Photo packages on Disney Cruise Line
Sailing on a Disney ship and wondering if you should splurge on the photo package? Wondering if you will get your money’s worth out of the package? Or, how many opportunities will I have to get my picture taken? Let me help you sort through the facts.
You will find no lack of photographers on the boat. You can walk through the lobby and almost always find several photographers set up for pictures and many times they have a special backdrop, or it’s with something fun in the background like a Christmas tree, a Halloween tree, or a Star Wars Day at Sea sign. At almost all scheduled character meet and greets you will find a photographer. You will also have photographers coming around at dinner; especially on the themed nights like formal night and pirate night. Photographers will also be out on the pool deck, and at Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island) taking candid photos on the beach and even while bike riding. The backgrounds are always changing and the characters will be in a variety of outfits throughout your cruise, including pirate outfits on pirate night and formal outfits on formal night. There is no lack of diverse and unique character backgrounds.
Can’t I just have them take pictures with my camera?
Yes, but with an asterisk. Take a look at some of the side by side comparison photos taken with my iPhone 8 plus by a cast member who is not a photographer, and the picture taken by the photographer with a professional camera and light set up. The professional picture is much better almost every time. Yes, the pictures taken with my camera turned out pretty good at times, but other times the color was off (too dark, odd glares, etc). The other thing I liked is the assortment of poses the photographers offered. I got pictures of my boys together, pictures with just my husband and I, individual shots, and so much more! An added bonus if your kids are like mine and complain about having too many pictures taken, I told them that we’d leave that up to the photographer. And because they were too polite to complain in front of strangers, I got all the poses I was hoping for, and more!
What is the cost?
You can pre-purchase the photo package prior to your cruise (up to 2 days before your cruise departs). This will always be a better rate then purchasing the full photo package while on board. Worried that you won’t like your photos? You can have this package refunded before the end of the last full day of your cruise. You will need to stop at Shutters (the photography area where you view cruise photos) and speak with an employee for your refund.
The cost will vary based on the length of your cruise. To give you an idea, a 7-night cruise photo package that includes all your photos on a memory stick is $295.95. You can also purchase a set number of images. For example, the cost for 20 photos is $249.95, and for 10 photos is $149.95. On our 7-night cruise, we had over 250 pictures taken! You can now see the value of purchasing the full photo package. Just a note, the pre-purchase discount is for the all-digital package. If you decided to only purchase a certain number of prints, that price is the same before or during your cruise. Sometimes guests will pre-purchase the all-digital package and then realize they didn’t get as many pictures as they thought and downgrade to a 20-print package instead.
Is it worth it?
The answer for my family will always be yes. The photographers really strive for quality pictures during your cruise. It is much less stressful for me knowing that the photographer will make several attempts at capturing the perfect moment, than taking a chance that a cast member will get it in just one shot. I am also very mindful of taking advantage of every photo opportunity. I especially love getting photos on the themed nights with all of the fun backdrops. I always stop, dragging my family along, for a fun character picture if the line isn’t too long. If you have no plans for this or this doesn’t sound like your family, then the photo package may not be the right option for you. But if you are planning to seek out photo opportunities, even only occasionally, then pre-purchase the package! If you end up not liking the pictures or didn’t get as many taken as intended, then get the refund. But my guess is you will be pretty happy with the results!