Going on holiday on your own can be an extremely daunting experience – it’s really scary, you’ll probably wonder if you’ll be safe, and whether you’ll have anyone to talk to!
A cruise is a great option for solo travellers, and in fact this is a really growing segment of the cruise market. More and more cruise lines are catering for solo cruise travellers now, by offering solo cabins, restricted areas for solo use only, low or no supplement for different cruises, and solo meetups on board. So it really doesn’t have to be expensive to cruise alone – in fact there are some great bargains to be had, especially if you can be flexible when you travel.
Lots of resources are available for solo travellers, such as specialist travel agents, Facebook groups, online forums. These can all make it easier to plan your cruise. One of my favourites is a UK based agent called Passion for Cruises – who also have a lively Facebook group and a newly launched YouTube channel!
Solo travellers aren’t all single; some have partners that don’t want to cruise, or can’t take leave at the same time as them. Even if they are single, they aren’t necessarily looking for romance – but friendships are often made on board!
It’s a great opportunity to visit multiple locations – and you are travelling with thousands of others in an enclosed environment. I certainly felt very safe when I cruised with P & O Cruises on Azura in September 2022. It was my first cruise, and I had an amazing time.
You can please yourself
If you have a holiday destination in mind, but your partner or friends don’t want to travel there, if there’s a cruise that goes there it’s a great way to go to a place you’ve always wanted to visit. So many times I’ve heard people say ‘I really want to go on a cruise but my partner doesn’t’. Well – you don’t have to! Why should you miss out on going somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit just because someone else doesn’t want to go there?
And in fact, that leads me onto another great reason to cruise solo – you can please yourself where you go, and what you do. I was able to suit myself; in the day I’d either get off the ship and wander around wherever we’d docked, lie on a sunbed soaking up the rays or find an activity to do on board. I didn’t have to consider what anyone else wanted to do and fit in with their plans. In the evening, I had dinner at the same time and at the same table most nights, so a friendship developed between me and some of the other lady solo travellers. We’d often go to a show together after the meal, or for a few drinks. But it was up to me what I wanted to do!
If you don’t want to, you don’t even have to get off the ship in port. You can choose to stay on board if that feels safer to you, or you don’t want to tour a port on your own. However, taking a cruise-organised excursion can be a great way to experience destinations more safely – you’re picked up from and taken back to the ship, and you’re travelling with other passengers on your cruise. Because it’s a cruise-organised excursion, if there is an issue during the trip (for example, you get stuck in traffic) the ship will wait for your return. They won’t wait if you’ve gone off and done your own thing!
Lots of opportunities to meet people
There will probably be solo meetups on board, where you can meet other solo travellers and maybe even find someone to go on an excursion with. You can arrange to meet up for drinks, or for dinner. Or you can choose not to go – I didn’t go to any meetups on my first cruise, but I got to know lots of people on board (solos and couples) as people are very friendly and will chat to you. At dinner I sat with other solo travellers, and we became friends; also doing excursions together, going to dinner at the speciality restaurants and meeting up for drinks. Solo cruises can be a great way to meet like-minded people and become friends for life!
Trying new activities
Cruises have a huge range of activities and entertainment on board, which you can choose whether to join in with or not. No-one will know you – so what does it matter if you feel embarrassed? You’ll never see these people again, and you could end up finding a new hobby! But you have the option as to whether to do something, or not. Entirely your choice! It’s a great opportunity to try something new – and there really can be a huge variety of activities, from ballroom dancing to art classes, quizzes to vocal workshops, fitness classes to deck games.
Depending on the cruise line, you will meet a wide variety of ages – cruising isn’t only for the older generation now, lots of younger people and families also do it. Obviously, if you do a cruise with a line like Saga, you will be in the company of older people as they only allow over-fifties to book (although they can take a companion over 40). This might be attractive to you if you’re in an older age bracket and want to be in the company of others of similar age. Some cruise lines may attract a younger age profile, such as Carnival, but honestly, I don’t think age really matters! The key thing on a cruise (or any holiday) is to go with a positive attitude and be willing to talk to people.
Once you’ve accomplished your first solo cruise, you will feel a huge sense of achievement – and you may be like me and get hooked on cruising!