I won't touch on every detail on my cruise experience, but will try to hit the highlights and give information that I feel pertain as a single traveler. I'm 41, single and have been on one previous cruise, the Carnival Inspiration this past January with a single girlfriend. We had a great time and as I couldn't find anyone who wanted to go again. I decided to this on my own. I had never taken a vacation by myself so this was an adventure for me, and though I experienced pretrip anxiety about going it alone, ( I really thought that I had lost my mind and common sense for doing this after everything was set and paid for!) it did turn out well, and most of my fears were unfounded. The main reasons that I choose cruising as my vacation of choice as a single is for several reasons. First being female, I feel much safer going it alone on a cruise ship then if I were to fly to a foreign country and stay at a resort by myself. Plus you have the advantages like all cruisers, you unpack one time, the entertainment is right within reach and you don't have to worry where you are going to eat. At least as a single cruiser, I know I will have dining mates to talk to.
One thing about going it alone, you have to make an effort to be sociable. This doesn't come extremely easy for me. But I've learned the more you practice at it, such as introducing yourself to strangers, or striking up a conversation at the bar, the easier it gets. You just have to be determined! For example, the first thing that I did when I sat down to dinner the first night was to introduce myself to everyone and ask everyone's names and where they were from. I think the more relaxed and friendly you try to be, people will naturally respond to that. You have to make the effort to participate in the at least some of the activities. Don't be shy about going to the shows by yourself. Find a single seat, say hello and sit right down next to someone and then enjoy yourself! I didn't participate in any of the activities on the lido deck for the main reason I'm a little too old and not my cup of tea. Another thing that I would do was after dressing for dinner, I would go to the bar next to the casino and participate in happy hour. This was a great time to strike up a conversation with whoever might be sitting next to you. I really met some nice people this way (unfortunately none of them single
. My other favorite was the piano bar. Many people in my age group, and I sat right up front with the rest of them. As all of you are sitting circular and the singer is in the middle, you don't feel as if you're invading any couple's space and you dont' have to sit by yourself. Everyone is sitting together. This lounge turned out to be great fun. If you feel a little intimidated walking into a lounge full of strangers, stop by for happy hour first. After a couple of drinks, it won't bother you as much..
. One thing about a cruise ship, there are plenty of opportunities to meet people. If you are on the shy side, take a deep breathe and just do it. Great opening questions are naturally where are you from and have you cruised before? I talked to many people on this cruise and not once did someone act like they didn't want to talk.
Cabin - For this cruise I opted to do the single/share program. I was apprehensive about this and I realized fully that it might not work out, however, I was very determined to go on a cruise! I'm also consider myself a very easy going person and tolerant. I usually just go with the flow. There was that chance I might not have a roommate, But I had prepared myself as if I would have a roommate. I went online and bought one of those travel safes so if my roommate used the room safe, then I would have a place to store my money and valuables. I booked a 1A cabin guarantee and that is exactly the cabin I received. However, on the Triumph the 1A's are fantastic! There was one bed on the floor and a sofa that made into a bed. Also, there were two porthole windows and the room was huge. Much larger than the 1A I had on the Inspiration. We also had bathrobes in the room. I would definitely book this room over any cat 4 room and probably even an outside cabin (unless of course it had a balcony!)
Fortunately for me. my roommate turned out just fine. She was 10 yrs younger than me, a teacher, and she had come with her family We had opposite dining times and she spent most of her time at the pool, so each of us had plenty of privacy. It worked out that we normally came in at night at the same time and like to get up at the same time. She was truely a very nice and decent person. Whew, I couldn't have been more lucky! However, I can easily see how this could have turned into that worse case scenerio, so in the future, I will book a cabin to myself.
Dining - there were definitely some pros and cons to the dining situation. I had some very deversed table mates which made for very interesting dining. It's so true, no one should discuss politics among strangers! At times, it would get pretty heated and lively, but I think all of us had fun. Most of my tablemates were not people that I would probably form long lasting friendships with, but we were all different ages, came from all walks of life and a range of professions. I found it fascinating. Most were from the north and northeast and one from California. Never, until this time, had I been self conscious of my southern accent
Now the con to the dining situation. I've mentioned this as a complaint regarding singles in another post here. Our singles table had been banished (sorry but that's how it felt to me!) to the very back of the dining room, between the waitstations, right inside the rear door which was next to the elevators. The lighting was terrible here and this area did not feel like we were a part of the main dining room. I know I could have switched, but as a single cruiser, it was more important to me to have that opportunity to socialize with other singles, so I kept this table. In retrospect, I should have changed. I had the 8:45 seating and we had brand new wait staff that were extremely inexperienced. I could go on and on with everything that went wrong, but remember when I said I was tolerant, well this experienced really tested that characteristic of mine. The final straw was when the last night, we didn't get done with dinner until 11:00 p.m., service was extremely slow and orders more often than not were wrong. I know this doesn't happen on every cruise and at every table. I heard many positive comments about the dining experience on the Triumph from other passengers. I'm just dissapointed it happened to our table
Things you should do as a single: Book your excursions through the ship instead of going it alone. This will provide the opportunity to meet people plus you are doing something you like with others who like doing it too. I met a very nice gentleman my first cruise this way
. No, no romance, but we did pal around together the rest of the cruise. On the Triumph, if you're brave enough, participate in the Karaoke or at least go and watch, it was a lot of fun. This wasn't a couple's oriented event and you won't feel strange being there alone. Also go to the shows, I stayed away from the Newlywed game and the couples and lovers party..don't think I would have fit in there..lol. But the shows at night were great and you will have a good time. Do go to the Piano bar, I had some of my best times in there. The only times I felt a little uncomfortable was going to the Captains' party and the Carnival repeat passengers party. I couldn't find other people alone that I could walk up to and strike up a conversation, everyone there was paired. So I headed back to my favorite happy hour bar where they were others who must have felt the same way I did..lol.
I've mentioned in other posts that I wish the cruise lines would make more effort to bring the singles together. There was one singles get together on the first night which was at midnight! I went, no one was there, not even a social host. I would like to see several get togethers and activities during the week that bring singles together. We just need the avenue and we can take it from there. I would like to see at the Welcome Aboard show, the CD to welcome the singles, have everyone stand and give a big yahooo (I know maybe a little cheesy, but at least you can scout out quickly who is single!
) announce when the get togethers are and encourage them to go. Most people weren't even aware of the get together because the only mention was in the Carnival Capers the first day. On the first day, most people are confused, exhausted and still trying to get their sea legs, I'm sure most everyone is not taking the time to read the one line announcement they provide.
Other than the dining fiasco, as a whole, I had a positive cruise experience. I really did enjoy those times to myself. I could go lay on the padded deck lounge on deck 3 in the shade, nap and read whenever I wanted to. There are positives about going by yourself, you can do whatever and whenever you want.
Sorry for this being so long, if you have any questions, just ask!