Best things to do as a solo cruiser

Solo Cruisers
Cruising is one of the best vacation experiences for those cruising alone -- learn more here, or just share your experiences cruising by your lonesome!
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#1
Treasure Coast Florida
1,348 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
I love to cruise, but it's been several years since I have cruised solo. What are your favorite things to do onboard as a solo cruiser that doesn't feel /look awkward? I am bringing a couple of books to read poolside. I am not comfortable dining alone, so probably will not eat in the dining room. What else?
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#2
Toronto, Canada
4,499 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Originally posted by superduper123
I love to cruise, but it's been several years since I have cruised solo. What are your favorite things to do onboard as a solo cruiser that doesn't feel /look awkward? I am bringing a couple of books to read poolside. I am not comfortable dining alone, so probably will not eat in the dining room. What else?
I spend a lot of time reading, listening to audiobooks, and thinking about nothing; I play trivia, take a sauna, and take walks on the promenade deck. What I usually don't do are things that that run on a schedule, because I don't like to keep track of time (except meal times, of course).
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#3
651 Posts
Joined Jun 2014
Originally posted by calliopecruiser
I spend a lot of time reading, listening to audiobooks, and thinking about nothing; I play trivia, take a sauna, and take walks on the promenade deck. What I usually don't do are things that that run on a schedule, because I don't like to keep track of time (except meal times, of course).
I do all of those things and I try to get my own table in the MDR. I don't care if someone else doesn't like to eat alone, it's much more relaxing than the menagerie in the buffet. Walking on the promenade is also relaxing.
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#4
MA-United States
915 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Originally posted by superduper123
I love to cruise, but it's been several years since I have cruised solo. What are your favorite things to do onboard as a solo cruiser that doesn't feel /look awkward? I am bringing a couple of books to read poolside. I am not comfortable dining alone, so probably will not eat in the dining room. What else?


I like to roam the ship check out all different bars and shops. I’ll hang out in the adults only areas of the pool decks and read and enjoy the sun. If doing NCL I’ll go to the solo meet ups in the evening and will do dinner with the solo group. But if there isn’t a specified solo dinner group I’ll dine I. The MDR alone too many problems with shared tables otherwise


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#5
145 Posts
Joined Dec 2017
I like going to piano bars and sit around the piano. Everyone tends to be very friendly and welcoming.
I also eat dinner in MDR asking for a table for 6-8 people. There’s no reason not to enjoy dinner conversation with others. If you’re afraid to be stuck with the same people choose open sitting.


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#6
Minnesota
2,083 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
I like to relax when I am cruising so I enjoy some good books, some time playing trivia, just walking around the deck, taking a nap or two, and just enjoying the trip. If the port is one I have not been to I will usually just do a ship's excursion to see the local scenery. If I have been to the port before I will just wander around if I feel comfortable doing that. As far as dining I enjoy a trip or two to the specialty restaurants, but I am flexible with the regular dining, as I am comfortable dining by myself or with a group.
#7
Flushing, NY
7,165 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Besides trivia, I enjoy playing in all of the staff conducted games and activities on board....it's a great way to meet other's.
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#8
Canada
348 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
I like my alone time, but I also enjoy meeting people. For the latter, I join the Cruise Critic roll call, and on that other social media site that shall not be named, I usually find a similar group. It's worked well - I can do things on my own but I have options to join others for meals, excursions, trivia, etc.

