CRUISE THE PLANET
Solo travelers have some unique travel challenges. With few exceptions, cruise lines charge them double the fare paid when two occupy a stateroom. Dining, drinking and dancing bring images of a table for one, alone with a bottle; politely applauding couples on the dance floor. Gregarious singles can find or create a party anywhere, but others rely on group activities and planned events to meet others, if they so desire. It’s a world that can lack companionship, things to look forward to and tax deductions that paired others enjoy. Still, there are bright spots and more help is on the way.
Group Opportunities That Level The Playing Field
Cruise travelers often find themselves in a group for one reason or another. Often that group is more solo-oriented than other travel situations. Playing a slot machine on a big ship casino comes to mind. Slot freaks get to know each other rather quickly as machines rattle, chime and big wins turn heads. Later in the sailing, when seeing one of those people in the hallway, I introduce them as one of my “slot friends”.
For some people, there is nothing better than a group yoga class on deck at 5am. Active solo travelers can make friends easily and share their knowledge and love of yoga with others in the class. The same can be said for art auctions, deck games and the like on big ships or sticking close to the tour guide on a river cruise, peppering them with questions.
Cruise Lines That Actually Want Solo Travelers
There are a few. Norwegian Cruise Line, for example, has Solo Studio accommodations located to a solo-specific lounge to enable meeting and enjoying the company of other single travelers.
A number of cruise lines will remove the single supplement paid by solo travelers, discounting what they might pay at one time or another, usually close to sailing in order to fill unsold cabins.
Cruise Lines That Go Above And Beyond
Cunard Line for quite some time, has offered male partners for solo travelers as has Crystal Cruises
Crystal Cruises recently added Ambassador Hostesses on select cruises, expanding its onboard dancing program already in place with male hosts provided for female guests. Female counterparts will debut on three Ballroom at Sea Experiences of Discovery voyages in 2014 and 2015.
Along with eight male dance hosts (double the usual number), the Trans-Atlantic sailings will each feature two Ambassador Hostesses to cha cha, swing, and waltz with solo gentlemen during evening dance sets, live orchestra performances and dance classes in the ships’ posh lounges.
Individual Determination Makes A Big Difference
We can often choose to be in a good mood, happy and have a positive outlook on the day. That’s anyone. We really can get up in the morning, think (or better yet, say out loud) “I’m going to have a great day”, and the odds of that happening increase. We don’t have to be part of a couple or family to make that decision. When solo travelers step on to a cruise ship, there are a number of opportunities for them to change their situation. Solo-specific meet and greets are popular on ships, at resorts and other travel venues to help singles identify others in their comparatively precarious position.
For more on Solo Travel, check these resources
- Best Countries For Solo Travel – Travel + Leisure Magazine
- Solo Travel Tours– Abercrombie and Kent
- Traveling Alone- Where and How– Solo Traveler
- Best Cruise Lines For Solo Travel – CruiseCritic.com