A new update to Royal Caribbean's app could save you time waiting in line on your cruise ship.
Souvenir photos have long been a cornerstone of the cruise ship experience, where passengers pose in front of backdrops with the ship's photographer to possibly purchase a print or digital download later.
Royal Caribbean's app now has a photos option on at least one ship that could make reviewing these photos much easier.
RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader and forum moderator Lovetocruise2002 spotted the new icon while sailing on Wonder of the Seas.
It's not clear which ships support this new feature in the app. It's not uncommon for some ships to support certain app features.
When you click the icon, photos you've taken that have been tagged by facial recognition appear in the app.
Guests can favorite the photo by clicking the heart icon, which makes it easier to spot the best photos later for ordering.
In testing on Wonder, Lovetocruise2002 reported guests would still need to go to the photo area if you had purchased a photo package.
Providing copies in the app potentially saves time for guests, as they no longer need to go to the photo station to review photos.
Not only is there only one area on the ship to go to review photos, but the photo area becomes inundated with other guests on the final day who all want to see how their photos came out.
Royal Caribbean has taken steps to speed up this process over the years, including going to digital copies instead of prints, utilizing facial recognition to group photos quicker, and adding more photo kiosks.
The app could potentially reduce demand for kiosks.
Cruise fans seem to love the new approach. LandstromCruise wrote on the Royal Caribbean Blog message boards, "This will be so much easier than running to the crowded photo area to try and view them. This will make my wife happy! "
Jax also liked it, "This makes me very happy. I suggested improving this process on my post cruise survey last time."
asquared17 also likes how much more convenient this new option is, "This takes out a lot of the guess work when it comes to finding out which ones we will keep!"
Is a photo package worth it?
You could buy individual photos on your cruise, or buy a photo package that includes unlimited prints or digital downloads. But is this a good investment?
Given that a single 8x10 print will cost about $20, a package sounds like a more affordable way to get more for your dollar.
The price of a photo package will vary from ship to ship, but prices for an upcoming Independence of the Seas cruise are:
- 5 photos: $79.99
- 10 photos: $127.99
- 20 photos: $174.99
- 50 photos: $209.99
The photo package will include any photo that you, or anyone else from your cabin, are in the photo. Meaning, as long as someone from your cabin is in the photo, it could be included in your photo package. If you have multiple cabins booked, you'd need another photo package for people in those cabins (unless someone from your cabin happens to be in their photo).
Just like Royal Caribbean drink packages, if you take the time to get enough photos for your photo package, it could be a great investment.
There are photo stations set up around the ship each evening, along with photographers on the dock when you disembark the ship.
In order to get enough photos for the package to make financial sense, you'll need to coordinate your plans so that you have time to stop for at least a few photos each evening.
The evening photographers are the main draw to souvenir photos, and they're only around in the evening right around dinner time. Lines can sometimes be quite long for photos, especially on formal night.
While you could certainly take your own photos, many guests enjoy the fun backdrops you can only find at the photo stations. Moreover, the photographers have above average cameras, professional lighting, and do a good job of positioning everyone to produce great looking results.
One issue with the photo package is if you're traveling with a large group. While a photo package for a family staying in the same cabin makes sense, photo packages for groups spread across multiple rooms can make things quite pricey. So either your friends and family also buy a photo package, or only you come home with the printed memories.
If you want to get a photo package, always pre-purchase before the cruise to save money. There's almost always a discount offered online, and it makes a difference.
You'll also want to plan your day around getting photos taken, so you can get the best value out of the cost. This sounds easy while you're still at home, but there's so much happening on a cruise, you'd be surprised how difficult it can be to muster the motivation to get everyone dressed and ready for photos every day.