Top 10 Reasons Why I Love Cruising Solo

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Koningsdam solo oceanview stateroom
One of 12 solo staterooms aboard Holland America Koningsdam.

Cruising solo has its advantages.

Cruising solo pushes the envelope for most people.  We’re a “couples” society for the most part and those that hit the road by themselves are sometimes looked on as a bit odd. Or brave. Or adventurous. For me, the last two adjectives are the most accurate. Traveling or cruising solo doesn’t mean an all-night singles party and a singles’ cruise isn’t the same as cruising solo.

I’ve learned a lot over the years about the joys of cruising solo. I share this with you in hopes of giving you the confidence boost and enough great reasons to get you on your first solo cruise.

Segway in Bratislava
A segway tour is a great way to meet new people from all over the world. I tried it in Bratislava.

10 reasons why I prefer to cruise or travel solo.

10.  Do what you want, when you want.

No more having a long, drawn out debate. You’ve dreamed about swimming with dolphins but your Significant Travel Companion (the STC) would rather squeeze into borrowed, too-small aqua shoes and hike the waterfalls. Someone usually has to acquiesce.

9.  Meet new people everywhere you go.

One of the most revered memories I bring home after a trip are the peopleI’ve met along the way. But if your STC isn’t outgoing or worse still…doesn’t like or feel the need to socialize with total strangers but you do, you’re stuck.  There goes a valuable opportunity to meet new, possibly life-long friends. Best case scenario; you’ll both meet the same people, and you, being the social one, will simply end up lugging a dead weight around with you for the duration of the trip (the STC).  Solo travel, anyone?

Farewell dinner aboard AmaWaterways AmaLegro with my new friends.
Farewell dinner aboard AmaWaterways AmaLegro with my new friends.

8. Get invited by others to join them.

I’ve learned to request a table for one when I’m on a cruise. When I’ve asked for a table seating ten or the singles/solo table, many times I’m still seated with four newlywed couples. A table for one solves the problem very nicely.  You’ll find that people at close-by tables kind of look at you with a quizzical eye as if to ask, “why is that person dining alone?”

Be prepared because out of nowhere the maitre’d may come over and say that table so-and-so would like to know if you would join them for dinner.  You can of course accept and suddenly have eight dinner companions that actually want you to join them.

If this isn’t something you’d like to do on a nightly basis then this is the perfect opportunity to meet new people yet graciously mention that dinner is the time that you like to reflect on the day’s events or something like that.

However, it’s important to note that I’ve met lasting friendships on several long cruises this way and I gladly learned to do my day’s writing at a different time so that we could meet for cocktails and dinner.  The same can apply to shore excursions and on tour buses. Great way to meet people and you can see as much or as little of them as you’d like.

See Related:  What the Cruise Lines Don’t Want You to Know About Solo Cruising

Aboard Cunard Queen Mary 2 and my all night TV.
If you want to check your ship’s position on the television at 2am, you won’t disturb anyone!

7. Sleep with the TV on all night. 

Or nap when you want without interruption.  Need I say more.

Mom and pop restaurant in Civitavecchia
By accident, I stumbled upon this terrific local restaurant in Civitavecchia, Trattoria Sora Maria.

6.  You choose the restaurants.

One of my favorite memories is of wandering around Civitavecchia in search of a small restaurant for lunch. After passing by a Subway store and a couple of tourist joints, I found an out of the way cafe where for sure I was the only American in the place. Had I been with someone, we might have ended up at Subway or at a place mobbed with tourists.  Bring your e-reader, smartphone or something to do should you find that you feel a bit self-conscious.

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5.  Homestead without having to claim-jump. 

No more will you have to divvy up the drawers, negotiate the hangers, section the closet or create a mini-Maginot Line on the counter top.

They're all yours to use! FYI, aboard the Ruby Princess, hangers are actually detachable from the closet rod.
They’re all yours to use! FYI, aboard the Ruby Princess, hangers are actually detachable from the closet rod.

Hang up all of your clothes, if you wish. Line up your toiletries in the bathroom instead of always rummaging through your hanging tote kit.  Totally unpack for the duration and not have to fold and stack half of your clothes on closet shelves.

Bathroom with plenty of countertop
Bathroom with plenty of countertop for all my toiletries, aboard the Norwegian Sun.

4. Take your time in the bathroom.

Whatever you’re doing in there, take your time. Take a longer shower after a strenuous day exploring ancient ruins. You won’t have to worry about putting anyone out to have to find a public bathroom either! And no more hearing, “Are you almost finished in there?”

Read next: Norwegian Epic Solo Studio Staterooms

3. The electric plugs are all yours.

Two people traveling together usually means one laptop, two cameras, two phones and two phone chargers, maybe a tablet or e-reader and on and on.  Usually there are only two or three available outlets to use to charge eight or nine devices.  No more having to do rock, paper, scissors to see who gets to charge what electronic device first. They’re all yours!

Purse shopping in Italy
Assessing my purchases after a day ashore in Civitavecchia.

2.  Look over all of your terrific stuff you’ve bought.

You can display and admire all of your shoreside purchases on the empty bed or sofa. Shopping for woolens in Norway? Maracas in Mexico? Italian leather in, well, Italy? It’s so much fun to unpack your treasures and set them out while you decide who will get what souvenir when you get home.

Party time with towel animals.
Party time with the towel animals! Wait…what?

