Melanie Gaissmaier - Marketing Manager Melanie in an interview about her adventures as an on-board photographer on cruise ships

"We have the pleasure today to speak with our marketing manager and photographer Melanie Gaissmaier, who worked on the high seas for three years as an on-board photographer on the cruise ships of the 'Mein Schiff' fleet. Her fascinating journey took her into the world of adventure, Cultures and breathtaking landscapes - a time in which she combined her passion for photography and travel in a unique way. Melanie will tell us about her experiences today."

Hello Melanie, before we let go and find out more about your exciting time on board a large cruise ship. Can you tell us what photography means to you in general, how long you've been photographing and what you like to have in front of your lens the most.

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  • How did you decide to work as an on-board photographer on a cruise ship? Was there a special moment or inspiration that made you do this?
    It has been clear to me for a long time that I would like to experience something extraordinary after my studies. The opportunity to advance professionally, develop personally and at the same time discover the world was simply unbeatable and I am so happy to have experienced this time.


  • What does a normal working day as a photographer on board a cruise ship look like?
    Ordinarily there is no such thing! Every day looks different, depending on, for example, which country you are docking in and of course what tasks you have to do that day. Most mornings and lunchtimes I was on land, accompanying the guests on an excursion with my camera. Then we went back on board to further process the photos so that they could be sold straight away in the evening. In the evening I could be found either in the on-board fitness studio or with my colleagues in the CrewBar.
  • What routes did you take during your time at sea as a photographer?
    In my first contract I went straight to the beautiful Caribbean. Later I had the opportunity to get to know the USA, Canada, Central America as well as the Baltic Sea and Scandinavia.
  • Was your photography equipment provided by the organizer or did you have to have your own equipment with you?
    I was responsible for my own equipment, which I found very practical. This meant you knew straight away how to use the equipment and didn't have to adjust to the new environment as well as how to operate new equipment, which can often backfire.
  • What was your most unforgettable experience or encounter during your time as an on-board photographer on the cruise ship “Mein Schiff”? Is there a story that particularly sticks in your mind?
    Phew, there are a few... Spending Christmas on the beach in Barbados was incredibly great, as was watching whales and dolphins from the ship or discovering Times Square at night. What I miss most are the Caribbean nights when you went to the crew deck after work - which is right at the front of the ship - and watched shooting stars from there all night long.
  • What was your free time like on the high seas and on land? What were your favorite activities to do?
    My free time usually consisted of 3 things: sleeping, doing laundry or exploring the island/city. Since you don't have a day off on board, it sometimes happens that you prefer to take a short nap before getting back into your uniform. But mostly I tried to spend my free time with my colleagues. Sometimes we explored the island in a rental car, took part in crew excursions or simply went to a nice restaurant and had a good time.
  • Tell us something about your accommodation? Was the comfort sufficient and how big was your cabin?
    At first it might sound strange when I say that my cabin was about 2x3 meters in size. But it's actually more than enough, as you really only stay here to sleep and freshen up. My bathroom was between me and my neighboring cabin, so it was shared between two people.
  • Life at sea can be challenging. What extreme situations or difficult moments have you experienced and how did you overcome them? Was there a situation that particularly stood out?There is actually a situation, but it did not happen on the Mein Schiff fleet. (I worked on a smaller ship for a few months.) Unfortunately, I had to witness how a passenger decided to fall overboard during a crossing. After a long and difficult search in the middle of a storm with very high waves, we unfortunately had to abandon the search without success. In situations like this you really notice that the crew is a well-coordinated team and everyone can rely on each other - whether professionally or privately.
  • You had the opportunity to explore different cultures and places. Which cultural discoveries or landscapes left a lasting impression on you, and why?
    Every place has its own magic. But I particularly liked the landscapes in Norway and Canada because of their impressive nature. What I found fascinating in almost every place was how helpful and open the people there are - regardless of whether they are rich or poor.
  • How has your time as an onboard photographer changed your perspective on the world and photography? Are there any specific techniques or perspectives that you developed during this time that are reflected in your own photography?
    I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with a professional photographer. I learned a lot of tips and tricks from her about image composition and, above all, how to deal with people in front of the camera, which makes me much more confident and self-confident today. Today she is one of my best friends.
  • How many passengers were accommodated on your ship, were you able to make many contacts and did many friendships develop during your time on the ship?
    There were between 1,900 and 2,900 passengers on board. Many international friendships were formed, especially within the crew, which I still maintain today.
  • To what extent has your work as an on-board photographer helped you personally and professionally?
    I was able to develop a lot professionally, but above all I grew personally. Before my adventure I was a shy girl, today I am more confident and know how to deal with difficult situations.
  • What symbol, sign, word, image or sound comes to mind immediately when you look back on your time at sea?
    On the one hand it is the ship's typhoon and the Great Freedom Hymn, which sound as soon as you leave the harbor and on the other hand of course the classic anchor!

"Melanie Gaissmaier, your stories as an onboard photographer on the Mein Schiff fleet are inspiring and fascinating. Your passion for photography and the way you have linked it to your travel experiences is truly remarkable. We would like to thank you very much for this insight your world and we are very happy to have you on our team.


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