Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
coloradocruiselover88

Best advice for first time solo cruiser

Recommended Posts

I think some of the answer to this depends on what cruise line and ship you're on and what cabin category you're in.  Also - "things not to miss", on the ship, elsewhere on the cruise?  It's a vague question in that regard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Best advice would be to just relax. You deserve to enjoy yourself just as much as the couples, families, etc.

 

I recently did my first solo on a cruise to New Zealand on Ovation of the seas. The solo meet ups were a bit hit and miss, but I still met lots of nice friendly people. I was on the late dinner seating in the MDR at a large table (for ten). Some nights there were 2 to 5 of us for dinner and we all got along really well and there were a couple of nights I dined at that table by myself (as the others booked specialty dinning) but the wait staff were quite friendly and I felt very welcomed and looked after. The MDR food was surprisingly good too (my opinion anyway).

 

If you want to do something just do it. Being on my own did not stop me going to shows, using the spas, drinking at the bars, going on excursions, etc. Sometimes I would write in a journal to keep myself busy if there was no conversation going on in the bars or when I was waiting for my breakfast.

 

I think what helped too is I put myself in the right frame of mind before my holiday. I told myself not to expect to make friends and just relax and be happy that I was not at work. Lucky for me I met some nice people and the staff were all polite and friendly.

 

Have a great holiday!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, coloradocruiselover88 said:

What is the best advice you can give to a first time solo cruiser?  Any regrets or any not to be missed things?  I have my first solo cruise in November 2020.  Thanks!

Hi Colorado Cruise Lover, I too will be a first time solo.  I have been doing research, lots on YouTube.  Especially enjoy websites:  Cruise Critic articles, maps of my ship, the 10 best things to do in xyz port websites and public transportation sites.  this is like recess, lots to do without the restrictions.  Quincy 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

here are my two things.

The first, I took a huge amount of flack for on a similar previous post, but I stand by it- don't feel the need to be polite if someone wants you to do something that is for their convenience rather than your enjoyment. My example at the time was being seated in a dining room with two families to complete the table. I didn't know I could ask for a different table and no one told me because it was more convenient for the cruise line to stick the solo lady with the kids. Don't get bullied into a crappy theatre seat to make up numbers, etc.

 

Second, have faith in yourself to handle port calls on your own. The default safety valve is the ship excursions, but you do things in your hometown all the time by yourself. Why would you not when on vacation? Trust in your abilities and try it out on the first port call. If it's too scary, they will always find another seat to sell on the ship excursion (or someone will want to cancel)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It may also depend on how comfortable you are in your own solo skin.  If you land travel on your own, you know to be independent and have a good day regardless of other's input.  If you meet others to share your day with, all fine and dandy, but as there is no guarantee that sailing is going to be gregarious to a solo traveler, plan on being your own best friend this trip.  Hit the ports on your own - they are used to having independent travelers - or join a tour.  Sign up on your Roll Call here and there are bound to be other solo people signed on as well.  If there is a Meet and Greet scheduled for on board, go to it.  

It looks like you have one cruise at least under your belt, but if you aren't aware, there is a 'first time cruiser' forum to go have a look at for generic advice.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, mef_57 said:

It may also depend on how comfortable you are in your own solo skin.  If you land travel on your own, you know to be independent and have a good day regardless of other's input.  If you meet others to share your day with, all fine and dandy, but as there is no guarantee that sailing is going to be gregarious to a solo traveler, plan on being your own best friend this trip.  Hit the ports on your own - they are used to having independent travelers - or join a tour.  Sign up on your Roll Call here and there are bound to be other solo people signed on as well.  If there is a Meet and Greet scheduled for on board, go to it.  

It looks like you have one cruise at least under your belt, but if you aren't aware, there is a 'first time cruiser' forum to go have a look at for generic advice.

 

 

mef 57, thanks for your advice.  Roll Call has been particularly helpful.  Quincy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I carry a small paperback with me whenever I am out and about.  That way I can happily sit and read if there is no one that wants to chat.  I'm an introvert, so often I'm happier if no one wants to chat and I can enjoy my book! 😀

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/20/2020 at 12:29 AM, NancyW12 said:

The first, I took a huge amount of flack for on a similar previous post, but I stand by it- don't feel the need to be polite if someone wants you to do something that is for their convenience rather than your enjoyment.

Yes, some of that flack was from me:  You should always be polite, in the "civility" sense.  You can be polite and say No......there's no need to be rude.   Being polite does not mean saying 'yes', nor does it mean not being firm in what you want.

 

My best advice is to do whatever you want when you want it.   The only thing you absolutely have to take part in (i.e. do at a specific time) is the Muster Drill......everything else is optional.   Relax and enjoy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks everyone!  I am very comfortable doing things on my own.  I have been single for years.  Your advice is greatly appreciated.  Now my next fear - loving it so much I won't want to travel with my friends anymore 😂😂😂😂😂

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, coloradocruiselover88 said:

Now my next fear - loving it so much I won't want to travel with my friends anymore

I have a different 'fear'.  Loving it so much I want to go so often I can't afford to keep up the habit...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In a positive way- not to care about anything - as most of the people you will never see again- and most people (99.9%) are there to relax and don't care if you are there solo.

