Park West Gallery Auctioneer Spotlight: Nikki van der Merwe
Some of the most enjoyable aspects of “life at sea” are the connections and friendships our Park West Art Teams forge with our collectors on cruise ships all over the world.
That’s why, every month, we take time to recognize some of our top auctioneers.
In February’s spotlight, we’d like to introduce you to Nikki van der Merwe, a creative soul with a passion for travel. Since joining Park West over four years ago, Nikki has shared her creativity and appreciation for fine art with thousands of cruise guests. We recently took some time to talk with Nikki and hear all about her career, hobbies, and favorite Park West moments.
Previous ships as auctioneer: Holland America Zuiderdam, Carnival (CCL) Victory, CCL Valor, CCL Imagination
Current ship: CCL Miracle
Where is your hometown?
Nikki: Port Elizabeth, South Africa
When did you start working as an international art auctioneer on cruise ships?
Nikki: I joined Park West in January 2016 after a friend—who worked for Park West—told me about the opportunity to work on a “floating art gallery.” I come from a very creative family, so I was initially intrigued. My mom and grandmother are both artists and I’ve also been painting since a young age, so it seemed fitting to help others discover their passion for art!
Who is your favorite Park West artist and why?
Nikki: This is the most difficult question for me! (Almost more difficult than picking your favorite song.) My favorite would probably be Anatoly Metlan… or Sam Park… or maybe Daniel Wall… or Patrick Guyton… or Pino! See? I simply can’t choose.
Do you have a favorite client memory?
Nikki: I’m fortunate enough to build relationships with collectors every cruise, but one particularly impactful experience was when I met a mom and daughter on a cruise to Hawaii. They were brand-new collectors and even attended their first art auction with me. Every time they won a bid, they jumped on their chairs, did the silliest dance, and cried with joy. Needless to say, nobody in the crowd dared to bid against them that entire cruise! They were so humble and excited. It made me so happy to see how much they enjoyed Park West’s auction experience.
Out of all the places you’ve travelled, where is your favorite port?
Nikki: I loved Hawaii! Swimming in the ocean, watching the sunset, and dancing under the stars at a traditional Luau celebration were phenomenal experiences.
What does life look like when you’re home and not working?
Nikki: I am a travel junkie and suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)! When I’m on vacation, I try to travel as much as possible while also spending quality time with family and friends. I’m always on “the go”—trying new foods, buying local souvenirs, and trying to explore all the major highlights of the places I visit. Sometimes I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation.
Tell us one thing about living and working at sea that would surprise most people.
Nikki: When you work on cruise ships, you don’t typically know which day of the week it is! Most of the time, we refer to each day as a “sea day” or a “port day.” But we work hard and play hard. During “port days,” we’ll go swimming in the ocean and then get “suited and booted” for an evening of work in the Art Gallery.
Interested in learning more about starting a career hosting art auctions on cruise ships? Visit Art Auctions Abroad for more details.
Learn more about Park West’s world-class auctioneer program: