Instagram is an increasingly popular way to share the exciting and precious moments of your cruise with family, friends, and the world at large. The photo sharing application has skyrocketed over the past year, surpassing Twitter and Facebook as the fastest growing social platform. Holland America Line’s Instagram is a great place to look for travel inspiration and reminisce about your time onboard. If you’re not familiar with Instagram, don’t worry! Take a look at some of Holland America Line’s tips and favorite Instagram posts and you’ll be an expert in no time.
1. CHOOSE A HANDLE
The first step to sharing on Instagram is to download the application on your smartphone and choose a username. Your username — or handle, like they call it on CB radios — will be preceded by the “@” symbol. You can access Instagram from a desktop, but it has limited capabilities. It’s best to use your smart phone to view and post photos. Best practice is to choose a fun and simple name that friends and family can easily find and remember. For example, Holland America Line’s handle is @HALcruises. If you’ve got a unique first and last name, use it! If someone else reserved your name before you had a chance, try incorporating a hobby, interest or location-based username.
2. FIND FRIENDS AND FAMILY
If you’re already on Facebook, Instagram will import your friends list, and you will have the opportunity to select who you would like to “follow” on Instagram. If not then you can ask family and friends for their handles and search for them using the navigation function, the icon that looks like a compass. Don’t forget to follow Holland America Line, @HALcruises! Look for more suggestions of some of Holland America Line’s friends, beautiful travel accounts and the Dancing With the Stars: At Sea gang at the bottom of this post.
3. PICK A HASHTAG
“Hashtags” are Instagram labels. To familiarize yourself search a popular hashtag like “#cruise” in the navigation screen and you’ll see all of the photos tagged “cruise” from around the world, in real time. It’s a great way to connect with users that have common interests, explore an upcoming destination, or simply browse pretty pictures. Do you want friends and family to follow along with your voyage? Choose a unique hashtag, share it with them and use it to label each Instagram photo you take along the way. At the conclusion of your journey you can look back at your collection of photos by searching the hashtag. Keep in mind you can add as many or as few hashtags to a photo as you please. You can also follow along with current events by searching their hashtag, for instance, we just found a great photo shared by @dabassiousjp taken as ms Amsterdam transited the Panama Canal by searching #GrandWorldVoyage!
4. SHARE THE MOMENT
That beautiful sunset on the open sea, the massive iguana you spotted at shore, and the look on your cruising companions’ face when the crew sang “Happy Birthday” — these are all moments you can share on Instagram. You can snap a photo directly from the application, or use your regular camera function on your phone and upload the picture later. Using the regular camera function can be advantageous because you can take a few shots and then decide which is best. After all, those sunsets don’t last forever!
7. EDIT AWAY
Once you’ve selected the photo you want to share hit “next” and you’ll be met with a lot of fantastic options to edit or enhance the image. Filters can create cool effects, and brighten or sharpen an already great shot. The editing process is easy but takes a little bit of practice so feel free to play around and remember, nothing is finalized until you hit “share” and publish. Even then you’re able to go back, delete a photo and try again.
6. TAG FRIENDS, FAMILY & HOLLAND AMERICA LINE!
Tag your friends and family using their handles! They can be in the photo, or it can just be a photo that you think they would particularly enjoy. People often tag @HALcruises in their favorite vacation shots whether a ship is in the picture or not. It’s often just a way of letting someone know you were thinking of them, that they were a part of that particular memory, or that they were there in spirit!
7. JOIN THE CONVERSATION
Do you see something you like? Hit the heart icon to let the user know! Or add a comment to join the conversation. The best way to get someone’s attention in the comments is to tag them when chatting. For instance, in the post below user @raquelderichs reached out to Holland America Line saying,
“@halcruises hello. I’m a veteran cruiser and cruise professional. Just got back from the New Year’s cruise aboard the MS Eurodam. Had not cruised aboard the Eurodam since Dec of 2012 – great to be back and oh my she still looked brand new!”
Interaction makes Instagram more fun, so go ahead and chat with family, friends, and even your favorite Dancing With the Stars at Sea participants! Instagram is a direct line!
8. DON’T OVERDO IT
Sharing is caring, but don’t forget to take time to get out from behind the camera and survey your surroundings! Instagram is great for sharing snippets of your trip, not a play by play. Unlike other social media platforms, other users cannot opt in and out of your posts, so if you post 10 photos at once, you are dominating their feed. The most successful Instagram posters maintain a bit of mystique in their journey and are selective with their shots, posting the best of the best. When you look back at your Instagram profile it should look like a beautifully curated photo album. And remember, Instagram doesn’t mean your camera is obsolete! Visit the techsperts onboard at Holland America Line’s Digital Workshop Powered by Windows for tips on editing and sharing the rest of your vacation photos!
So, are you ready to get started? Here’s a list of fun accounts Holland America Line recommends checking out that focus on cruise, travel, and Dancing With the Stars at Sea!
@HALcruises – that’s us!
@CruiseCritic – the world’s largest online cruise resource.
@PortholeCruise – Porthole Cruise Magazine’s Instagram account.
@chriscruises – travel writer from Florida that beautifully documents his cruises on Instagram.
@PopularCruising – the leader in video cruise reviews.
@natgeo – National Geographic’s beautiful Instagram account for travel inspiration.
@travelbreak – a fun account that connects travelers and shares your photos!
@glaciernps – Glacier National Park is on Instagram!
@sydney – the official Instagram account of Sydney, Australia, HAL guests’ top “bucketlist” destination.
@visitgreecegr – The official page of Greece’s National Tourism Board.
@artemchigvintse – The Dancing with the Stars pro that takes to the sea!
@carsonkressley – TV Personality and Dancing with the Stars MC extraordinaire.
@kymjohnson1 – Dancing with the Stars – at sea and on TV!
@sharnaburgess – Another lovely Dancing with the Stars at Sea pro who shares fabulous photos.
Do you have more Instagram tips to share? Let us know in the comments!