Top Tips for Enjoying a Solo Cruise
Tips and Guides,
Cruising solo can be a great way to travel. If you are busy thinking about your next holiday and are debating the idea of going alone, booking a ticket on a cruise is a fantastic option. The ability to see all the places you’ve always wanted without having to think about what friends, partners, and family would want can be liberating, and of course it’s the perfect chance to get some well-deserved ‘me time’. If you like the sound of the idea, make sure you pay attention to the tips below for some advice on how best to enjoy a solo cruise.
Choose the right cruise
As with any holiday, choosing the right is crucial to you enjoying your time away. The good news is that there are a number of that , with lines like , , and all offering single cabins with no supplementary charge for those that want to bunk alone.
Jason Leppert of – a wonderful resource for cruise reviews, behind-the-scenes information, videos, photos and more – spoke to us about choosing the right type of accommodation, highlighting what solo travellers should look out for:
“In seeking a cruise for one, be mindful of solo staterooms. Cunard, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International all have cabins specifically designed for individual travellers without single supplements. Norwegian even offers a studio lounge exclusively for those reserved therein as an added perk. However, these accommodations book up extremely fast, so hop on them as soon as possible.”
If you fancy sharing with another person, a great way to meet new friends during your cruise, Holland America and Fred Olsen both offer the chance to buddy-up with another passenger of the same sex.
Of course, accommodation and price aren’t the only things to consider when planning your solo cruise - you will also want to make sure your cruise holiday stops off at those places you want to visit (remember, you don’t have to compromise now that you are going solo).
Take advantage of group excursions
One thing you will want to make sure is included in your solo cruise is group excursions, as exploring the various destinations with other travellers and those that you have met on-board will be a great way of enhancing each experience. Some cruises will even have group excursions specifically for those that are travelling alone. So if you don’t fancy seeing the sights on-shore with families or would like to spend more time with friends you’ve made on-board, this is a great option.
Make new friends
Speaking of making friends, this is a tip that deserves its own space in this article and comes with some great advice from Nora Dunn, a full-time traveller of the travel blog People travel solo for many reasons; some because of circumstance, some because they enjoy it, and some because they want to meet new people. No matter your reason for cruising solo, making friends while on-board will serve you well.
On this very subject, Nora says: “Although most people imagine cruises being full of couples and groups, it can be a fabulous way to meet new people in a casual, fun atmosphere. Many ships will seat you with a group of people for dinner, and you’ll dine with the same group each night, which gives you a great chance to make new friends in a low-pressure atmosphere.
“Through the rest of the day, don’t be afraid to mingle and attend the organized events. If you don’t connect with certain people, it’s okay - move on; it’s a big ship with lots of different people. Whether cruising or not, it’s actually easier to meet people as a solo traveller than as a couple - so get out there and have some fun!
“I’ve travelled solo around the world (a few times over!). Two of the primary concerns most prospective solo travellers have are around safety and fear of loneliness. As a solo female traveller, safety is only an issue if you don’t use certain street smarts, which I explain in my vlog about . And fear of loneliness is mainly just that - a fear - as it’s pretty easy for even introverts to make friends on the road, as .”
From not having to dine alone (or with strangers), to having someone to have a drink with after dinner, meeting fellow travellers to share these experiences with will enhance your at-sea adventure in a number of ways.
Keeping to yourself and devouring a good book can at times be an attractive proposition, and don’t worry, there will be plenty of time for this during your cruise, but to mix things up a little is never a bad thing. Emrys Thakkar, the editor and founder of (an online resource of cruise advice, news, and information), includes this as his top tip for solo cruisers:
“Many people can be scared to cruise solo but this really shouldn't be the case. I've worked on cruise ships for 8 years and always found solo cruisers to be the most open and fun guests to deal with during the voyage.
“Many cruise lines will be prepared for solo travellers so an important number one tip is when on-board always check the daily activities on the cruise line’s own app, stateroom TV or even the paper schedule. Find things for solo cruisers, this is a great way to meet fellow solo cruisers and hang out on board. Not just that but even events for any type of guest are worth attending, if you become a star at karaoke or in a show everyone will know you during the cruise!
“Another quick note is that cruise lines these days have free messaging apps, this is another great way to connect with other passengers who are cruising solo. In general, when traveling by yourself, always be in the action, don't stay in the background. Make any traveling experience yours, remember people won't come to you, you have to go to them and make your own travel adventure.”
Do what makes you happy
Of course, if you don’t feel like socialising every day or at all and you are just looking forward to seeing some of the world in comfortable surroundings, you should absolutely feel free to do so. After all, this is your holiday, you can do as you please (which includes treating yourself during your travels). This is the exact sentiment shared by Jamie from – a travel enthusiast and cruise writer: “Go with the flow or move to your own beat,” says Jamie, “the beauty of cruising solo is you can be as active or relaxed, sociable or independent as you please. As a solo traveller you benefit from being able to do what makes you happy without much need for compromise, so why not splash out on a luxurious spa treatment or jewellery - there’s no one there to tell you no!”
However, if being a little more social is what will please you most, a cruise is a wonderful chance to do so, as mentioned above by Cruise Hive’s Emrys and further illustrated here by Jamie of Explore With Ed: “There may be moments when you value the company of others, such as over breakfast or an evening tipple - fortunately there’s many opportunities to engage with other solo travellers and holiday makers. For example, cruises like Royal Caribbean often host solo cruiser mixers, dance and cooking classes and sports competitions which are a great way to connect with others without it feeling forced.”
Request to be seated with other solo travellers at dinner
“If you're dining alone in the dining room, offer to share your table. You'll meet a lot of people, and avoid feeling like the odd man out.” This is advice from Paul of the travel blog and resource known as and it is advice that may very well become useful during your solo travels.
Dinner can come to be something solo travellers tend to worry about - after all, not many want to dine alone. The good news is that many lines let you request to be seated with other solo travellers at dinner, providing a great chance to have some nice conversation and share the day’s experiences.
Regarding dinner time aboard your cruise, Paul also mentions how this can lead to further adventures with your eating companions: “Look for a solo cruisers' get-together on your ship. Most cruise lines offer them these days - on a recent Norwegian cruise, the ship had a gathering every evening and the group went to dinner together. Then group members teamed up for excursions to share costs.”
Make use of the quieter spots to focus on you
Setting off for a solo cruise is of course a wonderful opportunity to focus on you, no matter your reason for travelling alone. This can be your chance to centre yourself after a busy period of work or think about things in your life away from the stresses of your normal day to day. Cruise ships can be pretty massive so make sure to find somewhere away from the crowd and read the book you’ve been meaning to, write in your journal, and enjoy the refreshing sea air.
Make friends with the staff
Beyond becoming friendly with your fellow travellers, making friends with the staff is always a good idea. Be polite, courteous and friendly, especially to a stressed member of your cruise’s staff, as this will reap benefits down the road. Don’t be afraid to tip the barman generously and let it be known that you are a traveller that appreciates their hard work.
As mentioned, cruises are a very safe environment but outside of this contained and controlled area, for example during onshore excursions, thinking about your safety is important. Beyond using your common sense and doing some research to avoid a city’s less safe areas, solo travellers should always err on the side of caution. For example, try and avoid walking back to your ship alone at night, instead either follow others back or hire a taxi. Be careful, be smart, and be prepared, and you will have no need to worry.