Cruising solo can be the ideal holiday if you follow cruise expert Jo Hall's advice.
We’ve all seen those happy television travel advertisements showing couples locked in romantic embraces with a cocktail, and families frolicking in the pool, but what happens if you want to, or have to, cruise by yourself? Cruising can be an ideal holiday for singles, but what are three important things to consider before booking to ensure you have a memorable trip.
Choose your ship carefully
Big ships from fleets including Royal Caribbean and Princess may have plenty of bells and whistles, and some even have single staterooms, but larger numbers of people on board can make it harder to meet up with others. Traditional fixed seating dining, however, can be an easy way to make new friends, and big ships also have plenty of activities to choose from. Smaller ships on the other hand, can be more sociable as you tend to see the same people more often. At the luxury end especially, such as on ships from the Seabourn and Regent fleets, open seating at restaurants means you can dine with different people each night.
Picking your itinerary
This is a major consideration, as cruises with too many sea days can leave solo travellers with a lot of time on their own, while itineraries with plenty of port days allow for more shore excursions with others who want to do, or see, the same things as you. Themed cruises are also a good option, as you’ll be on board with plenty of like-minded people enjoying the same pastimes, hobbies or entertainment. Expedition or “live-aboard” ships such as Captain Cook, Coral Princess or Hurtigruten, are another great idea for solo cruisers; like themed cruises, you’re enjoying the same activities, and meals are mostly communal.
Many solo cruisers pay a supplement to occupy a stateroom on their own, as cruise fares are calculated on a per person rate. If you don’t want to share, you can expect to pay anything from 25 to 100 percent on top of the single fare. Solo supplements vary from operator to operator, however, and they’re occasionally reduced or waived in sales, so it’s worth comparing and checking for deals. You can also book with a specialist retailer such as Companion Cruising, which matches people to share accommodation, opt for a dedicated singles cruise, or choose a cruise line which has ships featuring dedicated solo staterooms, such as Fred Olsen, P&O UK, and NCL’s Epic.
To find out more about cruising or to find the cruise of your dreams within your budget, visit CruiseGuide.com.au.
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