Expert advice: Solo cruising
By Teresa Machan | 14 Jul 2022
Find out why cruise holidays are ideal for solo travellers and get expert advice on how to make the most of your time on board
“You’re spending Christmas alone?” So said friends when I told them a few Christmases ago that I was leaving the cold and commercialisation of the festive season behind in favour of a tall ship cruise around the Caribbean.
Admittedly I had doubts – dining can feel rather solitary on holiday, and I suspected eight days of exploring independently might get dull by day three. In the event, of course, neither came to pass.
The ship was small (227 passengers) and the sailing element encouraged time on deck, which was conducive to casual chat and mutual appreciation – of sunrises, sunsets, island-spotting, dolphin sightings and the never-ending nautical ballet of tackles, winches, pulleys and sails.
By the end of day two, solitary mealtimes were out of the question. The restaurant set-up encouraged small-group dining and had I not met people the maître d’ would have smoothed my passage into the company of strangers.
I let my hair down and laughed a lot, and when I did fancy a night off with a book (once), I ordered room service and suffered FOMO.
Subsequent solo sailings have been successful. I’ve tried all sorts of activities, including diving and kayaking, and have never felt alone or bored. Cruising solo affords the best of both worlds: time alone with a cabin to yourself and company on tap when you want it.
Keen travellers nervous about going it alone will never need to fret about logistics. Find a cruise line that waives single supplements.
Which cruise lines are best for solo travellers?
Increasingly, newer ships are built with cabins for solo occupancy (try Royal Caribbean, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, NCL, Oceania Cruises and Holland America Line, and on the rivers American Queen Voyages, CroisiEurope and AmaWaterways). Bigger lines, including Cunard and HAL, have dedicated hosts for groups of single travellers.
As a rule of thumb if you’re a conﬁdent solo traveller, opt for a smaller ship. Assuming you want to socialise, the sooner you meet your co-passengers the less ‘alone’ you’ll be.
Go with a positive attitude and maybe try a new activity – it breaks down barriers quickly. You never know, you might leave with invites to several more destinations…