Cruising is an ideal way for solo travellers to travel to new destinations, meet new people and make friends. Here Becky Wiggins chooses six of the best cruise lines for independent travellers.

Whether it’s hosting events designed especially for solo travellers, reduced (or no) single supplements or suites designed especially for one, there are many reasons why solo cruising is the perfect way to travel. These cruise lines are among the top picks for solo travellers.

NCL

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Norwegian Cruise Line were early pioneers of solo cruising with the introduction of their award-winning Studio Staterooms back in 2010. Designed and priced specifically for guests travelling solo, perks include exclusive access to the private Studio Complex and Lounge with free coffee and snacks, a nightly happy hour, singles meet ups and room service. Some sailings also offer reduced single supplements at less than double the original value of the cruise. 

A seven day round trip sailing around Alaska on board Norwegian Bliss offers a stunning itinerary starting with the chance to explore the cosmopolitan city of Seattle, before heading to the first of three ports of call in Alaska: Juneau, where guests can take the opportunity to experience the spectacular falls and floating icebergs of the Mendenhall Glacier.

Step back in time to the Klondike gold rush with a trip on the White Pass and Yukon Route narrow-gauge railroad in Skagway, then experience a breathtaking cruise through the magnificent glaciers, snow-capped mountains and abundant wildlife of Glacier Bay.

Arriving in lush Ketchikan, more adventurous guests can take an expedition to zipline through the rainforest canopy, or choose to delve deeper into the rich culture of Southeast Alaska’s Native American population. The final port is the picturesque city of Victoria in British Columbia (we recommend the ‘bites and sights’ tour which combines local landmarks with a visit to several popular local restaurants).

*The Awe of Alaska: Glacier Bay & Inside Passage cruise from Seattle on Norwegian Bliss departing 17 May 2020 starts from £1,579 for a solo studio (ncl.com/uk/en)

Saga Cruises

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Always a popular choice with solo cruisers, more than a fifth of the cabins on board Saga’s new purpose-built boutique ship, Spirit of Discovery, have been designed especially for solo occupancy (there are even spacious single suites).

Solo travellers are welcomed with a thoughtful itinerary of ‘singles mingle’ drinks parties, lunches and the chance to team up with other solo guests to enjoy shore excursions, plus a daily programme of lectures, activities, quizzes, dance classes and entertainment. The friendly, flexible restaurant staff are happy to unite solo travellers in the dining room too.  

If you’re travelling solo for the first time and want to dip your toes in with a short cruise, we recommend the four-night mini cruise, Escape to the Continent. Departing from Dover, visit the quintessential English seaside resort of Great Yarmouth. Enjoy a visit to the historic pier and pleasure beach, or discover the ancient old town bursting with period houses and museums.

Next up is the cosmopolitan capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam, where Spirit of Discovery will moor overnight, giving you the opportunity to join a twilight canal cruise or see the twinkling lights of the skinny bridge.

*A four-night Escape to the Continent round-trip cruise on board Saga Cruises’ Spirit of Discovery departing Dover on 19 April 2020 costs from £1,270 for a standard single cabin (saga.co.uk/cruise-int).

Titan 

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As well as offering holidays exclusively for solo travellers, Titan often offer their range of ocean and river cruises with no- or low-supplement special offers. Known for their friendly, inclusive tours with generous extras such as VIP door-to-door travel and expertly curated itineraries, Titan provide a dedicated tour manager who is always on hand to make sure that solo travellers feel part of the larger group.

Titan’s Rhine river cruise commences in Basel, a treasure trove for art and architecture lovers. Discover the many art museums or join an excursion to take in the lush scenery of the forests and meadows surrounding Mt Rigi. In Breisach, right on the edge of the Black Forest, guests can enjoy a cruise on Lake Titisee or choose to visit one of the many vineyards.