Enjoy your cruise!
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NCL Breakaway - Western Caribbean 2018
RCCL Anthem of the Seas - Southern Caribbean 2019
Star Princess - Santiago, Chile to Los Angeles, California 2019


Past cruises
NCL Epic - Western Caribbean 2018
Crown Princess - Canada/New England 2017
Regal Princess - New York/Caribbean 2016
NCL Escape - Eastern Caribbean 2016
RCL Allure of the Seas - TransAtlantic 2015
Royal Princess - TransAtlantic 2014
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Sun Princess - Alaska 2012
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Grand Princess - Southern Caribbean 2011







#9
Bellingham, WA
479 Posts
Joined Feb 2017
I know you said you wouldn't want to eat alone, but I did just that on the Amsterdam (Holland America) in one of the specialty restaurants (Canaletto -- upscale Italian), and it didn't feel awkward at all. Granted, I've only been on one cruise, and I sort of "invented" what I wanted to do, but it all worked great. I had "open" dining, so I was seated with other "open dining" folks at tables usually seating 6 or 8 people -- that also worked out great as I got to meet a lot of people, many of them solo travelers, too. I played trivia a few times, hung out in some of the several bars/lounges (especially the Explorer's Lounge with classical music and a glass of wine), and spent a lot of time on my balcony (verandah) in the morning with a cup of tea and in the evening with a glass of wine. So relaxing! I'm not a big "show" person, so didn't take advantage of that, but I had a marvelous relaxing time.

And of course, there was the scenery -- Alaska! Magical! Can't wait to do it again.
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#10
ExPerth, Now Melb Aus
776 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
I like my own space for breakfast so I go to the main dining room and ask for a table for 1.

Lunch depends on the day and my feelings. Sometimes a specialty restaurant, sometimes the food hall and sometimes the MDR and ask to be seated with some solos.
Dinner I like the MDR - usually solos table of 4 - dont like the huge round tables with loads of people.

Activities - what every I fancy. Sometimes I wander through the Quiz/Trivia area to see if anyone is trying to create a group, other times I just find a quiet place to sit and gaze at the sea or read.
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Ortelius: Feb 2014 Bluff NZ, Ross Sea, West Antarctica, Peninsula, Peter 1st Island, Ushuaia
Other regions: too many to list so just the highlights:
P&O Oriana 1984 (Indian Ocean) and 1986 (Pacific Ocean), Superstar Virgo 2003 (Indian Ocean),
Radiance of the Seas: Nov 2014 Bravo Theatre Opera cruise - Noumea.

#11
Flushing, NY
7,165 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by PerfectlyPerth
.
Dinner I like the MDR - usually solos table of 4 - dont like the huge round tables with loads of people..
I agree with this....sitting at a large round table makes it somewhat difficult to converse with everyone, and what often happens, are several different conversations occurring. At a table for four, usually everyone will be involved in just one....
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#12
Toronto, Canada
4,499 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Originally posted by bob brown
I agree with this....sitting at a large round table makes it somewhat difficult to converse with everyone, and what often happens, are several different conversations occurring. At a table for four, usually everyone will be involved in just one....
Different strokes.....I like larger tables, so that if I'm not particularly interested in chatting with a couple of people, there are more at the table with which to try again.
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#13
Northern NJ
370 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by superduper123
I love to cruise, but it's been several years since I have cruised solo. What are your favorite things to do onboard as a solo cruiser that doesn't feel /look awkward? I am bringing a couple of books to read poolside. I am not comfortable dining alone, so probably will not eat in the dining room. What else?
I bet probably everyone else is into whatever/whoever they are with that they do not even notice if you're solo or not. Whenever I go solo I do whatever, whenever! Read, piano bar, spa, waterslides, on deck getting some sun (or shade), going to shows.
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#14
Flushing, NY
7,165 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by calliopecruiser
Different strokes.....I like larger tables, so that if I'm not particularly interested in chatting with a couple of people, there are more at the table with which to try again.
You do have a good point there...it can work out good or bad...
I think that if you do find people you enjoy dining with, perhaps in that case being at a smaller table makes conversing easier, if you plan to dine together again.
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getting there is half the fun!
coming back is the other half!
#15
Treasure Coast Florida
1,348 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Thanks for all of the responses. I am looking forward to a few days of relaxing downtime, and not having any particular schedule to follow.
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Looking forward to:
Enchantment of the Seas Sept 2018
Independence of the Seas Nov 2018
Grandeur of the Seas April 2019
Serenade of the Seas Dec 2019
Adventure of the Seas Feb 2020
#16
Jacksonville, FL USA
49,943 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Lots of good replies here.........what to do? Lots of things, or NOTHING.......there are normally different activities offered on board.......check out what they have and see if something appeals to you. Most cruisers are quite friendly. Do you enjoy trivia? Participate in it if you do.....do you enjoy cooking? Sometimes they offer culinary demos......they also have folks who
give talks....see what the topic is about and if you enjoy said topic, go listen...........if you are a relaxer, find a lounger and
take a nap or read a book. Or do a bit of both
#17
47 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
One of the things I love about solo travel is being able to be 100% selfish, all the time. And not feel bad about it.

