Have you ever considered cruising alone? Lots of people do! Find out why with our 10 Top Tips for Solo Cruisers.
Quick Tip: This is a LONG Blog with tons of info, links and offers so be sure to bookmark it so that you can refer back to it!
1. Cruising is the easiest way to travel solo
Cruising is a safe, almost cocooned way to travel solo. The ship is like a large community and you can choose to be as social or as solitary as you like – dipping in and out of activities as you feel. There is the security of knowing that there is help at hand aboard the ship if you should need it and that someone to talk to is never far away. Yet you have your own space where you can be as quiet and secluded as you like.
It is very important to remember that not everyone who cruises solo is single. Whilst a cruise could be a chance to meet the partner of your dreams it is probably best to think of it as a solo travel opportunity rather than as a matchmaking experience!
If you’re tempted then it’s best to book really early or really late…
2. Book your solo cabin as far in advance as you can.
Firstly you need to think about the cruise line and their offerings for singles. Many ships do have designated solo cruise cabins with one extra-large single bed – usually 6×4. Some are in singles areas or have solo lounges and bars (see Norwegian Cruise Lines below) but they do get booked fast and are often only inside or outside cabins, not balconies. These options tend to cost slightly more than the per person price for an equivalent double cabin but can be good value. If you’re happy to book well ahead start thinking about which cruise line best suits you in terms of the activities and facilities on board as well as any specific activities targeted at solos.
3. Book last minute and stalk solo promotions & offers.
There is nothing stopping you from finding any stateroom you want on any ship and booking it. This is normally the best thing to do if you are looking for a balcony cabin or a suite. Booking this will attract a Single Supplement which can feel very irritating as it seems so much more expensive. It might help to think of the per person rate as merely half the ‘per room’ rate, as with a hotel stay.
With a good promotional or last-minute offer you will pay double the ‘per person” offer price but a good deal for a standard including solo supplement might be a better price in total than booking a solo cabin – especially if you want a balcony!
Sign up for newsletters, solo traveller groups, track offers, upgrades and find a brilliant travel agent! Join the Cruise Addicted Solo Cruisers Facebook group – we are often contacted with last minute offers and publicise them there and in our newsletter!
The best result is always is to find a ‘no single supplement’ offer – these tend to be in low or shoulder season but can be amazing value. Do NOT miss our special August Bank Holiday offer from Need That Cruise for you …
4. Choose your Cruise Line carefully.
It is not just about which lines have the best rooms and facilities for solos but also about which will attract the sort of people that you’re most likely to feel comfortable spending time with. However, it probably is fair to say that the cruise lines that don’t even mention singles on their websites are probably the least welcoming. If they are targeting families and couples they may not be expecting to book many solos. There is nothing to say that you can’t choose to cruise with them if you want to!
Norwegian Cruise Lines specifically target solo cruisers with their Studio concept. On their newer ships you will find solo cabins grouped around the Studio lounge and bar. Its a good way to meet other solo travellers quickly and its useful to know that you don’t have to be staying in a single cabin to takes advantage of this lounge. It is also open to people travelling in a double cabin and paying the single supplement.
Other cruise lines are also welcoming to solos with specialist cruise hosts, get togethers, and even Balcony single rooms. So take some time to do your homework even if you aren’t actually looking for a solo cabin! Take a look at our list at the bottom of this Blog – we have added links to Cruise Lines that specifically mention Solo Cruisers.
5. Think about the best size of ship for you
A large ship is like a small town. It will have a lot more attractions and amenities on board but the downside is that on a ship of 5000 or so people you are unlikely to bump into the same person twice! In the shot above you’ll see Harmony of the Seas – 5,479 passengers, and there are even larger ships!
A smaller ship of 2000 or so passengers is more like a village – Marella Explorer above looks small next to Harmony of the Seas but she still takes 1924 passengers! This size might feel more manageable as you will start to see the same faces around! A smaller cruise ship such as the two Saga Spirit ships takes under 1000 passengers.
One trick aboard any ship is to get in the habit of having your morning coffee or pre-dinner drink at the same bar every night – many people are creatures of habit and you will see the same faces a few times which makes it easier to start a conversation.
6. Consider a Themed Cruise.
Any sized ship works well if you book a Themed Cruise as this will have fewer couples and more groups of friends on board. There will be extra activities and excursions too. If it’s a subject that interests you then you will have a ready-made topic of conversation with anyone you meet!
It is amazing how many different types of Cruise you can find – Jazz, Opera, Musical Theatre, Bridge, Beer, Wine, Food, Strictly Come Dancing, Friends ( as in the TV Series!), 80s, 90s, The Beatles, Star Trek, Wrestling, Biker, Goth, Genealogy, Comicon… but luckily for you the nudist themed cruise is for couples only!!
7. Book Cruise Line excursions.
Even if you are a very confident cruiser and traveller I suggest starting a cruise with cruise line excursions. They are a great way to meet and chat with like minded people with similar interests – especially if you book some of the braver options rather than just going off to sit on a coach!
8. Make the most of your time onboard
Get involved even before you cruise – join Roll Call noticeboards, Solo Cruise FB groups and just ask! ‘Is anyone onboard xxx?’ . Don’t forget to give the Cruiseline, dates and reference numbers for a sensible response. If anyone responds arrange to meet up at the sailaway on the first night!
