I always get so excited whenever the word cruise comes to my mind. It is by far one of my favourite ways to travel solo.
Not only is it extremely safe for solo travellers, it is jammed packed with activities, and also provides endless opportunities to socialize and meet new friends.
Related: Cruising Solo Onboard the Loveboat
Like anything in life, it is incumbent upon each of us to make an effort, as we are responsible for our own happiness and successes. It is solely our decision as to whether or not we have a positive experience when travelling. If you are raring to go, I can guarantee you that if you follow these 10 cruising tips when cruising solo, you will have the time of your life.
1. Balcony at Sea
A successful journey begins before we even leave the house. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, I highly recommend booking a balcony cabin, rather than an inside cabin. It is larger and provides the opportunity to take in the thrill of coming into and leaving port. It is your own little oasis at sea.
If you enjoy hanging out at the pool all day and bar hop at night, then there is no need to spend the extra money for the balcony cabin. It is each individuals preference.
2. Stay Hydrated
We all know how important it is to stay hydrated. Especially if travelling to a hot destination. And no, I am not referring to the alcoholic form of hydration. Although that’s not a bad idea either lol. But let’s put that form of hydration aside for the time being.
I always order a case or two of water prior to my departure to have in my room upon my arrival. Surprisingly, water is difficult to come by once you board the ship, and you will have to purchase it individually by the bottle.
Now, back to the important stuff…..the alcohol. I also pre-order my liquor and pop package to have in my room upon my arrival. Like with the water, once you board the ship, this option is not available. If you like to have a night-cap or pre-dinner drink, then be sure you take advantage of this option.
In addition, most cruise lines allow one bottle of wine per person. Make sure that you take advantage of this, as the price of a bottle of wine on the ship is crazy expensive!
3. Leave Your Clothes at Home
We know as women that we always pack way too many clothes. Here’s how I fix this problem. I lay out all of my clothes that I want to take and I then put half of them back into the drawer. Remember, you are going on a cruise, so an excessive amount of clothes are not required. In fact, if it is a Caribbean cruise that you are going on, you will be living in your bathing suit. With the exception of your bathing suit, you will mainly need a change of clothes for dinner and the formal nights, if you choose to participate.
Related: Carry-On Essentials
When packing for your cruise, it is important to remember that what you pack in your carry-on is extremely important, as you want to begin to enjoy the cruise the minute you step onto the ship. When arriving at the cruise port, your luggage will be taken and delivered to your state-room at some point throughout your first day onboard. I’m sure you don’t want to be that spectator standing at the pool in your jeans and running shoes. Make sure that you pack a bathing suit, cover-up, flip-flops, shorts and t-shirt and an outfit for dinner, if you plan on dining in the dining room. And it goes without saying, that all of your identification, travel documents, medication, etc. will be stowed away in your carry-on as well.
4. Pre-Cruise Relaxation
Embarkation day can be extremely exhausting, especially if you have to fly to the port city. It can easily be a 24 hour day, which is the case when I cruise. Because I want to be refreshed and enjoy every minute on the ship, I have made it a rule to fly to my port city the day before embarkation. This allows me to relax on the day of departure, not to mention I manage to stay up long enough to enjoy the sale away party.
Many hotels in the various port cities offer pre and post cruise packages. Shop around to find the package that best suits your needs.
5. Technology Challenges
Unfortunately or fortunately, we are all caught up in the world of technology. This does not exclude the various cruise lines. If you are at all like me and are technologically challenged, then I highly recommend that you brush up on this area before embarking on your cruise (just kidding, it’s not that bad).
The majority of the cruise lines now have their own apps which you download onto your phone once you board the ship. This app, once you figure out how to use it, is invaluable and I strongly recommend that it be downloaded as soon as you possibly can. It allows you to text your travel partner or friends that you have met on the ship, free of charge. Your shipboard account is literally at your fingertips throughout the entire cruise, which eliminates any over-spending surprises at disembarkation.
6. My Room Steward, My Friend
Your room steward works extremely hard and puts in long days, and sometimes nights, in order to cater to your every need. They are the one person that you will see day after day. Become friends with him or her. Be courteous and polite. Take a few minutes out of your day to talk to them and find out a little about them.
These employees are often away from their children and spouses for months on end and truly do want to provide you with the best cruising experience possible. Even though the majority of cruise lines now have a daily tip built into the price of the cruise, it still doesn’t hurt to leave your room attendant a little extra to show your appreciation. In addition to providing an extra tip, I will often leave my books, as well as snacks, when I disembark.
7. Dining Buddies
Most of us who travel solo dread the dining experience. The majority of cruise lines now provide anytime dining, which allows you to dine in the dining room without a preset time or reservation. You will have the option of dining alone or at a shared table. This is your chance solo travellers to truly enjoy your dining experience. Are you an introvert? Not to worry, the people you will be sharing the table with also won’t know everybody. It’s a win for you!
If you still don’t feel comfortable sharing a table with strangers, there are other options: room service, cafes, and the buffet.
Whatever you decide, you definitely won’t be going hungry when on a cruise!
8. Alcohol Overdose
The number one rule when travelling solo, is to watch your alcohol intake. This rule also applies when cruising.
Although crime on ships is minimal, it does still exist. Be coherent and aware of your surroundings at all times.
9. Dance the Night Away
Even though you are travelling solo, there is absolutely no reason to ever feel alone. After all, there are upwards of 3,000 people onboard with you on most ships.
The perfect way to meet fellow travellers is to get involved in the unlimited activities. Let loose and dance the night away……really…..nobody is watching.
10. Take a Break
Okay, I know. I just told you to dance the night away, and I truly did mean it. But also remember that you are on vacation and do need some down time to regroup. There are so many activities and shore excursions to choose from, it will have your head spinning. Be sure not to schedule events/excursions for every minute of every day. Leave time to lounge poolside, read on your balcony, or explore one of your cruise destinations.
If you are a first time cruiser, make sure that you have packed all of your essentials in your carry-on. You don’t want to miss out on one minute of the fun. Enjoy your cruise!
SAFE & HAPPY CRUISING