You want to go to the buffet? Go to the buffet!

You want to go to the bar and get a drink? Go get a drink!

You want to go do trivia? Go do trivia!

You want to spend the entire day with a good book on your balcony, and get on a first name basis with the room service stewards? Do that!

You want go get a three buckets of beer and down them all over an afternoon in a deck chair? Questionable idea, but you can!

You can do whatever the heck you want. You don't have to worry about another soul. You don't have to plan meeting points or when to go to dinner or argue over what excursion to go on. You just do whatever feels right, all the time.
#18
Canada
1,194 Posts
Joined May 2010
Originally posted by superduper123
I love to cruise, but it's been several years since I have cruised solo. What are your favorite things to do onboard as a solo cruiser that doesn't feel /look awkward? I am bringing a couple of books to read poolside. I am not comfortable dining alone, so probably will not eat in the dining room. What else?
Choose traditional dining at large table. I've had some great success with that option. If you don't feel that the table "gell" ask to be moved after the first night.
#19
ExPerth, Now Melb Aus
776 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Originally posted by sparkmaster
One of the things I love about solo travel is being able to be 100% selfish, all the time. And not feel bad about it.
Exactly! Perfect!!
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Antarctica
Kapitan Khlebnikov Nov 2010 (West Antarctica, Weddell Sea, Riser Laarsen Coast, Sth Sandwhich & Sth Georgia Islands)
Kapitan Khlebnikov Dec 2011 (Final voyage - East Antarctica & Heard Island)
Sea Adventurer: Feb 2014 (East side of Antarctica Peninsular, South Georgia Is, Falkland Is).

Ortelius: Feb 2014 Bluff NZ, Ross Sea, West Antarctica, Peninsula, Peter 1st Island, Ushuaia
Other regions: too many to list so just the highlights:
P&O Oriana 1984 (Indian Ocean) and 1986 (Pacific Ocean), Superstar Virgo 2003 (Indian Ocean),
Radiance of the Seas: Nov 2014 Bravo Theatre Opera cruise - Noumea.

#20
476 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
There really is something wonderfully decadent about settling on plans for the day, having a nap after lunch, waking up at the time you "need" to wake up from the nap to go do your activities, deciding "nope," and throwing all the plans out the window and doing something completely different (or absolutely nothing at all) because you don't have to answer to anybody but yourself.

If you like to read, a book or kindle is your friend. Makes no difference to me whether it's a specialty restaurant or the buffet -- I'll be reading. I do tend to put the book down more in the specialties, as there are interactions with the wait staff (and meat to carve, requiring both hands on silverware!), but no reason to sit awkwardly looking about the room if sitting alone makes you feel awkward. Some restaurants come with better views than others (and I've noticed I tend to get pretty good (window) tables as a solo at a specialty).

On sailaway day, head for the open dining room and try dining alone -- it probably won't be busy and your phone might still be working and you can text friends and family. It might alleviate any concern you have about the dynamic to try it when it's as uncrowded as it ever will be, as opposed to trying it during busy lunch/dinner service later on the trip. I suspect you'll find you can handle it just fine!