You don't have to be camera shy to feel hounded by cruise ship photographers. They're everywhere, especially on mainstream cruise ships. Stroll across the lobby in the evening to get a drink, and you run the gauntlet of shutterbugs begging you to pose in front of fake sunsets and imaginary beaches. Walk down the gangway and a pirate or lifesize dolphin is waiting to pose with you. Stick a forkful of steak in your mouth, and someone pops up, asking you to say "cheese."
We agree that professional photos taken on cruise ships can make fabulous mementos of your trip for years to come -- not to mention great holiday cards and gifts for the grandparents. But if you just don't feel like wasting another 15 minutes of your vacation flashing your pearly whites, here are seven ways to get those cruise photographers to leave you alone.
Just Say "No, Thank You"
The easiest way out is to say "No, thank you" or "Maybe next time" and keep on walking. Remember, you have no obligation to take that embarkation-day photo, even if the makeshift studio stands between you and gangway. This tactic works best if you have thick skin, and won't feel guilty about blowing past a hardworking crew member who's just doing his or her job. We can guarantee the photographer won't chase you to your tour bus -- not like real paparazzi -- but they might respond to your no with an entreaty to stop for "just one picture." Cue the guilt.
Run Away and Hide
The coward's approach is to simply avoid making eye contact with the ship photographer at all costs. See that camera headed for your table? Run to the bathroom. Figure out which hallway or central area the photographers take over on formal night, and make sure you head to dinner via a complicated route of traversing cabin areas and going up and down back stairways. If they can't see you, they can't ask to take your mug shot.
Pretend Not to Notice Them
This is the cruise ship equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and saying "la, la, la." Get into a heated discussion with your travel companion every time you have to walk by the photographers, and you won't hear their enjoinders to pose. Put on your headphones at the top of the gangway, and be rocking out to deafeningly loud rock music by the time you're at the bottom where that dressed-up crew member awaits. This strategy doesn't work so well at dinner, though; you can start shoveling tiramisu down your throat or stare intently at your bowl, but the photographer will likely just wait you out.
Position Yourself Strategically
Some cruisers adore posing for photos. (And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!) Position yourself behind these camera hogs, and you're home free. While they mug for the camera, you can safely scoot around them without attracting the photographer's attention. How do you know who loves the camera? Safe bets are families, girlfriend groups and people wearing matching T-shirts.
It's not nice to tell a lie…but sometimes a little white lie can get you out of a sticky situation, especially with overeager camera operators involved. We recommend, "Thanks, but I just had my picture taken by that lady over there" or "I just need to find my boyfriend/kids/parents/best friend, so we can pose together -- back in a minute." Tell them you'll be back once you've powdered your nose, changed into dinnerwear or taken care of that very important Guest Services transaction. Just make sure you don't cross paths with that cruise photographer again, so you don't get caught in your lie.
Throw Your Friend Under the Bus
If you're getting rather desperate, you can always throw your travel companion under the bus. "Have you met Jane? She loves being photographed." Then shove your sorry cabinmate at the photographer and run. You might find your bed short-sheeted or your pillow chocolates stolen by your angry friend or family member, but it's a small price to pay to not have to pose for another photo.
Agree -- Just Once
When all else fails, agree to have your photo taken -- once. Then every other time you see a cruise ship photographer, you can say, "I already posed for a photo, thanks!" No deception, no evasion. You keep your clean conscience and carry on in peace…that is, until the next cruise.