You may think that it's impossible to hide on a cruise ship, but the truth is, it's still possible to be lonely amongst 3500 passengers – especially so for solo cruisers. These five top conversation starters are invaluable for those travelling alone on the high seas, and some can be tweaked to work for any type of travel.
Is this your first cruise?
This is a great one, because there are four possible outcomes, and all of them can lead to good conversations which may end up being helpful for your own trip.
- Scenario 1: It’s your first cruise, and it’s theirs, too
This gives you something in common, and leaves you open to discuss the various research the two of you have undertaken, allowing you to pool your resources. It probably also means that they don’t know too many people either.
- Scenario 2: It’s your first cruise, but they’re more experienced
You can use the novelty of being a newbie to ask for advice. People love to talk about what they know best, and a seasoned cruiser will likely be able to offer you some tips which you may have spent the whole trip figuring out on your own.
- Scenario 3: You’ve cruised before, but it’s their first time
In this case you can be the one offering advice, but be careful to include them in the conversation. They may not be looking for all your words of wisdom in one hit. Instead, try asking what they’ve enjoyed so far, or why they decided to embark on their first cruise now.
- Scenario 4: You’re both experienced cruisers
This is the scenario better known as ‘war stories’. Having both cruised before, you have a chance to share the good, the bad and the ugly of your previous trips to sea.
Where is your hometown?
This one lets you get to know a little about them, and opens up the conversation to allow you to discuss the best and worst times to visit your hometowns. Alternatively, if you discover you come from the same city, you will have something in common and can perhaps discuss favourite cafes or bemoan the public transport system.
Does your family live there too?
It is nice to slip this one in after asking where your dinner companion lives. This gives them a chance to move on with a simple ‘no’. Some people may have difficult families, or may not have family at all. By giving your companion a graceful ‘out’ to this line of conversation, you avoid any potential awkwardness. On the flip side, they may have five children, sixteen grandchildren, four dachshunds and a canary, and may be very happy to talk your ear off about each and every one of them. You never know until you try.
Have you booked any shore excursions?
Talking about your trip gets you back onto safer ground, especially if you’ve discovered your dinner companion isn’t comfortable talking about their personal life. You may even find that you are both booked to travel ashore at the same time, and so could compare notes on what you plan to do when you get there.
I’m really keen to try
If you are looking for a companion to see a comedy act, play a round of cards or try out the day spa, this can be an easy conversation opening which allows others at your table to jump in and say ‘me too!’. Even if you don’t get the response which you are hoping for, others at your table are likely to offer advice if they’ve tried it themselves, or even to simply politely enquire what caught your eye about that particular activity.
Do you have a favourite conversation starter you like to use? Why not share your top tips with our members?
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