Cruising Solo Onboard the Loveboat

Yes, you read that right friends! I recently returned from my first solo cruise with Princess Cruises, on board the Emerald Princess. Who wouldn’t want to cruise solo on the ship that is known to us baby boomers as the Loveboat? You gotta love being in the midst of all of that love in the air. This was my fifth cruise with Princess, but my first solo cruise, and boy it was fantastic!

Solo (or Singles) Supplement

What is a singles supplement?

A singles supplement is an additional charge to solo travellers which is typically charged by the cruise line or resort.  It is assumed that two people will be occupying a cabin or room.

If you are travelling solo, whether on a cruise or an all-inclusive resort, it is important to determine if a singles supplement will be added to your bill (this can be up to double the cost).

cruising-solo-safety

With the growing number of solo cruisers, many of the cruise lines have converted a certain number of their inside rooms to accommodate the solo cruiser.  With these solo rooms, the singles supplement has either been reduced or waived altogether.  Many of the cruise lines have gone one step further, and have added a room where solo cruisers can gather for coffee, tea and snacks, or just to hang out and meet other solo cruisers.  Unfortunately,  Princess has not yet jumped on board and begun to offer solo cruise packages.

Solo Cabin or Balcony Cabin

When booking your cruise, you will have to determine whether you want an inside cabin or a balcony cabin.  Most ships have not converted their balcony cabins to solo rooms yet, and will charge the singles supplement.  That is not to say that you can’t get a balcony room for a good price, it will just take patience and flexibility.

PRO TIP:  Do you have a tendency to get sea-sick?  Choose a room as close to the middle of the ship as possible to limit the motion of the ship.

My personal preference when cruising, is to book a balcony cabin. This does cause a problem when taking price into consideration, as balcony rooms can be substantially more expensive. Even more so when travelling solo. If you don’t spend a lot of time on your balcony, or if you don’t mind hanging out in one of the many public areas, then there is certainly nothing wrong with an inside cabin, and in fact, I would recommend that you do book the inside cabin. I tend to enjoy relaxing on my balcony, and taking in the peace and quiet with a glass of wine in hand, while reading a book.

PRO TIP: Princess allows each passenger of age to bring 1 bottle of wine on board. Ensure that you take advantage of this, as the price of wine on the ship can be expensive.

the-good-and-bad-of-cruising-solo
The serenity sailing through the inside passage of Alaska can’t be beat!

My most recent, and first solo cruise, was the Alaskan Inside Passage. It was a dream come true for me! In order to be in a position to afford the higher than normal rates, I frequently visited the Princess website. There are always promotions and sales on certain sailings. I finally hit the jackpot.

  • Canadian money at par for booking
  • $50.00 shipboard credit per person
  • Upgrade on location of my room
  • Pre-paid daily tips

I immediately contacted my travel agent to get it booked before I missed out. In order to make my dream come true, I kept an open mind and I researched other cruise lines who offered solo rates. How excited was I when I managed to get my dream vacation on the Loveboat for a much lower rate.

PRO TIP: The trick is to be patient and watch for price drops or promotions. You eventually will find a cruise that fits your budget, and if you are lucky you may even find one with additional perks. Princess often will have promotions that include prepaid tips, on board spending credits, etc.

Security

As a solo traveller, security is always at the forefront of my mind.  Even though I have travelled solo to many countries, I had never cruised solo before; however, having cruised many times with companions, I knew what to expect as far as the security of cruising solo.  In fact, if you want to step into the world of solo travel, I would highly recommend that you begin your journey by taking a solo cruise.

Since I was very familiar with the Princess cruise line, I was not in the least apprehensive about cruising solo. I always felt safe and never alone. How can you feel alone with over 3,000 people on board? The security to board the ship was much like being at an airport, so I felt secure in knowing that all passengers had been cleared by customs, as well as by the ship’s security team. Boarding can be hectic and overwhelming to put it frankly. In the past, I have always arrived at the port a few hours prior to sailing and the wait seemed endless. This time, I arrived at 2:30, two hours before sailing, and I was in my room, on my balcony, with a glass of wine in hand within an hour.

