Even though travelling solo has become increasingly popular, it may come as a surprise that the same can be said for cruising alone. While many imagine a cruise to be the type of holiday taken by couples or small groups of friends, there are also numerous people who are choosing to take a voyage on their own.
As the ship acts as a luxury floating hotel, it has all the social aspects of a package holiday, but has the added advantage of being able to offer multiple locations in just one trip. This means that you will have to do minimal travelling on your own, while getting to meet other cruisers as you sail along your river of choice.
Taking a holiday such as a European river cruise alone may appear daunting at first, but for those that would like to try solo cruising, we’ve put together some tips from the experts so that you have the confidence to give it a go.
Get to know your fellow cruisers
While it will be possible to head on a cruise and keep yourself to yourself, those that want to make friends whilst on board will be able to do so easily, especially when travelling on a smaller river cruise ship. There will still be plenty of space, but as there are less dining areas and bars, there should be more opportunities for talking with those who are travelling on the ship too. Not forgetting the staff, who are incredibly friendly, and will endeavour to keep you entertained.
“Be prepared to mingle with other passengers and take the opportunity to make new friends.” – Zoe, blogger at The Quirky Traveller
Make the most of your time alone
Alone time can often be a rarity for those of us with hectic lives, and cruising solo offers the perfect opportunity to relax and read, or sit on deck while enjoying the sunshine and the peace and quiet. You’ll also have your cabin to yourself, where you can always retire to after a day spent exploring the ports of call, or an evening spent making the most of the cruise ships facilities.
“I always bring a big stack of books to read, and am happy as can be. Cruises are the most relaxing kind of vacation, because once you're on the ship, you don't have to worry about anything. I've always felt safe, too, aboard ship and on excursions. And I always have a wonderful vacation!” – Diane, at Thoughts, Tips and Tales
“Have a good book, your iPad, kindle or some other device to occupy quieter times on board ship.” – Zoe, blogger at The Quirky Traveller
Do what you want to do
One of the best parts of travelling by yourself is that you don’t need to make any sacrifices to keep anybody else happy. You can take the holiday at your desired pace, choosing to see what you want to see, or instead doing as little as you wish.
“I've been going on cruises for about 20 years now -- have gone with my family, friends and boyfriends, but after cruising alone once - I was hooked. You get to do whatever you want 24 hours a day! You can eat when you want, sleep late, lie by the pool, do onboard activities, go on shore excursions, attend shows, and more.” – Diane at Thoughts, Tips and Tales
“Choose your tour/itinerary carefully to ensure you're interested in the places/route you're taking. Say yes to excursions and trips that you might otherwise not get the opportunity to try if you were with partner/family/friends who might want to do something different.” – Zoe, blogger at The Quirky Traveller
Embrace the experience
When on a deluxe river cruise in 2015, you’ll have the option to take advantage of a variety of different experiences, allowing you to immerse yourself in the culture of each country you visit. Not only will you be treated like a VIP, but you’ll also get to see some incredible sites that are either exclusive or hard to find anywhere else.
“Cruising is the best "bang for the buck" because for one price you get a lovely room, steward service, good meals, entertainment, transportation and more. Just can't beat it!” – Diane, at Thoughts, Tips and Tales
Go with an open mind and enjoy the chance to meet new people and have time to yourself. River cruising is a great way to see lots of different places without having to bother about mode of transport. You can get to know your fellow passengers more easily on a river boat than big cruise ships where there are thousands of passengers. You wake up in a different place every day. You're less likely to get a rocky ride, unlike cruise ships at sea. Great way to holiday as a solo traveller.”
“Come back enriched and learned! Travelling alone will give you the opportunity to enrich yourself both on and off the ship. Cultural visits to new countries will help you understand the lives of the locals, and on-board seminars, lectures and classes can teach you new skills.” – Emily Luxton Travels
Just give it a try!
Now that you’ve read just how fantastic cruising alone can be, we’re sure that you’re tempted to book a solo cruise, but if you need any further persuasion, Diane has one last piece of advice.
“I talked a single friend into cruising alone and she loves it as much as I do. If you haven't travelled solo, give it a try! There are always people around who you can chat with, if you want, and I've always found women to hang out with on excursions who left their husband back on the ship.” – Diane, at Thoughts Tips and Tales
Image Credit: elitatt, Roderick Eime, Andy Nash (Flickr.com), Thoughts, Tips and Tales
This content was written by Angela Sloan. Please feel free to visit my Google+ Profile to read more stories.