Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Royal Caribbean to scale back art auctions on cruise ships

Royal Caribbean is dropping the company that runs its on-board art auctions, Park West, and may eliminate art auctions entirely from its ships.That's the word from Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein, who wrote on his blog Tuesday that art auctions run by Park West will end on different ships at different times over the next few months.
"Our contract with Park West Art Services has expired and we have decided not to renew it," Goldstein says. "We are evaluating what if any art-related programming we may offer in the fleet in the future beyond Oasis of the Seas where Art Actually is our provider of art tours and art for purchase."
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Goldstein did not say why Royal Caribbean is dropping Park West, which dominates the business of art auctions on cruise ships, but the decision comes as the auctioneer faces a number of complaints over its practices.
Just last month, Park West took a $500,000 hit in a legal brawl with a Web site that said the auctioneer sells overpriced, forged and fraudulent artwork. A recent story in Crain's Detroit Business notes Park West also faces eight state and federal lawsuits from art buyers claiming fraud and violations of consumer protection laws. The news outlet says most of the cases recently were consolidated into a multi-district federal lawsuit that heads to trial next year in Seattle.
Park West operates the art auctions on ships operated by a number of other cruise companies, including Norwegian Cruise Line.

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