Going Solo: Top Ten Tips for Solo Cruising
March 13, 2015
Holidaying alone can be daunting, especially if you’re used to having someone to help you plan, book and enjoy your time away. Cruising however is the perfect solution. With everything arranged for you, from excursions to meals, to activities, all you have to do is decide what your dream cruise consists of and go. It’s also easy to find company on a cruise ship, should you wish. As a contained ‘resort on the water’ with lots of group activities and excursions to sign up for, you’re bound to meet likeminded people who are, quite literally, in the same boat.
At www.CRUISE.co.uk we want you to have the very best time onboard, whether you’re going solo or in a party of ten. Here are our top ten tips for an amazing solo cruise:-
1 – The Right Ship
Choosing the right ship is probably the most important thing when it comes to having a great solo cruise, so turn off the TV, grab a brew and spend a bit of time researching the differences between liners. Just like people, cruise ships come in all shapes and sizes and when it comes to solo cruising good things really do come in small packages. Choosing a smaller liner means that you’re likely to bump into the same people throughout your holiday, rather than being a face in a crowd of five thousand other swimsuit-wearing, camera wielding passengers. The only downside to this is that it’s harder to avoid someone if you make a ‘friend mistake’ early on in the week. You did pack your fake nose and moustache, right?
2 – The Right Cruise
Or, more importantly, the right cruise for you. Think about what balance of at sea days and excursions would make up your perfect holiday – after all, the beauty of solo cruising is that you can suit yourself. Whichever option you prefer, check that there’s a ‘group focus’ i.e. lots of group activities for sea days and group excursions in port rather than a ‘meet back at the ship at 6pm’ type jobbie. That is assuming that you do want to meet people on holiday. If you’re actually quite looking forward to a relaxing time enjoying your own company then forget the above and look for the exact opposite!
3 – Scrap the Single Supplement
The dreaded single supplement is a real thorn in the otherwise rosy world of solo cruising. Booking a double cabin to yourself could cost exactly that – double! – So try to avoid that unless your surname is Branson, Gates or Zuckerberg (in which case, why not hire the whole ship and be done with it?). If you’re not on the Forbes Billionaires List just yet look for cruises that have plenty of single cabins going begging. The more single cabins, the more singles for you to mingle with! Fred Olsen cruises are great for those going solo, with around two hundred single cabins across the fleet. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Epic boasts a massive one hundred and twenty-eight single ‘studios’ (with dedicated studio ‘social’ area for easier mingling!) and 25% of Saga Cruises’ cabins are single!
4 – Share with a Stranger
If your cruise ship of choice doesn’t have single cabins available (boo!) there’s no need to throw in the beach towel just yet. Why not consider sharing with a fellow solo cruiser? Risking getting stuck with a snorer isn’t for everyone but it means that you get the cruise that you want, without paying extra and you’ve got an instant best friend onboard (hopefully). Holland America actually runs a Single Partners Share Programme to make finding a bedroom buddy easier. Just be sure to pack earplugs just in case!
5 – Speak Up
One of the easiest ways to meet people on a solo cruise is to approach the cruise director and let them know that you’d like to meet other singles. They know the ship better than anyone and even if they can’t arrange direct introductions they’ll be able to point you to the very best places to meet your fellow solo cruisers. If there’s a sing-along hour in the piano bar for example that can break the ice and get you talking to what will hopefully be new (and tuneful!) friends.
6 – Get Involved
Throwing yourself into the social scene on the ship can be scary at first but the payback is a brilliant time trying out lots of new activities and experiences with newfound friends so it’s definitely worth being brave. Just bite the bullet, sign up to anything you like the look of, smile and make friendly conversation. It’s likely you’ll be having so much fun that people will be naturally attracted to finding out more about you.
7 – Join the Group
One of the things that makes cruising great for solo travellers is that so much of life onboard is geared towards the ‘group’. Take full advantage. Sign up to group activities and excursions that interest you – and if you make a friend ask what else they are signed up to. Remember, other singles are likely to be looking for company too, so don’t be shy. Conversely, if someone shows no interest in being your companion for the week, don’t take it personally. Check your breath; curse them in your head and move on to someone friendlier.
8 – Dinner Party
Ask to be seated with other singles at dinner – friends are easily made over a glass of wine or two. Bear in mind that families will often choose the earlier dinner sittings, so avoid the 6pm service unless you want to be dining in a sea of parents with their sticky-fingered under ten’s. Dine later for companions who don’t need a bib (unless they hit the pre-dinner drinks a little too heavily!) and don’t be shy to ask where people are moving on to after the coffee liquors and After Eights.
9 – Calling Cards
Consider having some calling cards made up with your name, mobile number and maybe even your cabin number on – you can have this done cheaply online at places like Moo.com. This saves the awkward scrabble for a pen and paper when trying to make arrangements with new friends.
10 – Be Selfish
It’s natural to be apprehensive about holidaying alone but having only yourself to please on holiday can actually turn out to be a real joy, so grab the opportunity to be really, truly, gleefully selfish with both hands. This is your time to do exactly as you wish so if you find that following the above advice leaves you lumbered with travel companions that mean you have to make compromises, don’t be scared to ditch them immediately, discount all of the above and spend your cruise wallowing in the bliss of suiting no one but yourself.
Interested in cruising on your own?
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