Monday, December 10, 2012

Cruising Solo

Cruising solo. Whereas some feel it’s an opportunity to unwind without being encumbered by the needs of others, the majority of people I’ve spoken to say it’s a downright terrifying idea! So what do you do if you have the vacation time, and your friends or family aren’t inclined to join you?  Do you deprive yourself of a much needed relaxing cruise vacation?  Here are some tips on cruising solo that won’t make you feel that ""one is the loneliest number""!

Before you cruise, check out all the “Roll Calls” on the different cruise message boards. A roll call is where people that are on the same ship and sailing date meet virtually before the cruise.  It’s a great place to share your excitement, say hello, and meet people to share the cost of shore excursions.  People have met lifetime travel buddies through roll calls!

Opt for late dining and a large table.  A table of ten or twelve increases your chances of meeting other solo travelers, or somebody that shares your interests. Late dining eliminates a lot of families.  Don’t underestimate the cruise line’s uncanny ability of putting “like” groups together.  Families with children close in age, seniors, honeymooners, and yes, solo travelers.

Be sure to always check the daily activity newsletter left in your cabin for a listing of special events geared to single and solo travelers. I’ve seen meet and mingles, trivia challenges, deck parties and cocktail hours for singles only, listed on every cruise I’ve been on.

Often there is a “community board” near Guest Services where cruisers, independent of the cruise line, can post their own “meet and mingles”.  Sometimes they are posted by people looking for a group to play bridge or poker with. Other times it can be something as simple as a single cruisers looking for other single cruisers.

Hang out in areas of the ship where other solo travelers are likely to be.  The fitness center is a good choice. I don’t mean that only singles go to the gym, but working out is generally an activity one does on their own, so solo travelers feel very comfortable spending time here.

Consider cruising on the Norwegian Epic.  This is the only ship that has a private keycard-access complex of staterooms designed (and priced) for solo travelers.  The shared living room serves coffee, snacks, has a TV…the perfect set up for meeting others booked in this area.

There are plenty of people who would relish the thought of cruising by themselves, doing what they want, when they want, with nobody to answer to.  For the rest of us, it may not be that easy. I hope these suggestions encourage you to give solo cruising a chance, should the opportunity arise."

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