Cruise TipsShould You Buy Those Cruise Ship Pictures?

Should You Buy Those Cruise Ship Pictures?

From the moment you get past the counter to board your cruise ship you are hounded by photographers and flash bulbs.   But those aren’t the paparazzi mistaking you for a movie star. They are simply the cruise line’s photographers helping you capture every moment from your cruise vacation.

Photo Gallery on a Cruise Ship

Each cruise ship has a team of photographers that can be found at about every turn.  So whether you want a picture of you and your partner all dressed up for formal night, or just want a fun picture of your family and friends you can make sure your memories are captured by professional photographers who really do know what they are doing.

So yes, the pictures the photographers on a cruise ship take are amazing.

The question is: Should you buy the cruise ship pictures or just be happy with the digital photos from your own camera?

Here are some points to consider (both positive and negative) when decided to buy the pictures or not:

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  • The pictures are not only taken with high resolution quality but also quality lighting.
  • The backgrounds they use give the shots a nice touch.
  • It offers you a lot of convenience since you don’t always have to have your camera.
  • Even if you don’t buy any pictures, it’s fun to check them out at the gallery so you should take every opportunity to get them taken.
  • 8×10’s can cost as much as $20. (seems a bit high but consider the next point)
  • These are professional photographers.  When considering what you get for $20 a picture it’s not a terrible deal, especially considering you don’t even have to buy if you don’t want to.

You should always ask about daily deals.  Sometimes cruise ships offer discounts if you buy a certain number of prints.  They don’t always advertise this, so you will have to bring it up yourself.

I used to think that $20 was too much to buy a single 8×10 photo.  But in retrospect, I always wish I had purchased more.  There is nothing like having a professional quality photo of your best vacation ever.

You don’t have to buy every picture, but you should at least buy some.  You will wince at the price then, but you won’t regret it when you get home.

So my answer is yes, buy the pictures and get as many taken as possible.

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J. Souza
J. Souza
Jon is the co-founder of Cruise Fever and has been on dozens of cruises since his first in 2009. As an editor and avid cruise enthusiast he has sailed with at least 9 cruise lines and is always looking for a great cruise deal. Jon lives in North Carolina and can be reached at [email protected].
Cruise TipsShould You Buy Those Cruise Ship Pictures?


    • Once your cruise ends, they delete the photos. When you check in online, they offered prepaid photo package (cheaper than buying on board) I regretted for not buying a package because once onboard Norwegian the last time I went, there are some nice pictures I would love to have but they are much pricey. 🙁

  1. I just came back from a 14-day cruise and yes I bought an expensive photo. On the first gala nights, they took color photos of my mom, my dad and I. At that time, they also invited us to a black and white session. We gladly went. We had never gotten family photos taken ever. My dad has Alzheimer’s and I thought this was my opportunity to get a nice family photo taken. Without too much pressure to buy, my mom purchased one of the colored photo sheet from the gala night = $40 (one 5×7, one 3×6 and two wallet size). And after looking at the black and white shots, I bought one 5×7 mounted for $150 and I don’t regret it one bit. I will get the photo later by Fedex after photoshop adjustments and mounting.

    Holland America works with points, if I do remember correctly:
    1 point = $150.
    So 1 point for a 5×7 = $150.
    1 point for two 4×6 (same photo) = $150.
    3 points for a 8×10 = $450
    and 3 points for a cd (one photo of choice, different sizes).

  2. I have had good pics on our cruises, that I have purchased, and bad pics that I have not. If you don’t like them, don’t buy them. Our last cruise there wasn’t even one I would have considered purchasing. My question is, why can’t they offer the Formal Night pics to you in a 5×7, I wouldn’t hesitate EVER to purchase at least one pic, good or bad, in that size, not everyone has display room for large pics.

  3. Hi Just wondering if we can purchase some more port hole picture frames we purchased on the carnival spirit. And if so where from….Thanks Cheryl and John

  4. My coworker stated ONE picture 5×7 was $150 on his Dec 2017 cruise with Princess. Anyone else experience this because I had made up my mind not to purchase, but then after reading all of these comments about $20….I’m like…Ok, now that is a price I can pay for one picture.

  5. I took 15 of us on the Fantasy On Sept 14th. We were told we could buy 10 Pictures and could have the rest on a Flash drive for a Dollar Apiece. Well that was not what it was when we went to purchase them. It was gonna be like $1,500.00 dollars I think NOT! I was so Angry because that is not good business.

  6. We bought our portraits. It was our 25th Anniversary cruise and we couldn’t get over how good they made us look!

  7. Pictures on our cruise (April 2016 on Carnival) cost $50 for each 8×10 picture and they absolutely refused to tell us prices up front. $20 I could handle and would’ve gladly bought several. But $50 for an 8×10 is way too much. 🙁

  8. Mike, I understand you are/were a photo manager on a cruise ship. I would really like to talk to you, you might be able to help me out can you please email me at [email protected] you contact info i would really appreciate it.