PRO TIP: Fly to your port destination the day before and don’t rush to the port on the day of sailing.

safest-cities to-travel-alone-and-cruise-alone
One of the safest cities in Canada to travel solo

Eating Alone

If you have read my previous blogs, you will know that for me the worst part of travelling solo are mealtimes. At no time during my cruise did I feel uncomfortable going into the restaurants alone. There were so many choices and I honestly wanted to try them all. For breakfast every morning, I took advantage of the free 24 hour room service, and had my cereal and coffee on my balcony. This was always my favourite part of the day. I did order room service one other time for dinner and it was fantastic! Princess offers Anytime Dining for dinners, which allows you to eat anytime between 5:15 and 10:00. There is no preset dining time. You also have the option of dining with others or on your own. I usually opted for eating with others, as I am social like that lol. During the entire cruise, I only once had to say Just One, and that was the one night that I opted to dine alone.  If the thought of eating alone intimidates you, follow these 10 tips which should make eating alone a lot easier.

  • TIP:  If I could offer all service personnel one piece of advice, it would be to never assume that there is more than one if only one person arrives.

It is insulting to the customer and may cause him or her never to return.

PRO TIP: Go to the restaurants as soon as they open or right before they close in order to avoid the lineups and wait times.

order-room-service-when-eating-alone
If you find eating along intimidating, opt for room service!

Princess Cruises offers the following eating options:

  • Anytime Dining:  this allows you to eat in the restaurant at anytime between 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.  You will have the option of eating alone, or joining others.  Dress code is smart casual.
  • Set Dining:  this is a great option if you tend to prefer routine and consistency.  You will have a choice of your time of dining, and you will be paired with dining partners.  You will dine at the same time and with the same people every evening.
  • Specialty Dining:  each of the Princess ships offers specialty dining, which can include pasta, steak and/or seafood.  Reservations are required, and I HIGHLY recommend that these reservations be made prior to embarkation, as they fill up fast.  There is a cover charge at the specialty dining restaurants.  Prices vary, but it is typically around $25.00 per person.  Dress code is smart casual.
  • Buffet:  the buffet is the perfect place to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, if you want to grab a quick bite and don’t want to get all dolled up.  Dress code is casual, but bathing suits must be covered and sandals must be worn.
  • Fast Food:  There are various fast food options scattered throughout the ship.  If you want to remain at the pool, you can grab pizza, hamburgs, hotdogs, fries, icecream, etc. without having to get changed.  Most, if not all, of the ships now have a coffee bar in the lobby, which also serves sandwiches, salads, pastries, etc.
  • Room Service:  Last but not least, my favourite, most of the ships offer anytime room service, free of charge.  I have had breakfast, lunch and dinner served through room service and all of the food has been fantastic.  In fact, if you want a ceasar salad or clubhouse sandwich, this is the place to get it!  I also order coffee to be delivered to my room each morning, as the cabins are not equipped with coffee makers.

As you can see, you will have your choice of dining options throughout your cruise.  You will have the choice of picking the option which best suits your comfort level.

Touring Solo

Although I am quite content to sit back and relax and enjoy the passing scenery, I do get antsy and want to get off the ship. When in port, I always make the most of it. I will either book a tour, or just explore on my own. When cruising solo, I book all of my port tours directly with cruise line. This way I am guaranteed that I will be safe and assured that if the tour was delayed, I would not be left behind.

PRO TIP: I always book and pay for all port tours, water and alcohol prior to embarking the ship. This is done directly on the Princess website.

cruising-solo-to-alaska
Beautiful Creek Street, Ketchikan, Alaska

Booking a tour through the cruise line is also the perfect way to meet other cruisers.  This way you will never be alone!

  • TIP: Perhaps Princess would consider arranging solo socials, much like they do for the LGBTQ community. This would make everything perfect!

In my opinion, and based on my previous solo adventures, Princess offers the perfect solo cruising experience, despite being a cruise line known as the Loveboat and having love in the air.  The only thing that would make it better, would be if Princess would begin to offer solo cruising packages.

To prepare you for your 1st solo cruise, I also recommend reading these articles:

Have you had the opportunity to cruise solo? I would love to hear about your experience and any tips that you might have.

