Are you looking for tips before taking your first solo cruise? Since you landed on this page, I going to guess that would be a yes 🙂
Welcome and I’m excited to share my solo cruising tips with you! I for one absolutely love cruising….especially cruising solo! Cruising is one of the safest ways to travel solo and it provides both relaxation and adventure, as well as endless opportunities to socialize and to make new friends. I’m going to give you all of the tips on what you need to know in order to make your solo cruise experience the trip of a lifetime.
10 TIPS FOR THE SOLO CRUISER
Like anything in life, it is up to us to decide how positive our solo cruise experience will be and that begins at the planning stage (which I think is half the fun).
Planning for a Solo Cruise
Even though cruise lines have been the pioneer of solo travel, it is still very expensive for those who want to cruise solo. In addition to finding a cruise at a reasonable cost, there are several other things that you need to consider when planning for a solo cruise.
Cost of Solo Cruising
When researching the cost of cruises, you will notice that prices are based on double occupancy. When you are planning a solo cruise, you can expect prices to have a mark-up of anywhere between 100% and 145% for those of us who choose to cruise alone. But don’t let this be a deterrent. If you have your heart set on taking a cruise, be patient and watch for deals. They will come….eventually.
Additional (Hidden) Cost
As is the case whenever you travel, it is prudent to be aware that there will be additional (better known as hidden) costs with your cruise, such as:
- daily charge for tips (on average $15.00 per day per person)
- beverages, including pop and water
- specialty dining restaurants
- specialty coffee
- land tours
Most of the costs are quoted in U.S. funds so make sure you calculate the exchange in order to budget accordingly.
You will occasionally encounter a huge bargain deal and come across a price which also includes some or all of these items in the cruise fare. If you are lucky enough to find a deal such as this, then jump on the deal! It’s a bargain!
ARE YOU FINDING THIS POST USEFUL? FOLLOW ALONG FOR MORE SOLO TRAVEL TIPS
Despite the fact that solo cruising remains expensive, many of the cruise lines are now including several solo cabins on some of their ships in order to keep the price of solo cruising at a somewhat reasonable cost. These cabins are usually inside cabins and are typically quite a bit smaller than the other cabins on the ship, but there are some cruise hacks you can use to keep your cabin organized. If you are the type of person who easily feels cluster phobic, I don’t recommend booking an inside cabin….go for the gusto and book a balcony cabin.
JUST ONE TIP: When booking your cabin, get as close to the center of the ship, both length and height wise. This area has the least amount of rocking. This is especially important if you are prone to sea-sickness.
Cruise Socials for Solo Cruisers
Some cruise lines, such as Norwegian, have a lounge designated specifically for solo cruisers, and they also offer social meet-ups for solo cruisers. If you want to meet other solo cruisers, Norwegian has been voted as the best cruise line for solo cruisers.
10 Tips for Cruising Solo
Congratulations! You’re cruise is now booked, you’re packed, and ready to go!
Boarding the ship for the very first time will be a daunting and intimidating, yet exciting experience. There is a ton to see, but there is also a ton to learn. If you follow these 10 insider tips for cruising solo, your cruise will be much more enjoyable and I know that you will have the time of your life.
1. Balcony at Sea
A successful journey begins before even leaving home. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, I highly recommend booking a balcony cabin, rather than an inside cabin. The cabin is larger and having a balcony will provide you with the opportunity to take in the thrill of coming into and leaving port. Your balcony is your own little oasis at sea and the perfect spot to relax after a long day at the pool or exploring one of the ports.
If you enjoy hanging out at the pool all day and bar hop at night, then I don’t recommend that you spend the extra money for a balcony cabin.
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 which is in my room upon arrival. Surprisingly, water is difficult to come by once you board the ship, and you will have to purchase it individually by the bottle. A bulk pack is not available for order once you board the ship.
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 I highly recommend that you take advantage of this option.
In addition, most cruise lines allow each person to bring on one bottle of wine with them. 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 (and most men) 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, nor is there a lot of space in the cabins. In fact, if it is a Caribbean cruise that you are taking, you will be living in your bathing suit most days. With the exception of your bathing suit, you will need a change of clothes for dinner and the formal nights, if you choose to participate.
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. 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, in your carry-on. It goes without saying that all of your identification, travel documents, medication, etc. will be stowed away in your carry-on as well. It is important to note that it may take quite awhile for your luggage to arrive and you want to have everything you will need during your first day onboard handy.
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. Since 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. With many flights being cancelled or delayed in this day and age, it is even more important that you arrive at your port city a day early. This will allow you to relax on the day of departure and provide you with a bit of time to adjust to the time change if there is one.
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 can 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 or any 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. Always be courteous and polite and take a few minutes out of your day to talk to them and find out a little about them. This small kind gesture means the world to him or her.
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. Princess Cruises was the first in its field to introduce Anytime Dining and now the majority of cruise lines also provide Anytime Dining. This type of dining will allow you dining in the dining room without a preset time or reservation. When arriving at the dining room, 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 are also in the same boat 🙂 as you. I guarantee that they won’t know all of their dining companions either, so it’s a win for you.
If you are uncomfortable dining with strangers you have a ton of other dining options: room service, cafes, and the buffet.
Whatever you decide, I can guarantee that you definitely won’t be going hungry when on a cruise!
8. Alcohol Overdose
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 on most ships and it is extremely easy to make new friends.
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 it is important to remember that you are on vacation and it is important to set aside some down time to regroup. There are so many activities and shore excursions to choose from when cruising that your head will be spinning. The most valuable cruise tip I ever received was to set aside some “me” time and and not to schedule activities/events/excursions for every minute of every day. Leave free time to lounge poolside, read on your balcony, or to wander the streets of one of your cruise destinations.
I hope that you found these cruise tips useful and that they helped you to prepare for your solo cruise. Now get packing and ENJOY!
BON VOYAGE 🙂
PIN TIPS FOR THE SOLO CRUISER