Solo travel and cruising are made for each other. This increasingly popular getaway plan is the perfect way to unwind and learn more about the world, as well as yourself. However, with tradition dictating couples cruising as the norm, many people often feel self-conscious or apprehensive about embarking on a solo voyage.
In this article, we are going to look at some of the best ways you can embrace your solo cruise and get the most out of your trip.
We spoke to Sherry Laskin, an advocate of exploring the world without flying, known online as the Cruise Maven. Sherry often spends at least 2 months of the year onboard cruise ships travelling all around the world. We asked Sherry for a few of her favourite things about cruising solo:
“I have several favourites:
1. I don’t have to do any planning except for what I want to do. No more “What shore excursions do you want to take?” “I don’t know…what do you want to do?”
2. I can use all the bathroom space for my toiletries
3. The TV can be on any channel I want to watch
4. No one to wake me up to go to the bathroom or from snoring
5. It’s a seemingly endless list…mostly selfish reasons!”
Sherry also gave us some tips for anyone who is planning to travel solo:
1. Get ready for an adventure
2. You’re on your own and can do whatever you feel like doing, whenever you want. No one to answer to or worry about what to do next
3. Travel as light as possible if there’s a chance that you’ll have to haul your luggage after or before the cruise. One 22-24” four-wheel spinner is good, plus a smaller tote to slip over the handle or a rolling spinner computer-size suitcase
4. ALWAYS keep your phone 100% charged and give folks back home a printed copy of your itinerary - ports as well as pre-or post-cruise city stays
5. Sometimes, longer shore excursions equate to making new friends, so give one of those all-day excursions a try
6. If you’re really adventurous, stop by at one of the solo traveller’s meet-ups on ships. Sometimes they also have dinner get-togethers. If you don’t like doing that, no one is going to force you to return.
The dinner conundrum
A lot of people’s solo travel hesitations come down to one thing, is it weird for me to eat dinner alone? The simple answer: no!
Dining solo is usually a person’s final barrier to overcome before they declare themselves an ‘independent’. But, gone are the days of restaurants and bars only being the location for heated dinner conversation and loving stares over candlelight. Solo travellers are learning to embrace their own company and proudly ask for a table for one when arriving at a restaurant, and a cruise ship is the perfect place to dine solo.
With the increasing number of solo travellers taking to cruise ships, you can be sure you won’t be the only one. So, if you’d rather put some headphones in and listen to some music whilst you enjoy your meal, or people watch at the bar, then so be it.
If you have come stag and would like some dinner conversation, you can always ask your maitre d’ whether there are any other solo diners, or groups, who may appreciate some extra company and they’ll be sure to help you out in any way they can.
We spoke to Sherry about this, who gave us her advice: “This can be tricky. With fixed dining ALWAYS ask for the largest table. Then on the first night, when one of the waiters guides you to your table, be ready to make a hasty walk-by if a. It’s mostly couples. b. You get a feeling that this might not be where you want to sit for the duration.
“My Time Dining is a good option, but there’s a chance you won’t really make any lasting friendships since, most likely, it’s only temporary. When in doubt, head to the Lido Buffet. Alternative dining options are a guaranteed table for one and avoids any complications (just be sure to make a reservation).
“If sitting alone and you’re fidgety, bring something to read or do at the table. From a crossword puzzle to a book, it can be your crutch to get used to solo dining. When there’s unlimited or free Wi-Fi, bring your phone.”
Be liberated by your independence. Meander around the decks of your ship and follow your interest. If you want to get up at the break of dawn to watch the sunset rise over the ocean then you can go ahead and do that, you don’t need to worry about waking anybody. If you want to spend your afternoon by the pool, then that’s what you can do.
Make friends if you want (but don’t if you don’t)
You’d be surprised how many people will also be looking to meet people on a cruise ship, even those who aren’t travelling solo. Cruise lines offer brilliant itineraries of on-board classes, events and entertainment great for meeting people. They almost always make sure some of these are geared towards people meeting one another as well, so these are a brilliant place to start.
A great suggestion if you are looking to meet people, is to create calling cards. These can include your name, phone number and perhaps your stateroom number. Cruise ships are big, and sometimes you can get lost in a crowd and even with the best of intentions not be successful in meeting up with someone you hit it off with. Giving them a calling card will ensure they have your details and can make it easier for you to regroup!
It's always worth remembering if you don’t want to make friends, you don’t need to. The chances of you ever seeing anyone on your ship again (if you don’t want to) is slim, and if you’re happy to be sat squirrelled away in a book or with your headphones in listening to your favourite album, then you do you!
Cruising solo isn’t the same as cruising single
Solo cruising isn’t just for singles, and singles cruising isn’t just for solos. Although we aren’t saying you won’t meet the love of your life on your holiday, that’s not the only reason people are turning to solo cruising.
Maybe you are just looking for some me-time and have left a loved one at home, or maybe you are hoping to meet the love of your life. Whatever the reason, you’ll be sure to have a good time. A cruise can offer you some personal time and space, with the option of hundreds of other like-minded travellers all in the same place.
Having your own room rocks
Having your own space rocks. Especially if your solo expedition is away from a partner or roommate, suddenly the free space will really let you feel like you can kick back and relax. Line all of your toiletries up along the sink, unpack completely, and use all the plug sockets at once, the world really is your oyster!
As well as having the freedom to do whatever it is you want in your room, it’s also a great space to unwind and reflect. Often, holidays of any kind can have overwhelming moments, seeing something you never thought you’d see, meeting new people, experiencing different cultures. Lying in a quiet room at the end of the day and being able to process the new fantastic memories you have made is a great way to unwind and really embrace the life journey you’ve embarked on.
People may not get it, but that’s okay
A lot of people won’t understand solo travel at all, and that’s okay. Many people are not brave enough to explore the world alone or have just always had the perfect travel companion to do so. Don’t let this discourage you, just because someone doesn’t understand what you are doing doesn’t make it wrong.
Beating solo supplements
Solo travel is becoming more and more popular in recent years, with people’s wanderlust growing it was only a matter of time before everyone takes exploring the world into their own hands. Unfortunately, this was not always the case, and the stereotype of a couple holidaying together, or two friends has meant that there can be supplements for single travellers.
Luckily, a lot of cruise lines are now wising up to this new trend and have started to offer exclusive solo deals. Knowing that an increasing number of people are looking to take the world on alone they have ensured these people can also look at getting a great deal on their room.
So, if solo cruising sounds like something you may be interested in, and you are ready to take the leap we have a great selection of cruise deals offers, so now all you need to do is decide where you want to go!