Ship will also check the following: lady's handbag (no matter how small they are, point and shoot cameras case, back packs, shopping bag etc. If you are being brother by that, may be you should not go on a cruise.Checking camera bag on/off the ship is no big deal, they just X-ray it. Getting on shore depends on the port. some does nothing, some x-ray the whole bag. So far I have never been asked to open the bag under any condition. One poster mentioned taking pictures before and after sun set on the Greek Islands. You have a slim to none chance. Usually ships docks after the sun rise and sails before 6 pm.
It's mostly no big deal, but it can be. Especially if you're with kids and people behind you are impatient. At the very least, it adds a bit of stress because you are going through security checks. Then again, I'm fairly bothered by that sort of stuff, but others may not be.
LOL. Maybe you're right. Maybe I am a shady looking character, but they seemed to go through my bag the most. My wife didn't bring a purse once she realized she could put all her stuff into my camera bag.
Depending on the port, having a big camera bag is definitely more hassle. I don't know how anyone could argue it's not. Now whether it's a lot, is purely a subjective thing.