ABOARD chronicles

Simona Bonanno

2012 - Ongoing

ABOARD chronicles take us on a visual journey to witness the fascinating anonymity of this cosmopolitan society floating the seas. Passengers and crew members live on the ships for short or long limited periods: “Traveling across the sea, we are in perpetual motion. Within the pulse of the decks, of the corridors, of the brilliant salons, and of the play of water in pools, everyone loses is own story for finding another one”. These stories come to life in black and white images that tell a surprisingly favourable environment for reflection.

The rhythm on the ship is fascinating: every cycle is carefully marked. One, two weeks for passengers, about 6 months for crews. At every cycle there will be the same people, doing the same things in the same spaces. I thought it was destabilising. On the ship everyone becomes part of the huge mechanism that cycles and renews itself continuously.

After some years my first idea has changed. The cruise ship - a small surface arranged on several decks that balances on the seas - is the densest multi-ethnic container that exists. I observe strangers playing perpetual rules, founding their private spaces in this shared container, playing, loving, laughing, working in this timeless floating place.

The sparkling ship seduces passengers, so the crews is almost invisible. But everything works, exists and seduces because of the crew. They are the mechanism, the pulsating core of the cities on the sea. So the ship, the enormous beast who stole people’s identities, now becomes the perfect stage for telling the perpetual stories.

Each year, European cruise ships transport more than 100,000 passengers to every port in the world. A cruise hosts an average of 6,000 people, including crew members in a space about 400 meters in length by 70 meters in height. In this place that magically floats on the waters, people become a single entity without any connection with their identity or reality.

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  • A technician oversees the daily cleaning of the ship's hull.
    Katakolon, Greece, 2012

  • People in the line to get on board after the excursion at Olympia greek temples.
    Katakolo, Greece, 2015

  • Sailors during the docking operations between the tender and the cruise ship.
    Mykonos, Greece 2017

  • The ship's decks seen from the dock pier.
    La Valletta, Malta, 2017

  • A woman looking at Balearic Islands Archipelago.
    At Sea, 2013.

  • Waiters listening to the cruise director's speech, waiting for serving the cocktails. At sea 2015.

  • Waiters dancing around passengers tables during the dinner service. At sea, 2017

  • A crew member carrying a life vest in the theatre during the Emergency Drill. Since the Costa Concordia wreck in 2012, Emergency Drill for passengers are mandatory every embarkation day of the cruise. Port of Genoa, Italy 2014

  • Passengers playing sudoku during the navigation. At sea 2017.

  • Passengers on the tender during the crossing to reach the island of Mykonos. Mykonos, Greece 2017

  • Passenger relaxing in the spa area while the ship is docked on the Santorini caldera. Cyclades, Greece 2017

  • Crew member shaving a conversation on the dock during a break. Port of Marseille, France 2015

  • A photographer of the cruise ship arranging his equipment after the Embarkation photo session. Naples, Italy, 2014

  • People in the cabin balcons waiting for docking.
    Palma de Mallorca, Spain 2015

  • Crew member changes the light bulbs in the lounge. On board the ships, in addition to the mechanics, there are plumbers, electricians, painters, technicians and
    qualified experts who take care of the daily maintenance of the vessel and fix the unexpected problems that may be encountered during a
    cruise. Port of Valletta, Malta, 2017

  • Old lady having her breakfast In the restaurant. At Sea, 2015

  • Officier gives the hand to a child in the lounge. Navigazione, 2017.

  • Passenger realising in a jacuzzi. At sea, 2017

  • Workers during a break.
    Port of Piraeus, Greece 2017.

  • Leaving the port of Istanbul. Bosphorus Strait, Turkey, 2012.