If you want to eat by yourself do it, talk to people do it, etc... 

Also since it's your vacation don't feel obligated to people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, I echo many of the postings on here----I have been sailing solo for 17 years and just returned from

another one:classic_biggrin:......my next one up is in April.

Doing whatever you want (or even doing nothing)…….without concern for anyone else. It is a very

freeing concept. I napped ALOT on my recent cruise...been going through some stressful stuff and

doing nothing was fabulous:classic_smile:

 

I also agree being polite is a good thing---and if you don't want to do something with someone else, a no thank

you is a nice way to answer.

 

I think you said you are comfortable in your own skin and I think that is a great thing...….I have also been on

my own for many, many years and cruising solo is the only way I go!   I love it and hope you will too:classic_smile:

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My best advice for cruising solo is..... have fun! You don't have another person to anchor (pun intended) you down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OP, your question is really vague.  What type of "best advice" are you looking for?  Is it suggestions for itineraries to go on or sites to visit?  Is it cabin selections, activity choices, and dining ideas?  Or is it psychology-type advice, like coping skills for lonely moments?

 

We're a friendly bunch here, but we also prefer to give specific advice, rather than shoot blindly.

Edited by LandlockedCruiser01

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, LandlockedCruiser01 said:

OP, your question is really vague.  What type of "best advice" are you looking for?  Is it suggestions for itineraries to go on or sites to visit?  Is it cabin selections, activity choices, and dining ideas?  Or is it psychology-type advice, like coping skills for lonely moments?

 

We're a friendly bunch here, but we also prefer to give specific advice, rather than shoot blindly.

 

thanks landlocked.  I'm in SF Bay Area - so need cruise . . . hits on port spots would be appreciated.  I've researched and have lists for independent exploration.  Quincy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, QMG said:

hits on port spots would be appreciated

 

But which ports?  Neither you nor the OP has indicated a particular itinerary that is planned or general region that is desired.  Without that info we can't make any specific suggestions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree, are you sailing the Pacific coast? What ports are you stopping in? I love SF:classic_biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, QMG said:

 

thanks landlocked.  I'm in SF Bay Area - so need cruise . . . hits on port spots would be appreciated.  I've researched and have lists for independent exploration.  Quincy

 

The only West Coast ports I've been to are Catalina and Ensenada.  In Catalina, I did a bus tour, where we saw Avalon from the mountaintop, and stopped at the Casino, which is actually a historic movie theater.  In Ensenada, I visited La Bufadora, which is an oceanic blowhole, along with a number of other sights around the city.  And I realize LA is SF's rival, but I had a great time in Long Beach the day before my cruise.  It was my first time on the West Coast.  I made it worth my while, and tried In-N-Out Burger for the first time.

 

My review (link in signature) describes all those places.

Edited by LandlockedCruiser01

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/26/2020 at 12:40 PM, LandlockedCruiser01 said:

. . .   Or is it psychology-type advice, like coping skills for lonely moments?

 

 

Since you brought it up . . . 

 

After 20-some cruises, mostly with my sister plus a few with friends, I am going solo for the first time this coming May.  It's an itinerary I am really excited about - around the British Isles - but the closer it gets, the more concerned I get about feeling lonely.   I do a lot by myself, such as visit museums or go to shows, and once I spent a week alone at a beach resort.  But this will be a long time to be alone - a 14-day cruise with one day pre-cruise and one day post-cruise, plus those long transatlantic flights.

 

I think I will be busy enough in the ports - and there a lot of them - not to feel lonely.  I am mostly taking ship-sponsored  excursions, so I will be with other people, and I expect some casual conversations about what we are seeing or doing.   But I am not sure what I will be doing during the sea days and the evenings, when my sister or my friends and I can gab for hours over coffee or wine.   

 

And then dinners - that's what I am most apprehensive about.  The cruise is on NCL, so no option for assigned seating.  For all that I do alone, going to a sit-down restaurant alone is not something I do.  

 

Any advice from the experienced solo cruisers?   I am introverted, but I don't want to spend too much time reading in my cabin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never sailed NCL but cruising solo for 17 years. I would suggest check your roll call---that can be a good

way to meet other people on your same sailing. 

Doesn't NCL have various restaurants? Talk to the Maitr'd's and let them know you would like to share a table

at dinner.   Staying in your cabin reading?  There are plenty of spots to sit out on a deck I am sure. NCL

ships are normally quite large. No reason to sit in your cabin unless you want to.

 

And evening activities? Most ships have all sorts of shows....going to see one on your own? Nobody cares

so I would not let it bother you. (If it is show you want to see).

 

A British Isles cruise sounds awesome...…..it is on my list:classic_biggrin:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Joanne G. said:

I think I will be busy enough in the ports - and there a lot of them - not to feel lonely.  I am mostly taking ship-sponsored  excursions, so I will be with other people, and I expect some casual conversations about what we are seeing or doing.   But I am not sure what I will be doing during the sea days and the evenings, when my sister or my friends and I can gab for hours over coffee or wine.   

