These are my solo cruise tips, with 7 tips on how to cruise solo better and cheaper.
How can you travel as a solo traveller cheaper, better and on the best cruise lines?
I’ve learned a lot cruising solo over the years, so I wanted to share all of my tips and tricks.
#1 Cruise Lines for Solo Travelers
I often get asked, what are the best cruise lines to go on as a solo traveller?
Well, the absolute best are probably two cruise lines, one of which is the Norwegian Cruise Line. Norwegian Cruise Line have created a whole solo traveller area (on their bigger ships and their newer ships). Now, these are all inside cabins, so if you’re not keen on inside cabins this may not be for you.
Only solo travellers with a card can get into the area. You have all these individual studio cabins, and then they have a lounge, where you have a seating area. You have tea, coffee, snacks, as well as whiteboards and boards where youcan post things to find people to go on excursions.
The other cruise line that looks after solo travellers phenomenally well cater for the 50 plus travellers. Saga Cruises have their new ships – Saga Spirit of Adventure, Saga Spirit of Discovery. All of these have solo cabins, in fact they are 20% solo, so 109 cabins on-board. All of the cabins have a balcony, and you can get various grades.
You can even get a suite as a solo cruiser. On board, Saga has specific events for solo travellers. For example, they have cocktail parties for solo travellers, and they have a meetup every day, normally in the morning or afternoon when the ship is in port. So solo travellers can get together and decide to go off and do excursions together or explore together.
So those are probably the two absolute best cruise lines for solo travellers, because they really focus on it.
Then there’s a second point – more cruise lines which are catering for solo travellers by having solo traveller cabins.
Most of the major cruise lines now have solo cabins on their newer ships. One big exception is the biggest cruise line in the world, which is Carnival Cruises, they currently don’t have solo cabins on their ships. But all the other lines do, so even Cunard – their entire fleet have introduced solo cabins. MSC Cruises which is the fifth biggest cruise line in the world, on their big new ships they also have solo cabins.
So, you’ll find that a lot of the big cruise lines do have solo cabins, although as you’ve seen, not all of them.
The third point is that you have cruise lines that don’t have solo cabins but do welcome solo travellers on board.
For example, I’ve been a couple of the ultra-luxury lines on different cruises, where they haven’t had solo cabins, but what they have done on certain cruises during the year, is they’ve offered dramatic discounts where you only pay perhaps 10% or up to 25% surcharge. I’ve been on Silversea; I have been on Seabourn. And I’ve been on Ponant,
where they do offer those really small premium discounts. So that’s the third point – look at the cruise lines that don’t have specific cabins catering for you, but they do have big discounts.
#2 Find a travel company that focuses on solo travel
My second tip is around how solo travellers can travel cheaper and better and on the best cruise lines, is to work with a travel company that really focuses on the solo traveller.
In the cruise area there are two that I always take a look at.
One of which is more catering to the U.S. market, and that’s Vacations To Go. They have a whole section focusing on solo travellers. What they do is they run a whole series of cruises both on existing cruises and very specific cruises.
They guarantee that you will pay the lowest price, and they will try and match you with other solo travellers, often to share a cabin if possible.
They’re a great place to look at if you’re looking for solo cruises, because they know all the best deals at any particular time.
In the UK, there’s a company called ROL Cruises, and they also have a really big focus on solo travellers.
Of course, many other travel companies do have a focus on the solo traveller, because they are growing, and cruising’s growing, but that’s the second big tip is work with a travel company that focuses on cruising for the solo traveller.
#3 Sign up for Solo Travelling Newsletters
My third tip is to then sign up for newsletters for different blogs and sites that look at solo travelling more generally.
#4 Go on smaller ships rather than big ones
My fourth tip as a solo traveller (and this is one that I really like to focus on if I am travelling by myself), and that’s to go on smaller ships not bigger ships.
The reason for that is that on board smaller ships you have a greater chance to meet people, get to know people, and people are more likely to talk to you.
So, it’s a bit like being in a small town versus a big city. I always found on smaller ships
you don’t get lost in the crowd. And also, it’s really important because the excursion’s a little bit smaller. The events are a little bit smaller, and people just notice you more.