  9. When we were on QM2 a month ago we bought the photo’ & film of our trip to Quibeck. The photo’s we were happy with them except we have an extra won that we did not even know the person. We have let them know. The film we are a bit disappointed in as it not very sharp & it had not got much of the people on the ship & it seemed to repeat itself a lot

  10. on our Oct. cruise I bough 20 pix for 200.00 and was well worth it ..this might have been our last cruise together but I will have the photos to look at as my Husband has stage 4 cancer…

  11. My husband and I purchased a package of photos and a video on our Alaskan cruise in May. (Holland America) We were told that it would take 6 weeks to receive them and we are still waiting 6 months later. I feel we were ripped off since we can’t get anyone to respond to our emails. No, I would not buy photos again.

  12. Should you purchase them….Absolutely!! The precious moments they capture will be yours to treasure forever and will bring fond memories and the biggest smile to your face long after. Take it on as a challenge and capture those special pictures that you never thought you would. I have the most adorable photos of my family all dressed in our Mickey PJs in front of the Christmas tree, I have pictures with my son a picture with my daughter and her favorite doll my husband has a picture of him and our little girl and a picture of just him and the boys the combinations and possibilities are endless. I truly treasure these and am so grateful we went ahead and did it. Take it on as a challenge? and you’ll be glad you did!!

  13. I have taken many cruises, and have always bought at least 4 photos from my cruises. One cruise, my husband and I purchased all of our photos. Photoa are a beautiful momento of a lovely vacation–there are no do-overs. Celebrity even used many photos of our family to promote the photo studio! Having said that, we were completely shocked at the price hike on photos on our last cruise. The going rate for cruise photos is $20 per 8 x 10 photo. On our Celebrity cruise this February, the prices jumped to $40 per photo! It honestly was disgusting, and although there were many, many photos we loved, we only purchased one photo because we truly felt like we were majorly being ripped off. I did speak to some one at Celebrity, and they claimed they had no idea there was a price hike, since the photography studio is leased out to an independant firm. It is “seaway” robbery. Don’t they think they’d make more money if they charged FAR less–as some one previously suggested, perhaps $5 per shot. Yes, the photographers are professionals, but the photos are being duplicated by machines with very littlle effort or cost! Give us cruisers a break and stop this practice of over-charging!

    • I am in complete agreement with you. It always blows my mind that they print so many photos that just end up in the trash. Price them inexpensively and they will sell so many more . Years ago we used to buy several each cruise, but now we rely on our own picture taking skills. We sail primarily Celebrity, and I agree that their prices are absolutely outrageous. I just don’t get the thinking. I would think they would make much, much more money selling them cheaply and in mass quantity than pricing them sky-high and selling far fewer. If it were a particularly special occasion cruise (50th anniversary, only cruise ever with the family, perhaps last cruise with a family member, etc.) then I might spring for ship photos. But other than that, I will spend my money on other things.

  14. I don’t like having to spend hours looking through photos trying to find mine…they need a better hard would it be to scan a room key so all your photos are together in one place on a computer to view…and save them so you could order at a later date…who wants to carry all those pictures home with them worrying that they will get smashed and ruined…the cruise lines waste so much photo paper printing out the pictures …

    • Well, most of the people don’t wanna give them the key because they are afraid they will be charged or the session. Seems that technology is too advanced for some people.

  15. My sister and I have been on three cruises and have not bought one photo. We have them taken every night as we would really love a professional photographer of us buyout of all of these photos there has not been one that we both like. I do also think the are too pricey. The amount of photo that are not bought is a great amount, such a waste. I am sure if the only cost $5 each they would sell loads more.

    • jajajaja, good joke. I work on many cruise lines with different prices, from 4.90 up to 27 dollars. The amount of pictures sold it’s the same, the price will not make the difference in sales percentages (I work as a Photo Manager so I am ok with the figures). Expensive??? How much you’ll pay on land for those pictures? Do you have any idea of the costs of the Photo Department??? For you everything seems to be expensive. If one picture will cost you $5 you will say that $2 is the correct price. In fact, the customers from one ship paying $5 for a picture (6×8 in size) or 9.90 for an 8×10 still saying the picture are too expensive.

  16. I was wondering if it was possible to get pictures from a pass cruise I took back in April of this year? I bought 300 worth of pictures an lost them about a month ago makes me very upset… I would like to try an buy someone please help

    • Hi, do you know which company of photographers were onboard while you had youre pictures taken?

  17. Hello. Thank you for the post. I am an ex-cruise photographer myself (2010-12). I have worked for the cruise line and exact that ship from which you’ve provided the photo of this article as well 🙂
    As photographers we always appreciated the kindness and compassion of our guests as we were ONLY doing our jobs. We are advised to be persistent and assertive however we DO NOT force our guests to get their photos taken or purchased.
    I would like to suggest future cruisers that kindness will go a LONG way when /if they purchase a certain amount of photos 😉
    I suggest you look into a private shoot and work out a deal with the photo manager. Or use the private studio if that company runs one. It will save you up hundreds of dollars as opposed to doing it shoreside. You can email me with questions as I’ve got so much more to tell.

    • Thank you for the helpful tips. With a family of 6 I am thinking of purchasing the unlimited digital pic package for our Royal Carib cruise. At $350 it is very pricey and you only get a cd instead of prints, but you do get every pic you take. Do you feel it is worth buying?

    • My wife and I always purchase at least two portraits and a ship’s album. A few years ago we had professional portraits taken spent several hundred dollars. And I will say the ones we have taken on cruises are much nicer. Plus its a great souvenir.

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