 

And then dinners - that's what I am most apprehensive about.  The cruise is on NCL, so no option for assigned seating.  For all that I do alone, going to a sit-down restaurant alone is not something I do.  

 

Any advice from the experienced solo cruisers?   I am introverted, but I don't want to spend too much time reading in my cabin.

 

I think 3 solo cruises count as "experienced", so...

 

There should be plenty of opportunities for you to meet new people.  I met an incredibly fun group of friends in the piano bar at night.  They liked my off-the-wall comments, so they adopted me, and the rest is history.  There are also karaokes, trivia contests, and so on.  I met them on the second night (the piano bar was closed the first night), so most of my cruise turned out to be being more fun than a barrel on monkeys.  I must give props to the pianist.  He did an awesome job creating a lively social atmosphere.

 

You will have lonely moments even if you make new friends, so mentally prepare yourself.  They're most likely to come up on embarkation night, after dinner and shows ended, but before you meet people to hang out informally with.  You can preempt that by carefully reading through the activity newsletter, to find activities that have high odds of bringing people together.  Or you can just call it a night early on the first night, to avoid putting yourself in a lonely situation in the first place.

 

I wouldn't be able to help you much with dinner, since lack of assigned dining is the main reason I shy away from NCL.  I don't care if I eat breakfast or lunch alone---those meals are "utilitarian" to an extent.  But eating dinner alone feels lonely, because it's more of a social meal. Still, as Lois R pointed out, I believe the maitre d' on NCL gives you an option to share a table when you come to the MDR.  

 

Perhaps you'll find my Carnival Inspiration review useful.  (It's really more of a travelogue than a review.)  Read through it when you can.  I touched heavily on the social aspects of my solo experience, like watching out for lonely moments, filling downtime, and meeting people.  The only difference is that CCL does have assigned dining, which was a big lifesaver for me.

Edited by LandlockedCruiser01

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/27/2020 at 4:26 AM, hallux said:

 

But which ports?  Neither you nor the OP has indicated a particular itinerary that is planned or general region that is desired.  Without that info we can't make any specific suggestions.

 

Long Beach, LA, San Diego, Encenada.  thanks.  Quincy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You've gotten some very good tips.  I have been cruising a very long time (widow in 60s) -- 1st as a family and now cruising as a widow.  I've cruised on many cruise lines including NCL, but as a solo I've stuck with RCL.  My 1st solo cruise was tough.  Lots of memories, and I felt very lonely surrounded by couples & families. 

 

Worst experiences:  having an assigned  table alone in the middle of the dining room,.  I didn't get coffee, etc. while people around me received great service.  Even the photographer passed my dining room  table without offering a photo.  Someone on the cruise boards told me that the waiters etc. were probably waiting until my cruise-partner joined me, and that I should just SPEAK UP.  I took that to heart.  Next solo cruise, I wasn't shy about asking for service, asking for a different table in the dining room, etc.  It was a much better experience!  

 

By my 2nd solo cruise I also began to meet more people.  By my 3rd solo cruise, I didn't bother with the dining room at all.  Now I'm perfectly happy with my Kindle & the buffet for meals.  I  enjoy the solo experience, whether or not I meet other people.    

 

I still have had some awkward experiences when cruising solo.  For ex., on one cruise I stopped at the Pursar's desk to suggest that RCL have a large My-Time  Dining Room table for people who want to share.  I had been told on that cruise by the dining room staff that there were no shared tables, but "I could talk to people at tables next to mine since the tables were so close."  After visiting the Pursar's Desk, I was bombarded by calls to  my cabin from the Dining Room offering to "look for someone" to eat with me.  I even got a call from someone in the Social Director's staff offering to have coffee with me "if I was lonely"!  Other small problems:   I book a Jr Suite or above, and when I check in I'm usually interrogated (nicely, but I'm tired of the conversation) about why I'm alone.  Also, RCL's online system  doesn't let solos make a dinner reservation for a specialty restaurants.  I have to make a phone call and have to explain to a salesperson that I'm solo.   I wasn't offered a "Royal Up" option to upgrade as a solo.  None of these things are big deals, but they show that RCL isn't really marketing to solos.   

 

I haven't gone to the single meet-ups on RCL, which are usually scheduled at a bar during the early-dinner seating -- athough it might be entertaining for a solo Grandma to show up to meet new friends (ROFL).   Trivia is a good way to meet people.   On RCL, trivia can sometimes be a killer-competitive sport....fun to watch, but I've also seen participants who take the games waaaay too seriously.  Likewise, karaoke can be fun to watch and a good way to meet other people although often the stage is monopolized by a few performer wannabees.  That can be entertaining in its own way.    

 

So my biggest tips are...don't be shy about speaking up yourself.  Be comfortable in your own skin, whether you are surrounded by people or enjoying an opportunity to catch up on reading or the sun in solitude.  Take advantage of Meet and Mingles or other activities if you're interested in meeting lots of other people....but roll with it, no matter what happens. You're in control of your own experience, choose to have fun!!!  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with the Quark Expeditions Team!
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...