Bon Voyage 🙂

Kelly  xoxo

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41 thoughts on “Cruising Solo Onboard the Loveboat

  1. Pingback: 10 Tips for the Solo Cruiser

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  3. coriramos

    I remember The Love Boat! It was one of the shows I watched growing up. 🙂 I love the pics you shared! I’ve been wanting to go on a cruise – my aunt and her husband take one every year and it looks like so much fun. I’ve never traveled solo but it sounds like I should experience that at least once… if I can get away from the fam, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. Derek

    Thanks for the great tips – most are helpful even if you aren’t a solo traveler. I love traveling solo, there’s a lot of benefits to being able to do as you wish.

    Like

  6. 13weekstravel

    I haven’t been on a cruise line before but I’m definitely planning to treat myself to one for my 40th birthday.
    I love your tips about checking and checking for prices in order to get the best deals.
    I also love the idea of the free room service on Breakfast. How lovely is that!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jayashree Sengupta

    Wow, that’s a pretty good experience you had. Solo travel is a way of pampering thyself and here I guess you you felt just the same❤❤❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Worldwide Walkers

    I understand how eating alone can feel uncomfortable but I really learned to embrace it in my solo travels. I’m a big foodie, so eating alone allowed me to really enjoy the different tastes in the food instead of socializing.
    Glad you had a good experience!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Freya

    Great pro tips Kelly, load of useful info for first-time cruiser in here! I love the idea of anytime dining, I didn’t realise this was an option and always imagined having to sit down at specific times onboard a cruise. Breakfast on your private balcony also sounds so peaceful.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Courtney

    Wow, I had no idea a lot of these things existed! THERE ARE SO MANY OPTIONS FOR FOOD! I never had considered doing a cruise solo (or at all) before reading your post. But, it seems like a nice treat! I love how you have the option to dine with others. Anyways, loved your post, as wells! Keep them up!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Vanessa

    I’ve only ever done one cruise to Antarctica so I’m a beginner with cruises really. There are some great tips on booking a cruise trip, which room if you get sea-sick and bringing a bottle of vino with you! I would LOVE to do a cruise in the Alaskan Inside Passage. It would be great to see solo socials on the cruise ships for the singletons!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Kathleen

    I’ve been on this cruise, with a different cruise line and loved it. Actually, so much that we bought land in Alaska six months later. I was far from solo, as I was traveling with 18 family members. Your way might have been better. HA! I’m with you about eating alone. It’s not my favorite thing to do, so room service might be just the thing. I haven’t taken a solo trip in a very, very long time. I wonder how that would be for me. Do you know if cruises have gluten free options?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Louie V

    I love cruising solo. It’s an especially good way to visit destinations where security and health might be an issue. I traveled down the entire West Coast of Africa with Holland America and got to see places I would have been nervous visiting on my own.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. By Land and Sea

    I never really thought about it, but cruising sounds like a great option for solo travelers! You have time alone, but you’re never really alone. There’s plenty to do and opportunities to meet new people too. Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. pamelard

    I absolutely agree about getting there a day early! There was a couple whose flight was delayed and ended up missing the cruise to Antarctica! We tried to turn around to get them, but the Argentina government wouldn’t allow it. I couldn’t imagine the heartbreak they dealt with. Take the time and get there early!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Michelle

    These are all such great tips. I had no idea this boat was considered “the Love Boat”. It made me giggle when I read that. I also prefer the peace and solitude that comes with a balcony cabin. Just a place to escape and relax all my own is worth the upcharge in my opinion. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Amrita

    Ah! This looks like quite an experience. I have never cruised till now, but after reading this, I am thinking of gaining this experience as well. Cruising solo is also a great experience I think. There are so many things that you could do alone, meet people and have fun. For a first time cruiser, do you think I should be choosing a cabin somewhere in the middle of the ship (as I have no previous experience sailing)?

    Like

  18. Carrie Ann | Should Be Cruising

    I also really wish that Princess would consider reducing the single supplement (or build some studio staterooms as other lines have). I’ve never cruised solo with them, but I have cruised on Princess with just my daughter when she was a teenager – so half the time it felt as if I were solo! 😀 Love your tip on taking advantage of room service for breakfast, and joining a table at dinner. I always meet such interesting new friends when I do that!

    Like

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