Naturally, cruising provides a wealth of opportunities for shutterbugs to capture spectacular photos of breathtaking scenery, wildlife and more. What some cruisers and photography enthusiasts might not realize, however, is that there are voyages dedicated to photography and expeditions that cater to camera-hounds.
These photo-centric expedition cruises typically come with expert instructors and professional photojournalists onboard who are specially trained to help you with things like the basic elements of framing, composition, lighting, camera settings, action shots and more. This one-of-a-kind guidance not only allows you to take home postcard-perfect shots, but it also helps cruisers take their photography skills to a whole new level.
Photography expeditions are designed to help you capture the most memorable and exciting shots of your life. Whether you have a simple point-and-shoot, or you consider yourself an advanced photographer, the educational experience can transform you into a more confident photo taker.
Choosing the Best Photography Expedition for You
If you’re looking for a more intimate, personalized experience, your best bet is to choose a small ship cruise, specifically focused on photography. While some of the larger cruise lines offer classes and workshops to passengers, you’re likely to get more out of a photography-focused expedition that allows for more one-on-one time with a professional photographer and the ability to demo the latest technology.
Depending on the cruise line and the voyage itself, these experts may be right at your side on deck, next to you while out in the field or sharing tips and tricks before or after your excursion so you shoot the best possible photos.
While many cruises claim to be photographer friendly, consider these cruise lines that truly cater to photography experts and enthusiasts alike. Here are our favorite expedition voyages, designed to take your camera game to an entirely new level:
Photography Expeditions with Lindblad
These highly immersive photo trip expeditions are designed by photographers for photographers. Voyages include National Geographic certified photo instructors aboard every ship, sailing to places like Alaska, the Amazon and Galápagos Islands. Plus, take advantage of nightly workshops, presentations, slide shows and photo-sharing events called “laptop galleries" as well as the ability to test out all the latest gear.
Quark's Ocean Endeavor Expeditions
Quark Expeditions’ Ocean Endeavor offers an exclusive Polar Photography program with trips to Antarctica and beyond. On this active photography adventure, you'll learn tips and techniques from world-renowned photographers. Additionally, there are daily workshops that cater to all levels of photographers and are geared to nature and landscape photographers seeking immersive instruction and photo assignments in the field, talks on techniques, and edit-and-critique sessions.
UnCruise Photography Voyages
UnCruise offers photography-themed voyages in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, Mexico, Costa Rica, The Galápagos and more. A professional photographer guest host will guide you on capturing the perfect shots—onboard, in-the-field, and one-on-one.
Hurtigruten's Explorer Photography School
Though only a few ships in their fleet have a photography program onboard, Hurtigruten's unique itineraries to Antarctica, the Arctic Circle, Patagonia, Falklands and South America are perfect for incredible photos and instruction on board. Professionally led photography workshops are held outside, on the deck, with dramatic backgrounds surrounding every session. These special ships are also equipped with a media lab, in where you can download, process and share your work throughout the cruise.
Preparing for Your Photography Expedition
Most photography expeditions require you to bring your own equipment, which makes sense considering you’ll want to learn the ins and outs of how to best use your own gear. Many cruise lines will allow you to test out new equipment or demo the latest technology, but check with your cruise line before embarkation to see if they have any specific recommendations based on your destination, the weather, the wildlife and more.
Every ship is different and all destinations have their own subtleties, so the more you "know before you go" can help you determine what you'll want to capture, what shots might be best and from where and what to expect while on board or on shore. Whether it's DSLR or a standard point and shoot, the type of camera you bring is really up to you and your preferences, just make sure you're able to carry the gear and that it will fit easily and safely on board both the expedition ship and the Zodiac boat during shore excursions.
Where to Go
Photography-themed cruises are available in some of the world’s greatest destinations, guaranteed to keep you and your camera busy. Cruises provide amateur photographers with a number of opportunities to perfect their prowess behind the lens. Some of the most popular and most exciting photographer-friendly cruise destinations are:
Alaska—The last frontier is the ideal place to get right up close to soaring mountains, glistening glaciers and all sorts of wildlife from whales to bears to bald eagles and more.
The Arctic—From elusive Polar bears to towering glaciers to the phenomenal "Northern Lights", the Arctic abounds with everything a photographer needs for the perfect shot.
Antarctica—An especially unique experience, it’s the ideal place to perfect your polar photography skills while being one of the few travelers to reach the frozen tundra. Antarctica expedition cruises include close encounters with wildlife like seals, penguins and seabirds.
The Galápagos—You’ll discover a true “living museum” where time and relative isolation has allowed nature to produce bird, reptile and mammal species that exist nowhere else on Earth.
The Amazon—A photographer’s paradise with diverse wildlife that includes the near-mythical pink river dolphins and a variety of exotic cultures and is a place where even the most well-versed travelers haven't been.
Taking quality photos while traveling is an art. And no matter where you go, on a photography-themed expedition cruise you can expect to have a nurturing learning environment and an unforgettable, fun adventure while taking your photography skills and satisfaction to another level!
To learn more about photography expeditions and the various itineraries and cruise specials that are available, connect with a CruiseInsider travel expert today at (877) 734-6858.
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