Will I Be Bored Sailing Solo? (Part 2) by Rita M. Ippoliti, CruiseMates Assistant Editor July 20, 2009
It's a needless concern that has kept many individuals from booking a cruise.
Don't be Afraid to Ask: "May I Join You?"
How many of us have searched in vain for a table in the Lido on embarkation day? I've circled the entire room with my tray of food, searching in vain for an empty table where I could eat. After about my third cruise, it dawned on me: Why do I need an empty table? Many tables have plenty of empty chairs. So now I don't hesitate to ask others, "Mind if I Join You?" Rarely will anyone protest, and if they do you simply smile and move along.
I've done the same thing in bars and lounges, and outside by the pool. If I want to sit down for a bit, I look for a larger table only occupied by a couple of people and I settle in there. I meet a lot of people that way, and sometimes I form friendships that come in handy further along in the cruise, like when I am looking for someone to share a shore excursion with. Maybe our conversation earlier in the week focused on our mutual enjoyment of snorkeling -- now I have someone to ask about joining me on that snorkeling shore excursion.
Another "advantage," if you want to call it that, is that I enjoy being a smoker. Most cruise ships today offer few public areas where one can light up. Smokers are all thrown together, and we quickly learn that if we want some company or someone to share a conversation with, we only have to head to the "smoker's hangout" and we'll find someone. Often we smokers become very close over the course of the cruise, and I have found the dastardly habit holds a major advantage for me in this regard.
I'm not suggesting anyone take up smoking, but if you already do smoke, you might as well make it work to your advantage.
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Choose Your Cruise Line and Ship Wisely
Some people will say the ship doesn't matter, but I say it does. The single cruiser has a better chance of meeting others on a smaller ship than on one that carries 3,500 or more passengers. Why?
Because the larger ship has so many nooks and crannies that if you meet someone in a certain bar or lounge on the first day, chances are you won't see them again for the duration of the sailing. There are too many venues onboard for you to have a good chance of building a friendship with them.
If you really want to sail solo on a megaship, get the cabin numbers of anyone that you'd like to see again during the week. Otherwise, you probably won't run into them again.
And make sure the cruise line you select meets your personality. If you enjoy lots of good conversation in a quiet environment, a Carnival or Royal Caribbean megaship may not be your best choice. But if you like a high energy environment, with something always going on, you probably don't want to choose a Holland America ship.
Time Your Cruise Wisely
Singles generally don't do well on holiday or popular summertime cruises, because these tend to draw lots of families. You'll be surrounded by small nuclear families and large multi-generational families, and the focus will be on family bonding -- grandparents who live on the other side of the country from their grandkids, or brothers and sisters who haven't seen each other in several years. Groups like that have no interest in meeting new people. They just want to spend time with each other, and with a large group they can always find someone who shares their interests right from within their own crowd. Even if some of them are single, they won't necessarily be interested in sharing activities with an outsider.
I try to take longer cruises with more sea days, and thus more opportunities to relax and meet people. I realize that not everyone has the time for a three- or four-week cruise, and the single cruiser can certainly meet others during the shorter ones, but I find meeting other singles a bit easier on longer sailings.