I went on a cruise solo some years back and it wasn't a very memorable experience. It wasn't horrible, but it certainly couldn't be classified as fun. I thought I had an open mind, but the ship was so huge I never really had a chance to meet anyone.
I even signed up for the single share, but as my cabin mate was on the "make" so to speak, we never saw each other. At dinner, they put a chair at the end of an 8 person table for me. 3 honeymoon couples & 1 on their 1st anniversary. They were all very nice & invited me to do things with them but I declined. (Would you want a stranger hanging around on your honeymoon???)
Anyway, I think I want to do it again, but would like some advice from other solo cruisers. So, that was the longest week of my life. It was so crowed that I could barely find a deck chair during the day. (don't get me started on that) I just sort of wandered around the ship while at sea & went off on my own during shore excursions. That was the highlight, I took my time seeing things and walking around or shopping. But, on board it was really different. Except for dinner I did room service since I really didn't want to eat alone. After the 3rd morning I realized my dinner tablemates didn't go to the dining room for breakfast & the waiter seemed like it was a real bother for him to just serve me.
There were some singles rum parties, but I was too old for those then so I'm definitely not in for them now. Was I missing something the last time? Before I shell out the $ for another cruise I'd just like to hear how you all make out.
I'm pretty new to cruising and travelling on my own. Last May I took a 2 week Alaska cruise. I would rate the trip a solid 'B+'. In three weeks I'm doing a one week NY/NE-Canada around the time I visit my parents in NY.
I found that the open seatings and buffets were a nice way to connect with people. I'd just go to the buffet and sit at a table with one other person. Usually I had some nice meal conversations
that way. I was also placed at a large table with couples. Everyone was very nice but I was hoping to meet other singles. So I asked the head waiter for another seat assignment and by the 3rd night I was at a table with other singles. I also pushed myself to be a 'joiner'. I'd look at the program each day and attend at least one/two social activities. So far I've picked cruises that are somewhat port intensive. I like doing walking tours off the ship then exploring around on my own later in the day.
I think this is a great topic and I hope we hear from others. Good luck in whatever you decide.
Delen, I am sorry you did not enjoy your solo cruise. Sometimes even with the best of efforts a cruise just does not turn out the way we would like, but I hope your experience does not keep you from trying again. At least on your next cruise you will have an idea of what works and what doesn't.
Be sure to read all my articles on singles cruises, and if you have any specific questions, please e-mail me, and I will do everything I can to help.
My first cruise wasn't a swinging singles experience either. But, I was really young as it was my graduation present to myself. (that was back when you didn't have to be 21 to cruise alone) I also had a limited budget so I shopped by price. Big mistake! It didn't take long to realize that Julie McCoy was not going to seak me out to see if I was doing alright.
I read one of those cruise guide books but really didn't understand how important it is to select the right ship and right cruise line for you. Unfortunately, I also didn't realize that a really good TA is essential. Mine was a dud and really didn't bother asking any questions. I let him pick the ship & the itinerary. Like you, I was hurded onto a huge ship and sort of left to fend for myself.
That was then. Now, I have read the different message boards carefully, ordered just about every cruise brochure available, read reviews of other passengers, and considered what works for me. I even email people who have posted reviews to get as much information as possible about what I might expect.
The reason we select a cruise vacation is just as important as how much we want to spend or where we want to go. All of my friends are married or on the verge & have very different work schedules or financial situations than I. So, to cruise is to cruise alone for me. I don't mind it at all. Except the single supplement, but there are ways around that as well.
Even though I can afford it, there are some cruise lines I will not select. The ultra luxury almost insure I will be in a small number depending on the time of year. The mass market mega ships, spell desaster as well. So, I opt for a happy medium of the smaller of the high end/premium lines with unsual ports. Also, I must travel off season because of work & have longer time to travel. That means the bulk of my cruise mates will be older, retired, couples or widow(ers).
But, now I cruise because I want to get away & relax. The ports aren't all that important as they sort of blend together in one region. And, it doesn't matter if anyone talks to me at all. As long as there's an empty deck chair, 80 degree weather & plenty of pineapple juice, the ship would have to pretty much sink to ruin my vacation.
