It was a bizarre sight for onlookers when eight tonnes of brightly-coloured polar bear departed a German dock on board Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas this month.
The extra-large passenger, a striking magenta sculpture measuring 9.1 metres, is currently residing on the top deck of the world's 'most advanced cruise ship' which has taken art to the fore, quite literally.
It is part of a 2980 piece, multi-million dollar art collection themed 'What Makes Life Worth Living' that has been especially curated for Quantum of the Seas.
The polar bear piece is titled 'From Afar' and was created by former Melbourne resident and RMIT student Lawrence Argent.
Comprised of 1340 stainless steel triangles, the artwork is intended to incite wonder among guests, encouraging them to admire the bear from afar.
"It is quite exciting to be collaborating with Royal Caribbean on a very visible and significant piece of art that will allow my work to be exposed to thousands of people each week," said Argent.
"The thing about cruise holidays is that they transport individuals from the normality of their everyday lives and leave them open to new experiences.
"The bear engages those that have a fear of thinking they don't know what art is and turns it into an approachable entity."
Royal Caribbean prides itself on introducing "firsts" at sea and taking cruising into new realms of "fantasea".
On board Quantum of the Seas you'll find entertainment such as bumper cars, a circus school with flying trapeze, a London Eye-type viewing capsule that zooms 100 metres above the ship, and a skydiving experience.
The huge ship spans 18 decks, weighs in at 167,800 tonnes, carries 4180 guests and features 2090 staterooms.
- Sydney Morning Herald