1. And my number one, totally ridiculous reason to cruise solo?

You can party with your towel animals!  If you haven’t cruised lately, the towel animals that your room attendant leaves on your bed at night are getting pretty fancy. At one time, the towel monkey on a hanger attached to a ceiling tile was considered extreme.

Now there are elephants, ducks, manta rays and pigs with snouts and googly eyes. It’s actually fun to set up a display and take a photo of all of them on the last night of your cruise. And no one to say, “Oops! So that’s where my towel is!” and destroy the terrycloth critter.

N.B. If you find yourself carrying on a lengthy conversation with any of these adorable yet inanimate creatures, maybe you’re just not cut out for cruising solo.

Yes, I’ve gotten a little silly here with the towel animals, but only to emphasize my point.  Solo travel, whether by choice or necessity, isn’t for everyone.  I’ve known people who would rather fall off the earth than even sit in a restaurant by themselves let alone take an escorted tour or a cruise.

But if you should ever try it, you’ll find that cruising solo instills confidence and will drag you out of your comfort zone. Solo travel imparts a sense of wonder and satisfaction in knowing that you could actually go it alone and have the most wonderful time ever.

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13 Comments

  1. Sherry Laskin
    Author
    July 22, 2014 / 4:23 pm

    Thanks very much, Charles. Maybe one day you’ll try a solo cruise!

  2. July 22, 2014 / 9:18 am

    Party with the towel animals! Awesome.

    I have not cruised solo but I often take solo road trips.

    Great stuff, Sherry.

  3. Sherry Laskin
    Author
    July 16, 2014 / 11:04 am

    Hi Cathy,
    Congratulations on your first solo adventure…and an adventure it was! Glad to know that more women (married or not) are venturing out on their own. Have a great time on your 60th Med trip!

    Sherry

  4. Cathy McDaniel
    July 4, 2014 / 3:07 am

    LOVED your article! It went well past the standard ‘list of 10’. I had my first solo trip hiking the Inca trail to Manchu Peru in 2013 and was happy with how great a time I had… especially considering it was a true adventure trip. I’m looking at a solo cruise for my 60th birthday to the Mediterranean in 2015….love my husband more than words can say but you described him to a “T” in your article. I’m getting excited!

  5. Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin)
    Author
    September 9, 2012 / 9:42 am

    Hi Judi,
    Thank you for taking the time to read the article and I’m glad it resonated with your past experiences. Cruise lines usually charge some percentage of single supplement unless there is a promotion..usually it’s the luxury lines that have it. Not a lot of revenue in solo cabins, but nice that the Norwegian Epic has 128 of them plus a dedicated lounge for their Studio Cabin guests.
    Mahalo and happy travels.
    Sherry

  6. Judith
    September 9, 2012 / 2:44 am

    I loved your article. I’ve been traveling solo for about 2o years. Before I became a travel professional, I had to travel for international business. So my trips were business with side leisure time. I loved it! I did one cruise solo ( I don’t cruise much because the cruise lines doubled the price , even though I was a “travel partner”) and at first people looked at me strange. But I loved it because I was able to do all the things you mentioned in your ten points. RE: cruise lines…….according to you they are now offering solo cabins…it’s a whole market they definitely by passed for years. Mahalo

  7. August 12, 2012 / 12:57 pm

    I think travelling makes all the sense, why bother with the extra baggage.

  8. Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin)
    Author
    June 10, 2012 / 8:26 am

    Hi Jools,
    So you travel with a visible rabbit…guess that is better than the invisible Harvey! Now I’m trying to decide which of my little stuffies will accompany me this year. Thanks for reminding me. And for reading and commenting on this article.
    Regards,
    Sherry

  9. June 9, 2012 / 1:07 pm

    Towel animals!! I never even knew there was such a thing, how fabulous! I don’t travel solo much myself and never for very long, I’m just not built for it, but whenever I do I always take my cuddly rabbit Harvey with me and prop him up on the pillows. When I come back to the room after a day’s exploring I always ask him how his day was. His antics are often more adventurous than mine!

  10. Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin)
    Author
    May 26, 2012 / 12:17 pm

    Hi Colleen, thanks for your enthusiastic comment! In fact, the photo with the purses and the one of the Italian restaurant were taken while I was traveling solo aboard the MSC Splendida in the Yacht Club.

    Best, Sherry

  11. May 26, 2012 / 12:13 pm

    How fun! So many people think that they can’t go on a cruise or other vacation by themselves, but there’s no reason to wait! A cruise offers solo travelers plenty of time to relax, but also the opportunity to meet new friends.

  12. Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin)
    Author
    May 25, 2012 / 10:57 am

    Hi Murray – thanks so much for your comment. So good to hear that my rantings made sense! I am starting to carry with me a little mascot, too. Very true about spontaneous computering…it’s no fun trying to type quietly by a tiny reading light and worrying about disturbing the STC. Happy travels!

    Sherry

  13. CruiseExplorer
    May 25, 2012 / 9:28 am

    I travel solo often for both business and pleasure – by air, ship, motorcycle and/or car – and love it for all the reasons you described, but mostly so I can go where I want, when I want to go there. If I feel like blogging at 04:30 (which I often do), I don’t have to go to the ship library or try to find a cafe so I don’t disturb my STC. And nobody gives me a hard time about carrying a Beanie Baby husky with me everywhere and taking pictures of him 🙂 LOL, I just noticed that he even Googles well as “Nanook sees the world” !

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