Like Delen, I was the only single at my table & didn't know I could ask to have that changed. Now I do & have requested a singles table. Even though I eat out alone a lot at home & don't feel self conscious at all, I am not ready to choose a ship with open seating. (I feel there's something midly pathetic about doing that on a vacation that I can't seem to over come) But, I know that Seabourn treats single passengers with kid gloves. They pre-arrange for you to have dinner with at least one officer every night & you are all but guarenteed to sit at the Captain's table once. Other lines aren't as sensitive.
If you think you can handle a stranger as a cabin mate (I can't) sign up for the single share programs. That way you'll be assured of at least speaking to another person at least once a day. Stay away from the casinos or bingo at first. Those are solitary sports. Try the shuffle board, trivia, or dance lessons. Also, select your cabin carefully using the online or printed deck plans. I can't swear its like this for every ship, but yesterday I was looking at one ship's plans & happen to notice that the Cruise Director's cabin was marked on it and was right in the middle of other cabins. Maybe booking something a few doors down would be good. That way you could always stop buy, introduce yourself as a single passenger & they would probably look out for you.
Finally, consider a cruise that begins with a day or 2 a sea. That way everyone is stuck on the ship. As there never seem to be enough chairs, people are probably particpating in the group activities & you may meet someone. And, go to the shore excursions desk. If they are nice, someone MIGHT be able to tell you if there are any solo passengers booked for certain excursions & you could pick one of those. Even if there aren't & you decide to take a ship's excursion, make sure to tell the tour director that you are traveling alone as soon as you begin. You'd be surprised how nice some of them are.
Sorry this was so long, but I understand what you are going through as I had a similar experience my first time out. Others may have better info than I, but keep reaching out on the boards. Cruising is a fun & inexpensive way to travel even for a solo passenger.
How do you meet people? It usually starts with saying "Hello" then you can go on from there. I know it sound simplistic but all relationships have to start somewhere and most importantly have to be initiated by someone. Here are a few tips. When you get on the ship, ask where the Maitre'd is to check your dining assignment. The MD will almost always be able to tell you the makeup of your table. If you're at a table with couples ask for a table with singles if he can't oblige go to another dining room if possible. If you have to look for a table yourself and reqest to be seated there. DON'T do room service, just missed a chance to meet someone, go to an alternate eating place. Check the plan of the day for singles parties, sometimes they have two or more for different age groups. Another activity to look for is are the dance lessons they ALWAYS need men. When they post the photos of people coming on the ship look for the pictures with 1 person. Make sure your picture is taken by yourself. I only have two things to say on choosing a cruise line and a ship, try for a cruise that is not port intensive, people go to bed early when they have a shore excusion the next day. The other and most important thing is to go to the Carribean. Alaska is daytime cruising for old farts, I know I've been there. The Carribean is for partying. The most important thing to remember is 'You won't see these people again'
Everything everyone has said here is very good advice! I'm leaving for my first solo cruise in three weeks Thanks for all the tips. Another thing that I've found helpful is to post on cruise message boards when and what ship you are sailing on and that you're traveling solo. Another single lady who also is traveling the same time I am, posted here at Cruise Mates. We've been emailing back and forth and plan to meet up with each other on the ship.
I have met some great people at the airport waiting for the bus to the ship, in line waiting to board the ship and at the Muster Drill. I have traveled solo several times and never had trouble meeting people.
You just take the initative, say hello, ask a question, or just comment on something that is going on around you.
I just returned from my first cruise which composed mostly of couples and families. Nevertheless, I found it to be enjoyable and I learned that I will go on singles' cruises from now on. I was hesitant to go on a singles' cruise because I did not want anyone to think I was a desperate 51 y o woman on the prowl.
My experiences were similar to Delen's, however, I could see the possibilities if I were on a cruise with people who were also single.
The day that I returned from my cruise, I went online and found this site. I plan to plan my cruises differently from here on out. And this site will be my guidance.