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? 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!
Unlike the majority of other cruise lines, Princess has not yet jumped on board and begun to offer solo cruise packages. Many cruise lines have converted some of their interior rooms to accommodate solo travellers. Some have even reduced or eliminated the solo supplement altogether. Unfortunately Princess is not one of them.
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. I just tend to enjoy relaxing on my balcony, enjoying the peace and quiet with a glass of wine in hand, while reading a book.
- 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.
My most recent, and first solo cruise, was the Alaskan Inside Passage. It was a dream come true! 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. 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 offer solo rates. How excited was I when I managed to get my dream vacation on the Loveboat for a much lower rate.
- 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.
Since I am very familiar with the Princess cruise line, I was less apprehensive about cruising solo. In fact, I always felt safe and never alone. How can you 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.
- TIP: Fly to your port destination the day before and don’t rush to the port on the day of sailing.
If you 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 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.
- TIP: Go to the restaurants as soon as they open or right before they close in order to avoid the lineups and wait times.
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. Since I was cruising solo, I booked all of my port tours directly with Princess. This way I knew that I would be safe and assured that if the tour was delayed, I would not be left behind.
- 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.
On this particular cruise, I know that there were many other solo travellers.
- 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. Sit back, relax, keep an open mind and you will have no choice but to enjoy. Hats off to Princess. You have my complete loyalty!
Have you had the opportunity to cruise solo? I would love to hear about your experience and any tips that you might have.