Firstly, let’s look at why people cruise alone - because they’re lonely, right?...Think again.
When I think about solo travel, I’m always taken back to one of my first cruises aboard Fred. Olsen’s Braemar in the Caribbean. On the first evening, after a couple of sail-away rum punches I was joined by a lady, Ivy, on the dance floor, who proudly told me she had left her husband Frank at home. Poor Frank had two left feet, powered by two rather rickety legs, and although still able, he simply refused to dance. Ivy had listened to too many stories from her cruising friends, and finally after six years of working on Frank, and with her own knees beginning to feel the strain of life, she gave up trying.
There’s always company on the dance floor
Ivy certainly hadn’t given up on her dream of cruising though. She packed her suitcase, leaving Frank at home tending to the garden and headed to the West Indies aboard Fred. Olsen’s Braemar. That evening, she took to the tiles with one of the charming dance hosts, who showed her a thing or two in the tango department. I remember thinking to myself, who was the one missing out?? It certainly wasn’t Ivy, nor Charles, the charming dance host, who was swirling her around like she was a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing.
Not being a dancer myself, and after being shown up by Ivy - the 84-year-old with enviable rhythm, I decided to keep my two left feet firmly planted on the floor and shimmied back to the bar. Here I watched, feeling empowered by the strong will of my fellow cruiser, and I remain so to this day.
So why is cruising such a great option for solo travellers?
Although land-based holidays are great if you travel independently, you really cannot beat a cruise. Most cruise lines do charge a supplement for those who wish to travel solo, however, many have become much more accommodating over the years. Not all experiences are run-of-the-mill as you might expect, and you’re certainly not limited on choice. Hurtigruten, the Norwegian Coastal cruising line offer seasonal voyages, with no single supplements (although these really do sell out like hot cakes, so get in there quickly if you see them). These ships are working vessels that take you deep into the heart of Norway, and stop at some 34 ports of call on a typical 11-night cruise. Hurtigruten is in good company when it comes to great value solo traveller cruising, with UK cruising favourites Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines frequently offering a range of cabin accommodation for solo travellers on voyages all over the world. These solo fares are often the same price as twin fares, and if you book at the right time, you can secure plenty of additional benefits too, such as on board spending money – not to mention the added benefit of handsome dance hosts - if Ivy is willing to share!
Be a social butterfly or enjoy some peace and quiet – it’s your choice
With the option to be as involved with your fellow passengers as you wish, and to dine at the table size of your choice, you will soon discover lifelong friendships that can develop whilst cruising solo. Like Ivy, you’ll surprise yourself by how empowered you feel by leaving loved ones at home tending the garden to explore lands afar. What makes it even better, is with each passing year, more cruise lines are breaking the mould that once left solo travellers feeling disgruntled with their cruise fares.
We know what’s important
Here at ROL Cruise, we’re making solo travel a bigger focus than ever this year, so will be putting more pressure on your favourite cruise lines, asking for them to reduce the supplements and offer added benefits. Our goal is clear; to enable everyone who desires the opportunity to embrace solo travel, in a way it should always have been.
We know that travelling solo is not always about price. Sure, it helps, but we know it’s about much more than that. We go to great lengths to make sure you can visit exciting destinations, embrace your independence, try out a variety of ships (and dancing styles!), and have as much choice as those travelling as a group, without paying over the odds.
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