I know this gripe has been griped before... but never have I seen it to such an extent as I did on my last cruise, Carnival's Imagination on 5/8.
Our oceanview room overlooked the gangway when we were docked at Cozumel, and I happened to look out the window before we left to go ashore. There were no less than FIVE photo stops with costumed characters with whom to take passengers' pictures. Two "Aztecs" at the gangplank, a mariachi a few feet down the pier, a Mexican lady in traditional dress a few feet after that, and a Carnival funnel character near that, plus a photographer for each. Note that all these characters and photographers were in a barricaded area about ten feet by fifteen feet.
It was like running a gauntlet. I watched as people tried to make their way past these characters, but often they were literally pulled aside and forced to stop and have their picture taken. Sure, there were folks who stopped at each character to take a picture, but that was the exception. Most people looked annoyed at being forced to stop for so many pictures. And if a person walked by, the character and the photographer would often follow them a few feet to try and get them to come back. The characters were constantly grabbing and touching people to get them to stop and take their pictures.
The only thing this accomplished was holding up the line for debarkation and clogging up the barricaded debarkation area. I could understand one or two photo stops, but five? Was that really necessary? It just seemed like a way for Carnival to try to increase photo revenues by making sure no one escapes the ships' photographers.
Not only that, but someone had to be taken off the ship by ambulance while all this was going on, and the ambulance pulled up into the picture-taking area, making the space smaller. But the characters continued to take pictures! They weren't in the way of the ambulance staff, but I could tell that there would be many photos with a unique ambulance backdrop by which to remember one's cruise. How ridiculous!
We were docked next to the RCI Monarch of the Seas and they only had two characters to take pictures with. That seemed much more reasonable.
I don't mind one or two debarkation photos, but this seemed excessive.
Land Cruise, Britain and Belgium
Now posting as MichelleP.
I think digital cameras are cutting into the onboard photographers' business. Lots of people were lining up to take their own pictures at the reception lines, Captain's cocktail party, etc. I had a talk with the ship's photographer on Marco Polo during my last cruise and he said everything had to be discounted sharply. Wait until the end of your cruise and try to make a deal, if you want to buy the ship photos.
Michelle, I noticed that on our last cruise also. Esp when we came into Puerto Vallerta, there were several, no numerous characters there for photos and they were all rather pushy too. I like the formal pics but when you want to get on land at a port I don't want to be bothered.
I believe the No Thank You works for me too. I like Carnival and have never been pressured into buying any pictures yet. Dont buy them ! Just that simple. By pass the pics when getting off the ship. I never had a problem with this at all.
Umm I think most of us do say "no thank you" but it sometimes still does not stop them from trying! Like I said previously I don't mind it on the ship and no I don't have to buy unless I want too but it is a nuisance when you want to get on land and have to try and bypass all the people trying to take pictures.
Wow - someone touching and grabbing at me to stop for a photo would have creeped me out. Sometimes I think it's fun to stop and goof around with the costumed people and take some silly pictures - but - not when I am trying to get somewhere - as most people are when they leave the ship!
Other posters are correct - a simple "no thanks" doesn't always work - especially if they out-rank me in size- I'm a spineless pushover sometimes and have a hard time saying no twice - I cave in, then I just feel annoyed. I need to grow a few inches - and a spine? <g> lol
I know these people are doing the job they were hired to do - so I don't place the blame with them - but with the cruise line. Of course they stand to make a lot of money off those pictures.... sheesh, the ambulance trying to transport a patient - that is scary. I'm sure everyone who ended up with the ambulance as a backdrop really wanted that special memory! <g>
booking soon - 10th anniversary cruise in August....