Cruising by yourself? Ten tips for a great time!
Cruising is a fantastic way of seeing the world and travelling by yourself can be as much (or more!) fun than travelling with others. Whether you’ve already cruised solo or thinking about it for the first time, have a look at our Top 10 Tips for the best time.
1 – Research the right ship
It all starts by looking for the right ship. We can pretty much guarantee that picking a Disney Cruise Line ship would not be ideal for a solo traveller (too many families) but perhaps Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line or Royal Caribbean International would be ideal. All three cruise lines offer solo cabins. However, you have to book quick – there aren’t many per ship. So do your research!
2 – Look for late cruise deals
Unfortunately, cruise lines penalise solo travellers by making them pay for two occupants in each cabin, whilst this can be painful for your bank balance (at least you aren’t charged double gratuities!) there are deals to be had!
Cruise lines generally take bookings well in advance for a small fee. However, around -90 days to the cruise departure the cruise line collects all the remaining outstanding payments from everyone who has booked and at this point people drop out. This is where you need to be like a hawk watching the cruise lines’ website and/or your favourite travel agent. As the date gets nearer, the offers get better and in some instances, they drop the solo traveller surcharge! Which means you just pay for your fare and not an extra 50-100% for your stateroom – amazing!
3 – Let others know when you are going
If you want to find other like-minded solo travellers – then tell others when you are going! We’ve setup a handy cruise chat group on Facebook which you can join and ask any questions (and post your photos and videos if you want!)
There are many other forums across the internet too – but it might be worth looking at the website of the cruise line you are travelling with, some have their own dedicated forums and Holland America Line offer their very own programme for Single Cruisers.
4 – Travel by coach to the port
You might already do this, but travelling by coach can actually be a way to meet fellow cruisers enroute to your ship! Hopefully you’ll get on with your seatmate for the 6hr journey as you travel to the port – if not, swap when the coach stops for a break!
5 – Check the onboard programme
Soon as you board (and each day) take a look at the onboard programme – almost all cruise lines do a solo travellers meetup (generally on a sea day) and they hosted by either the Entertainment Director or someone from the Entertainment Team – usually they are hosted near a bar and the cruise line may even throw in a few (soft) drinks to get you chatting! Don’t be afraid to talk to anyone and you’ve all got something in common already – you love cruising!
6 – Join onboard activities
Whilst looking in the onboard programme for solo meetings – check out other activities that you can do in groups, the majority will be included at no cost in your fare and can include simple things like card games or puzzles, to group walking tours around the ship or even fencing classes on Cunard Line!
7 – Dine with fellow passengers
Dining on cruise ships is a very sociable thing! When you board, just ask the Maitre’D to be placed on a table with other solo travellers or alternatively a large table of 8 or more, you’ll soon end up with new friends after an evening or two dining together! Top tip: Pick the later sitting if possible – mainly families with children eat at the first sitting!
8 – Sit at the bar instead of a table
After dining or perhaps even during a sea day, take a stroll to one of the bars and take up a seat! You can chat to one of the friendly staff who’ll look out for you. You’ll probably find other solo patrons at the bar too. Don’t always sit at a table by yourself, not many other solo travellers would buck up the courage to come join you! Additionally, some cruise ships have a daily ‘pub quiz’ and the host will often group together solo travellers into one team – a perfect way to meet new people without any pressure!
9 – Take a shore excursion or two
If you aren’t planning on exploring the ports by yourself then you should look at booking a shore excursion. The city coach and walking tours might not be the best to meet new friends on, but activities such as kayaking, diving or other group activities will pair you up with people who are like-minded!
10 – Above all, enjoy yourself – make the most of time for you!
It is lovely to meet new people on cruises, whether you are travelling solo or not – but if you are travelling alone, remember to give some time to yourself! There is nothing better than standing at your balcony or on the deck of the ship just gazing across the open seas! Enjoy some fresh air and a walk and perhaps visit the spa for some pampering and relaxation!
So there we go! We hope our Top 10 Tips for Solo Cruising have helped you either go for it if you were on the fence or enlighten you to some new ideas if you have travelled solo before!