivots and curves at different points to mirror the flow of both wind and water. Further inspiration was also taken from the ship’s movement, culminating in a piece that combines both maritime elements and engineering.
Each petal in “Sky Wave” is made of handcrafted fiberglass and varies in length to hone the flawless rolling sway. Located on deck 5, just in the Royal Esplanade, the eye-catching, carefully crafted art piece was commissioned specifically for Ovation.
Elevator Art Gets an New Look, Still Prime for Selfies
The elevator art on Quantum class is known for selfie-taking, and Ovation of the Seas is no exception. Ovation is elevating the selfie art game with all-new imagery from Chinese photographer Huainan Li’s series, “The World of the Senses.” The powerful series features the futuristic faces of women accented in metallic hues and sporting glasses that reflect a variety of whimsical scenes. The collection of 10 pieces is sure to surprise and delight guests each time they ride from deck to deck and pack an unexpected punch when the doors open.
The Red Thread
One of the most iconic art locales on Quantum-class ships is the rotunda. Ovation does not disappoint as passersby can enjoy the work of Bieli Liu, a Chinese artist who played into the natural movement of the ship with an adaptation from her “Lure” series of installations. The sculpture was created to fit the rotunda location and represents an ancient Chinese legend depicting the red threads that connect Chinese children to their soulmates.
A disc may be connected to another, as a pair; and a pair of disks may sprout from a single thread. The installation is designed to suspend from the ceiling, forming a vibrant and energetic piece that responds to subtle air currents and movement as the red coils turn, and strands of thread become entangled.
Throughout the entire ship, guests will find curated art at every turn, all inspired by the exotic destinations Ovation will visit. Figures from artist Zheng Lu are located outside Two70. The sculpture – inspired by the artist’s father, a Chinese poet – weaves Chinese symbols together in a delicate fashion.
Heading into the Royal Theater, artist Dominic Harris engages show-goers with an interactive piece titled “Flutter Wall.” The 120-inch screen showcases butterflies on a black canvas that seemingly fly away as guests walk up for a closer view. It is a true surprise and delight experience akin to the additional installations that travelers can enjoy onboard.