It sounds silly but get involved on board too – join in the activities, challenges, quizzes & competitions for a few days You’ll soon find some likeminded friends – just say hello and smile!
One problem about holidaying on your own is documenting it! A ships ‘photo package’ might be a worthwhile purchase. You will be able to make the most of all the photographers taking pictures at every opportunity, both on and off the ship!
But don’t be afraid to be a bit selfish too – if you feel you’re getting ‘lumbered’ with someone and it is spoiling your time onboard then just melt away…
9. Use all the Dining options
Cruising alone does NOT mean you should hide away in the Buffet! On most ships you have the choice of the Main Dining room (MDR), less formal options such as the buffet or restaurants on deck and by the pool and a choice of Speciality restaurants which you normally have to reserve and pay extra for.
The timing and seating of your evening meal in the MDR is chosen when you book – you usually can opt for ‘free’ or ‘anytime dining when you will normally eat on your own whenever you want or you can choose to have an assigned table. Booking for the later/2nd Sitting will lessen the chance of your table companions being families with young children.
An assigned group table would probably have a mix of couples and other singles. It is a good idea to try this initially as it will introduce you to a small group of people – someone to say hello to around the ship. If you feel that your table companions are a complete mismatch then a quiet chat with the Maitre D’ will get you seamlessly moved elsewhere the following evening.
For lunch or breakfast in the MDR, you will be asked as you arrive if you want to share and you can change your mind daily! It is absolutely fine to ask for a table on your own – quite a lot of couples have one half who goes down for full breakfast, and one who just wants a coffee, so solo diners are not unusual at breakfast. People do tend to chat across tables though, so take reading material if you just want to be left alone!
If booking a Speciality restaurant as a solo then call in to chat to their Maitre D’ beforehand to discuss it as they will make a real effort to give you a good table and take great care of you!
10. Don’t forget River Cruising
River Cruising is often a good option for many solo cruisers – the ships are smaller so it is easier to make friends and as shore excursions are usually included it can mean that you quickly meet a group of like minded people. they can be expensive but there are entry level short cruises that will give you a chance to try it out. The big advantage of River Cruising is that there are often No Single Supplement offers which suddenly makes it very cost effective! Join our River Cruise FB group to keep up to date with those…
Our List of Solo Cabins for Ocean Cruises by line…
Ambassador – this new cruise line has 89 solo cabins and hosts events and a welcome party on cruises of 6 nights or more. Current late availability deals are good for solo travellers paying single supplements
Celebrity don’t have single cabins and charge double occupancy rates although they actually give three times the points on their loyalty scheme for solo occupancy.
Celestyal have no specific solo cabins but their ships have a higher level of inside and outside cabins than some. At present they have an offer for reduced single supplements on some cruises – see this awesome offer from Cruise Nation… Not all of the Celestyal offers also have a No Single Supplement Offer – you need to scroll through and find the little yellow box!!
Costa has solo cabins both inside and outside on most of their ships – they are the same size as standard cabins. They are a fun, European line – targeted mostly at younger age groups.
Cunard has mainly Oceanview solo staterooms (there is only ONE inside!). These are all in their Britannia class, there are no solo Grills suites. Activities onboard are excellent and varied.
Fred. Olsen have a choice of Solo cabins. There are inside, outside and balconies on all their ships. At present they have an offer of NO Single Supplement on some cruises. We particularly like the 9 nights trip to Iceland aboard Borealis…
Holland America only have two ships with solo cabins. Nieuw Statendam is the newest and has twelve – all small forward outside cabins on.
Marella has some solo cabins – they tend to sell out very fast. They do have singles events and a designated Cruise host for singles. Worth looking at for themed cruises.
MSC Cruises have some solo cabins – all insides on the Bella experience. MSC tend to have such excellent offers that it is worth considering a higher service level and paying the single supplement. Need that Cruise have two special Cruise Addicted MSC offers at the moment. One for August Bank Holiday (see above) and one for Christmas 2022 see below
Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) are excellent for solos. Their studios are inside or outside cabins. The inside cabins may have a virtual balcony or porthole – a projection onto a screen of the scene outside the ship!
P&O have solo inside and outside cabins on Arcadia, Azura, Britannia, Iona, Oriana & Ventura. The newest ships have solo balcony cabins exactly the same as regular balcony cabins.
Princess don’t have single cabins and charge double occupancy rates less tips and taxes as a solo supplement.
Royal Caribbean have Studio staterooms on Brilliance, Anthem, Quantum, Ovation, Harmony and Spectrum. Mainly insides with ‘virtual balcony’ staterooms and some Oceanview (outside) cabins ranging in size from 101 square feet to 199 square feet. T
Saga have solo cabins that are ALL balconies – standard, superior and deluxe level and about 85% the size of equivalent double occupancy cabins. ( 50+ age group only)
Seabourne have no solo cabins but offer a reduced single supplement starting at 50% on some cruises and special offers through their loyalty scheme.
Virgin Voyages have both inside and ‘seaview’ (outside) cabins available. Some of the ‘Rockstar’ Suites would work well for a group of friends so that is worth thinking about!
Viking have no single cabins.
I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on our Solo Cruising and that it will be useful to you. Maybe pin this on Pinterest so that you can come back to it later! Join our Solo Cruising Facebook Group to ask any questions, see the latest offers and meet fellow solo travellers.