Don’t miss the spectacular Gothic façade and fascinating stained glass windows of the 15th-century cathedral in Strasbourg, or take a tour of the UNESCO-listed old quarter, a tangle of cobbled streets and half-timbered houses. In Spyere, the Romanesque cathedral is high on the list of places to visit, along with the incredible baroque Old Mint. 

Explore the sublimely pretty town of Rüdesheim, then cruise the spectacular Lorelei Passage to arrive in Koblenz by the afternoon, and enjoy a city tour followed by a visit to the 19th-century Ehrenbreitstein Fortress for views across the city and down to the Rhine where it meets the Moselle. In Königswinter there’s the chance to tour the 19th-century Schloss Drachenburg and admire the incredibly detailed tapestries, murals and spires, before setting sail for the Gothic drama of Cologne.

The iconic cathedral took centuries to complete and boasts artistic masterpieces at every turn. The site of one of the most important battles of World War II, Arnhem’s history is fascinating, and the War Museum hosts photographs, films and rare documents that tell its story. Finally, the cruise reaches the winding canals and gabled houses of Amsterdam. Visit the iconic Rijksmuseum, or take a canal cruise along pretty waterways before heading home.

*The 11-day Enchanting Rhine solo traveller river cruise on board MS Serenade 1 departing Basel on 23 October 2020 costs from £1,599 with no single supplement, including Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service and return flights from London Heathrow (titantravel.co.uk).

G Adventures  

If you’re looking for an epic adventure but maybe can’t find a travel buddy, or are worried about the security aspects of heading off to far-flung destinations alone, it’s well worth considering this brilliant adventure travel company. G Adventures truly celebrate solo travellers, with no single supplements and the opportunity to share cabins with same-sex travellers, which is perfect if you’re looking to make like-minded friends.  

An exhilarating expedition through the winding waters of the Amazon jungle, accompanied by an Amazon Reserve naturalist guide, allows guests to immerse themselves in the raw beauty of this untouched riverscape. From discovering some of the unique wildlife that inhabits the river, including sloths, toucans and pink dolphins, to trekking through the jungle learning about medicinal plants – this tour is perfect if you’re seeking adventure and wildlife with no solo supplements.

Visit Peru’s largest national park, the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, home to more than 200 bird species and 10 primate species; and walk along the Ucayali River to explore the Yucuruchi region of the Amazon, home to the gigantic Victoria Regia water lily, with leaves that measure up to 3 metres in diameter. A night-time boat excursion allows you to discover the nocturnal wildlife such as bats, capybaras, black caiman, poison frogs and, if you’re really lucky, a jaguar.

*A seven-day Lima to Lima river cruise with G Adventures on board The Amatista, travelling on a range of dates throughout 2020 costs from £1,279 per person excluding flights (gadventures.co.uk). 

Uniworld 

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Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s opulent fleet offers solo travellers the opportunity to cruise in complete luxury, while the friendly ambiance and impeccable service on board makes for an indulgent experience.

Choose a delightful festive cruise to experience the pretty Christmas markets and charming towns along the Rhine (as featured on Christmas Cruising with Jane MacDonald). Browse for unique ornaments in Basel’s Christmas market, and sip delicious vin chaud as you stroll around Strasbourg (don’t miss the enormous, sparkling tree that towers over Place Kléber).

You’ll see the famed Lorelei Rock and visit the beautiful baroque town hall of Koblenz, transformed into an Advent calendar, and discover more treasures in the red-roofed stalls clustered around Cologne’s magnificent cathedral. In Mannheim you can join an excursion to the historic university town of Heidelberg, where you’ll see the castle ruins and visit the Christmas market, or venture into a candlelit room to sample elixirs made from wine vinegars.

The festive atmosphere continues on board luxurious S.S. Antoinette, with treats like gingerbread, cinnamon crêpes and warm spiced wine alongside Uniworld’s regionally inspired fine dining cuisine.

*A seven-night Rhine Holiday Markets cruise with Uniworld on board S.S. Antoinette departing 5 December 2019 now costs just £3,399 with a single supplement waiver, including all meals, excursions and transfers (uniworld.com/uk).