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Cruising has become an immensely popular way to see the world in comfort and wake up to new, exotic destinations each day. For many solo travellers, the idea of a cruise is appealing but seems out of reach without a companion to share the experience. However, cruising as a party of one is more accessible than ever with cruise lines realizing the demand and catering offerings to solo guests. With the right cruise line selection, advanced planning, onboard immersion, and smart precautions, cruising solo allows you to indulge fully in the joys of seafaring independently.
With so many elements influencing your enjoyment, a bit of strategy and preparation enables an amazing solo cruise holiday. Follow this guide’s tips to seamlessly book all the elements for your next solo cruise adventure.
Choose the Right Cruise Line
Some cruise lines now cater extensively to solo guests’ needs. The most solo-friendly lines include:
- Celebrity Cruises – Single staterooms perfectly designed, offering luxurious amenities
- Norwegian Cruise Line – Studios priced for individuals plus exclusive lounge access
- Royal Caribbean – Studio cabins and activities for singles to mingle
- Holland America – Single occupancy fares and mixers in the piano bar
- Cunard – Events like afternoon tea help singles meet fellow travellers
- Azamara – Smaller ships with inclusive atmosphere welcoming solos
Certain specialty lines, such as river cruising also draw more solo travellers interested in cultural immersion. Read reviews and ship amenities to select the optimal line for you.
Book Early for Best Solo Rates
Cruise lines sell out their allotment of studio rooms or single occupancy cabins quickly. Book 9 to 12 months in advance for the best selection and rates. Supply is also lower during peak seasons like summer. Booking early ensures you secure a room and avoid paying double the cruise fare. Don’t forget to check out special cruise offers when looking for your solo escape. One way to find out about deals for solo travellers as soon as they are released is to sign up for cruise line emails.
Be Flexible on Destination and Date
Compromising a bit on your ideal destination or sail date can vastly expand your options and reduce costs as a solo cruiser. Consider traveling during shoulder seasons for discounted rates. Opting for a repositioning cruise when ships relocate between regions offers savings. Explore exotic new destinations you weren’t initially considering. Go where the deals are.
With limited rooms for solos, flexibility on variables, such as port, date, and ship class greatly improves your chances of booking the solo cruise you want.
Purchase Fare Guarantees and Insurance
Unforeseen events can force you to cancel your solo cruise. Protect your investment by purchasing fare guarantees allowing liberal rebooking or cancellation with a refund. Many cruise lines offer fare guarantees for a nominal upcharge. Make sure you understand the terms before purchasing.
Separately, buy travel insurance to receive reimbursement for prepaid expenses like airfare and hotels if circumstances prevent travelling. Do make sure that you read the policy’s small print when comparing plans.
Cruise ship cabins are often snug. As a solo traveller without a companion to share storage, over packing can quickly make your room cramped and chaotic. Think carefully what to pack for your solo holiday. Stick to essential clothing items in a colour palette that allows mix-and-match outfits (also known as “capsule wardrobe”). Limit shoes to the ones you actually need. Use eBooks rather than packing heavy reads. Choose minimal toiletries.
Don’t pack too many valuables. Remember that they will need to fit into the in-room safe deposit boxes. Overall, it is recommended to pack no more than one suitcase or travel bag plus a small daypack to avoid clutter. Leave buying souvenirs to later and start your solo trip travelling light and comfortably.
Research Onboard Offerings
Modern cruise ships offer endless amenities and activities. Study what’s available on your specific vessel before sailing to have an onboard plan that suits you. You can usually preview the entertainment schedule for shows and music of your vessel in advance. There might also be other activities available that can or have to be booked in advance, such as cooking or mixology classes. If you like to indulge on your luxury singles holidays, you probably already know that spa treatments often need to be booked in advance. Advance research to identify activities aligned with your interests helps maximize fun.
Another way to stay up to date with onboard offerings is to follow the cruise line on social media for sneak peeks. You can also download the ship’s app once aboard to ensure you are always up to date with event listings.
Explore Ports Independently
While convenient, you might want to avoid joining group shore excursions at times to ensure an immersive experience of your destination. We recommend disembarking early to explore independently. That, of course, means researching the top attractions, tourist maps, public transit options, and highly rated tours in each port pre-trip. Could compile a personalized sightseeing plan for your DIY shore days, so that you can wander, shop, savour local cuisine, and absorb the culture at your own pace. Whilst this may not be practical for every port trip, it is well worth the effort. Independent exploration can boost your confidence and lets you tailor experiences to your interests versus a one-size-fits-all group. Find the magic beyond the itinerary.
As your own host, remember to make the trip special with indulgences that complement cruising’s built-in pampering. This might be bringing a journal to document your experience, dressing up for formal nights or booking yourself a soothing massage. It could also just be relaxing in the adults-only lounge and enjoying a morning coffee on deck. Take advantage of being on vacation solo. Spending wisely to upgrade your trip within reason makes cruising rewarding. You deserve to treat yourself.
Cruising offers an empowering way to explore the world independently, but a little research is necessary. Make sure you choose a solo-friendly cruise line and destination and check onboard offerings and start planning your ideal solo cruise experience. Whilst solo cruises might not be for everyone, if you are not afraid to talk to strangers and happy to try both organised activities and independent exploration, you will be rewarded with an exciting voyage.