A dilemma many travel-lovers face is having no one to go traveling with. Maybe you are single or have a partner that can’t get time off of work. Going alone can seem like a scary option. Will you be lonely? Is it safe?
A popular new option for travelers who want to test out the “traveling alone” waters, without jumping in head first, is to book a cruise. Cruises look very attractive to the hesitant, first-time solo traveler. You have your itinerary laid out for you, you know that there will be a ship doctor and staff looking out for you, and you have the option to book shore excursions so you are never wandering around a strange city alone.
Just one problem… cruises, at least in the traditional sense, aren’t really set up to accommodate single cruisers.
How Going Solo Use to Be…
Signing up for a standard cruise as a single traveler was awkward. First they made you pay a single supplement and then when you got on the ship it seems like you were the only solo cruiser around. On many cruises, you’d stick out like a sore thumb if you were alone. People would probably feel bad for you – they figure if you are alone you must be a widower or a divorcee. Thankfully, these attitudes are disappearing as more and more cruise companies cater to the traveling solo crowd.
The Singles Cruise
The cruise companies first jumped on the solo traveler bandwagon by setting up special single’s cruises. The idea was to sell a section of the ships cabins to single travelers and then set up special events for these travelers once they were on board. While it could have been a great idea, it really only worked for the “single and look” crowd. Onboard activities were most often bar nights or something like dance classes, with the main mission seeming to be hooking up all those lonely travelers. For solo travelers who were just interested in traveling (not finding their soulmate at sea) these cruises were far from fun.
The New Cruises for Solo Travelers
Thankfully, after many years of trying to win over the new solo traveler market, cruise ship companies have finally started to get things right. New ships are being built with single travelers in mind. Gone are the single supplements on many ships and instead you can book a “studio” cabin designed specifically for one. Other cruise lines have roommate options where you can be matched up with another solo traveler to avoid a single supplement.
Ships are also changing up the onboard activities offered to single travelers, with many now focusing on introducing people with shared hobbies and helping solo travelers make shipboard friends. Dining room staff are more likely to seat solo travelers at mixed tables – not a table full of couples were a single traveler might feel especially uncomfortable. The large increases in single cruisers is also having an effect. You will no longer feel like the loner but part of an exclusive club of travelers traveling on their own terms. On the new Norwegian Epic ship, you will even have a special “Solo Travelers Only” lounge.
In the end, going on your first solo cruise, or first solo trip for that matter, will probably be a bit intimidating. However, with the right attitude and with the right planning, a solo cruise will give you the chance to see places you’ve always dreamed of while meet plenty of other adventurous solo travelers.
If you need a little help deciding what to pack for a cruise then download this handy cruise packing list that I found on Pinterest. It will totally help you pack light and bring the right outfits on board.