This post is part of a blog series about life at sea. Before you get stuck in, be sure to read the Introduction post. This explains some background information and what the series will entail, so that you know what more there is to look forward to!

There is something I should quickly explain about life at sea. Whatever job role you have on board is like no other job you’ll encounter. Each day is different, depending on a variety of things; if you’re at land that day, out in the ocean all day (otherwise known as a ‘sea day’), where you are in the world, who you’re with, and how long you’ve been working there. With all of these circumstances taken into consideration, no day at sea is quite the same, making it difficult to give a true definition of a ‘day in the life of’ any crew member.

In order to give you an idea of a typical day, I will be answering questions with a range of tasks that get carried out on a Sea Day and Land Day separately. For those of you who are interested in finding out about other job roles on board, I aim to follow this post on with insight into some of my friends’ roles, so stay tuned!

Now without further ado…

A day in the life of a Cruise Ship Photographer

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A Typical Sea Day

What time did you normally start work?

We opened the photo gallery at 9am on sea days, so I got up at 8.30 to get ready. I only had to walk upstairs to get to work, which took about a minute. Talk about an easy commute!

What activities did you normally do during the day?

Some days were just spent working in the gallery, chatting to passengers and up-selling products. Others days we would do presentations on photography, photograph various passenger activities, and in turns we would set up portrait studios ready for the evening. Our best and busiest days were spent photographing/filming on board weddings. We always hoped that the sea would be calm, or the wedding could get postponed for a day with better weather.

What activities did you normally do during the evening?

The gallery typically re-opened at 5pm, and the whole team started together. We would finish any leftover portrait set-up, followed by photographing party events, taking portraits in the restaurants and at the various studios around the ship. Formal nights were by far our busiest, as portrait studios were in high demand. It could get pretty exhausting! After work we would try to see our friends in the crew bar and let our hair down a little.

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What time did you usually finish work?

The photo gallery closed around 10pm. After the portraits finished, we all joined in to pack them down. The printer often worked much later than this, preparing any photos taken that evening for the following days’ sales. I saw them work as late as 3am, and they were still in bright and early the next day. The DVD editor often worked late hours too, as they still participated in the evenings’ photo shoots before they could get any editing done.

How much time off did you get?

In my two years at sea, I only had about 6 evenings off. Our team would take alternate days to have a lie-in, and from 3-5 we all had time to ourselves to relax, eat lunch, take a nap and get ready for work again. On the very, very rare occasion that we got an evening off, we would spend it eating in the fine-dining restaurants on passenger decks for a fee, watch a show in the on board theatre, pay a visit to the crew bar or just take some time to ourselves to rest-up in our cabins and call home.

A Typical Land Day

What time did you normally start work?

We would either start as soon as we docked, photographing passengers as they arrived in each new port (this could be as early as 5am – yawn!), or as late as 5pm before the ship set sail. The gallery was then opened, followed by the sail away party photo shoots.

What activities did you normally do during the day?

Apart from exploring and taking some time out for ourselves, we took photos to later sell on board in the photo gallery, and filmed video footage to edit into the cruise DVD. Sometimes we would get to go on tours with the passengers. We took photos of them during the trip, as well as photos and film footage of the place itself.

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What activities did you normally do during the evening?

Whether we were on land or at sea, the photo gallery opened every evening at 5pm. A smaller amount of portrait studios would take place, and we would still attend any passenger events around the ship, taking photos and filming footage for the DVD.

What time did you usually finish work?

If we were still docked for the evening (Otherwise known as an ‘overnighter’), we would close the gallery around 10-11pm, get changed and head on out into the country we were in. Sometimes we grabbed a bite to eat of the local cuisine, or had some drinks with our friends in a nearby bar. Overnighters were rare during my own time at sea (this varies in different companies), so we spent them living life to the max, really making the most of them when they came around.


How much time off did you get?

At each port we arrived at, our team would take alternate days to photograph the passengers on the gangway. After three hours on the gangway, we were free (apart from photography and filming here and there) until an hour before sail away where all crew had to be back on board. In my two years there, I never had a whole evening off when we were docked, but that didn’t stop us from going out afterwards.

Lastly, how long does a Photographers’ contract last?

My shortest contract was 5 months, my longest was 7 and a half. Photographers usually do 6 month contracts (Or at least they did for the company I worked for), with a month off before their next one.

So there you have it – a typical land and sea day in the life of a Cruise Ship Photographer. It is by far one of the hardest jobs I have ever had to date, for a large variety of reasons. Both the mental and physical drain it can have on you by working so hard for so long, without a break in between, can really take it’s toll. It is also one of the most challenging places I have ever worked, but one of the most rewarding too. As the saying goes, ‘Work hard, play harder’. This couldn’t be more true when it comes to life at sea, but I’ll tell you more about that later!

If you liked this post and would like a travel piece to read before the next post in the series is out, why not try my 10 things every Cruise Ship worker needs to pack before their first adventure post – Something to help if you’re considering starting a life at sea. I’ve also linked a few of my social media accounts below, if you would like to stay updated on the series. I look forward to sharing more with you!

Facebook: @thelittleindie
Instagram: @littleindietravels and @littleindiesblog
Twitter: @thelittleindie
Pinterest: littleindie1


4 thoughts on “Life at Sea – A Blog Series. A day in the life of a Cruise Ship Photographer

    1. It really was Lottie! So exhausting but so rewarding. An experience I’ll remember forever! And that’s one of my favourite photos. I’m tempted to have it printed and put it up in my house somewhere!

      Liked by 1 person

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