They notice you are travelling by yourself, and they will start to engage with you much more.
#5 Pick the right time of year
Another really important tip is to choose the time of year you cruise. As a solo traveller, I recommend you look at slightly out of season so just the beginning of the season,
the end of the season.
You’ll find, for example, sort of March, April, maybe heading into June a little bit, if you’re looking at the Mediterranean. If you look at September, October time again in the Mediterranean, and the kind of the equivalent for the Caribbean.
The reason for that, is you’ll find that’s when the best deals are. So even if you’re going on a cruise line that has a larger surcharge, the prices overall are not going to be as great.
Also, you’re more likely to find that’s when you have deals taking place, because the cruise lines find it harder to fill the ship.
You’re probably going to find there’s more solo travellers on-board as well for that reason.
So, looking at the sort of shoulder season, it’s almost slightly out of season is really important as a solo traveller for finding the right cruises, finding the right deals!
#6 Travel partnering
If you are a solo traveller and you are looking for company and you like to travel with someone, another thing you could do is travel partnering.
There are a lot of ways that you can meet travel partners. One of the ways to do that is take a look at some of the cruise sites, because they do have forums where you can actually meet people to go on similar cruises with and share a cabin.
They’ll often have a specific group around solo travellers. So, there are ways that you can find people to share a cabin with.
#7 On board tips
I have a whole bunch of tips around things to do once you’re on-board as a solo traveller.
Use Cruise Critic
First of those, really important, is use CruiseCritic, so go onto CruiseCritic, signup for the roll call you’ll find there.
Also find out if they’re going to have a meet and greet and mingle session, those are really great, because you can be talking to people on your cruise, they will know that
you’re travelling solo.
So, you can also connect with them if there’s not a meetup. But a lot of the cruise lines
there’s a Cruise Critic meetup, where you can go to that event, you’ll see there’s other solo travellers, you’ll get to know people and can integrate with them.
Go to meetups
The second thing is most cruise lines with solo travellers have meetups, so they’ll have a meetup at the beginning, often hosted by the cruise director, not always.
And that’s a great chance for you to understand who else are solo travellers and then you can then, if you click with them you can then arrange to do things with them whether it’s excursions, go to events, go to the theatre, whatever it is.
Get involved in activities
Thirdly, get involved, go to the various activities, the events, the quizzes, because that’s a great way of meeting people. So, if there is a little deck games or quizzes, or anything that’s going on, go along there, you’ll start talking to people, because people on cruises like to talk.
It’s a great way of connecting, meeting people and hopefully clicking with people that you’re going to get on with.
Make friends with the cruise director
Another really good thing to do once you get on-board, is make friends with the cruise director or people in the entertainment team. Now, they will often host the solo get togethers, but even if they don’t, if you get to know them, they will also help connect you with other solo travellers.
But also, they will keep an eye out for you, so if you’re coming to an event, they’ll always make sure you can get partnered up or whatever. They are a solo traveller’s best friend.
Go on excursions
Go on excursions as well, because that’s a great way of starting to talk to people, particularly if they’ve got the same interests. And I’ve found often I’ve been on excursions, people just start talking to you as you’re going around, and I’ve made some really good friends on-board through going on excursions.
Go to the anytime dining
Also, importantly, is about eating. The hardest thing about a solo traveller is actually the evening meal, because it’s such a big deal. Couple of things I would recommend, is actually go for anytime dining as opposed to the fixed time dining.
The reason for that is when you go on anytime dining, you’ll arrive there and say, you want to be seated at a table with other people, that way you get to meet loads of different people.
And again, you might connect with them. If you’re on a fixed dining table, you’re always going to be with the same people, and so you’re not going to get to meet as many people.
So anytime dining, ask to sit with other people is a really big plus, I’ve done that a lot on solo cruising,
Solo travelling is becoming a huge trend. And hopefully these tips and things I’ve learned have helped you.
Watch my solo cruise tips video
Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/ycYFFZdmWaA
I’ve loads more advice and tips about cruising in my videos.
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