In unfamiliar climes with a lot of free time at your disposal, solo cruising may seem daunting at first. But part of the fun of travelling is discovering something new, and going it alone on a cruise ship gives you the freedom to explore the unexplored at your own pace, and this includes getting to know people and making new friends.
Although at times it may feel like you’re the only one, there’ll be plenty of other solo travellers in the same boat). You’ll be sure to find many like-minded cruisers looking for companions as well; here we’ll provide you with a few helpful hints and tips for making friends on solo cruises.
Tailor your cruise when you book
Specialist family cruises are often a no-go, since big families will likely have their hands full already, so the chances might be a bit slimmer. Luckily, there are plenty of cruise lines out there that are more catered to individuals, many with single cabins, too.
Keep an eye out for those that don’t spring extra charges on you, P&O Cruises, Fred Olsen and Marella Cruises are among the most affordable, with P&O and Marella waiving the dreaded single supplement on selected rooms, which means you won’t have to pay extra for staying in a two-man room by yourself.
Also, many cruise lines hold events that cater to singles. It can vary by line, but expect to see coffee mornings, meet and greets, dance classes, trivia contests, wine-tastings and much, much more – it’s well worth shopping around for a cruise line that offers plenty for single travellers to get involved with. There’s sure to be someone that has something in common with you on board, so sign yourself up to these fun activities during your holiday and get the conversation going.
Eat, meet and greet
The dining room is a superb way to meet other like-minded cruisers: excellent food and a glass of wine, what more could you ask for? If you’ve been assigned a time and a table, you’ll get to know your fellow diners well, night after night. But don’t be afraid to ask to be re-seated if you feel like they aren’t a match for you; talk to your maître d’ who’ll be happy to seat you with new diners.
We’d advise you dine later in the evening, after peak dining has ended. That way, you’re more likely to find fellow solo cruisers. If you’re going for a drink afterwards, many cruisers recommend getting a drink at the bar and sitting at the bar, interesting company won’t be far behind. Strike up a conversation and toast the good times.
Double up on excursions
Whether you’re arranging something before you’re in port, or you’re more content to go along with things as they happen, excursions are a great way to get to know others. Since many cruise lines provide guided tours and group hikes that you can get involved with, the opportunities they provide are well worth keeping in mind.
Get chatting before you go
If you’d like to get an early start on your socialising, many cruise lines have an online discussion board that makes connecting with others before you set sail a breeze. Even before you’ve stepped foot on your ship, you’ll have an opportunity to get to know people, arrange meet-ups, and have companions waiting to experience your cruise with you.
Also, while you’re on board, why not talk to the cruise director? Let them know you’re looking for other single travellers to get to know, they’ll be more than happy to introduce you to others.
Make a cabin buddy
You might be unable to find a cabin without a satisfactory discount or no single supplement. If that’s the case, then consider sharing your room with someone else in the same situation. You’ll save a bit of money, and have someone to socialise with from the get-go.
Some cruise lines have programmes to make the process a bit more streamlined, such as Holland America Line’s Single Partners Share, you can even fine-tune who you stay with while you’re on board.
Leave a calling card
A calling card might seem like quite the commitment, but if you’re looking to socialise, it’s a great way to make solid connections, and makes arranging things a lot easier in the long run. With your name and cabin number handy, your fellow cruisers won’t be as reliant on chance meetings when the ship is on the waters.