Cruise Lines That Offer Photography Classes

photography class lindblad expeditions
If you're interested in photography, consider sailing one of these lines. - Photo by Lindblad Expeditions/David Vargas Photography

For someone interested in travel photography, a cruise is one of the best ways to experience and shoot multiple destinations during one trip. As a bonus, many cruise lines offer onboard photography workshops and activities to help improve shooting and editing skills. Here’s an overview of which lines offer photography programming and what they include. 

Princess Cruises

princess cruises photography class
Photo by Princess Cruises

Through their ScholarShip@Sea program, Princess Cruises offers a variety of classes aboard their ships. Taught by the line’s photography staff, hands-on courses include everything from basic techniques to new digital technology. Classes include Introduction to Photography, Using and Setting Your Digital Camera, Photo Digital and Film Basics, and Creative Photography. And since taking photos in port is likely a priority for anyone interested in photography, many classes specifically focus on travel photo techniques that help attendees best capture their memories from the trip. 

Cost: Classes are offered for minimal fees starting at $10 per person. 


Crystal Cruises

crystal cruises symphony serenity exterior ships
Photo by Crystal Cruises

During select cruises aboard Crystal’s ocean ships Crystal Serenity and Symphony, passengers can learn from a team of professional photographers and technology concierges through the line’s Creative Learning Institute. Participants learn more about how to take better travel photos and how best to edit and share them with friends and family. Some classes offered include Travel Photo Basics, See Like a Photographer, The Nature of Light, Professional Droneography, and How to Photograph Groups. Editing and equipment/tool classes include Video Editing with iMovie for iOS, Choosing and Using Digital Cameras, Learning to Love Instagram, Mastering the iPhone Camera App, and Retouching Essentials for Mobile Photography. Many classes build on each other throughout the cruise, starting with beginner photo-taking presentations all the way to more advanced editing sessions towards the end of the voyage. 

Attendees can bring the device of their choice and use the social media app of their choice. Typically classes are taught for those using traditional cameras and iPhones, though some are for Android, too. Passengers traveling without their cameras or smartphones are also welcome to attend classes to learn from the presentation portion.

Cost: Group classes are complimentary; private lessons are $75 for 30 minutes and $100 for 1 hour. Private lessons for two people are $100 for 30 minutes and $150 for 1 hour. Sign up for classes ahead of the cruise online or in the library on embarkation day.


Holland America Line

holland america microsoft studio photography classes
Photo by Holland America Line

Holland America ships feature a space onboard called Microsoft Studio, where a variety of tech-centric classes are available during a voyage. Using Microsoft computers loaded with the latest software programs, passengers can follow along with the host who demonstrates skills and techniques on a large 85-inch screen in front of the room. There are many courses to choose from, including some that aren’t photography related like “Paint an Artistic Landscape with a Digital Pen” and “Organize Your Life with OneDrive.” However, many classes focus on the photos and videos that travelers will take during the cruise, including “Make Your Images Stand Out Like a Pro;” “Create Incredible, Shareable Videos in Minutes;” and “Create Amazing Albums for Your Photos.” These workshops are less about taking photos and more about how you can use and share them after the fact, but they’re beneficial for anyone who wants to learn more about preserving and sharing their memories. 

Cost: Microsoft Studio classes are complimentary and available on a first-come, first-served basis.



hurtigruten canon academy photography classes
Photo by Hurtigruten

Aboard Hurtigruten’s Expedition ships MS Fram, Midnatsol, Roald Amundsen, and Fridtjof Nansen, passengers can take part in photography workshops onboard — particularly during Antarctica itineraries. These classes are part of the line’s Explorer Photography School and occur throughout several days of the cruise. Passengers learn how to take the best photos in Antarctic conditions, store and edit photos, and properly clean their cameras. These itineraries even include special outings in the explorer boats for lessons in taking action shots, which are available only to those taking the course.

During other itineraries across the fleet, expert Hurtigruten Guides offer a variety of lectures and onboard programming on history, biology, geology, culture, science, and — of course — photography. Canon-certified Hurtigruten Guides lead photography activities that teach passengers how to take better pictures as the ship sails through stunning landscapes. From time to time, the line also offers entire photography themed cruises where world-renowned photographers and photo experts lead a host of photography workshops and activities.

Cost: Photography programming is complimentary.


Lindblad Expeditions

lindblad expeditions national geographic photography
Photo by Lindblad Expeditions

It should come as no surprise that National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions have a robust onboard photography program. Every ship in the fleet has a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor onboard. Two ships even have actual National Geographic photographers on every voyage: National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Orion. National Geographic photographers are featured on other ships during select sailings. The line features incredibly immersive Photo Trip Expedition excursions, which have been designed by photographers, for photographers. During these excursions (and also at different times on board), expert photographers are available to give guidance on the best way to take photos in different environments and answer any photography questions that passengers may have. Sometimes, the National Geographic photographers lead “on assignment” photo walks to demonstrate how they tell their visual stories.

Passengers may even find themselves amid an actual assignment for National Geographic! Lindblad’s ships have been used as mobile base camps for National Geographic photographers on assignment, or to deliver goods and supplies to them as they did for Paul Nicklen when he was shooting images for his photo book, Polar Obsession. 

Alongside actually being out taking photos, travelers can take advantage of onboard photography events including expert lectures, presentations, slideshows, and photo-sharing sessions that the line calls “laptop galleries.” Professional and budding photographers could not choose a better cruise line to exercise their photography eye and receive expert guidance than Lindblad.

Cost: All Expedition Photography activities are complimentary.


Silversea Cruises

silversea cruises photo academy photography classes
Photo by Silversea Cruises

Silversea Cruises has a creative space called Photo Studio aboard its ship Silver Cloud (and Silver Wind as of mid-2021). Passengers learn a multitude of things about digital photography in masterclasses on editing, social media, Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, and more. High-quality printers are available for use with an additional fee, where travelers can print things like postcards and a variety of frame-ready photographs. There’s no need for attendees to bring their laptops, either; HP Windows computers and iMacs with Adobe’s photo-editing programs are available for use in the Photo Studio. Those who want to learn even more can schedule 20-minute, one-on-one appointments with photo editing experts. These experts provide instruction on a variety of topics including gear recommendations, proper camera use, camera menu options, smartphone photo tips, and help with posting on social media.

Silversea also offers a variety of special Photo Expedition cruises on their Expeditions fleet. Passengers can take zodiac and walking tours alongside professional photographers who guide them as they document the experience.

Cost: Classes are complimentary, but there is a fee for printing photos.


Other Lines That Offer Photography Classes

Other cruise lines also offer photography classes on select cruises. For example, Carnival offers a Photography 101 course on their longer Carnival Journeys sailings, which the line says will “teach you how to take photos beyond just pointing and shooting.” Cunard also has select voyages that include photography classes, such as their “Northern Lights: Through the Lens” cruise through Norway. 

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Have you ever taken a photography class during a cruise?

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