12 Essential Tips for Going On a Solo Cruise

Travelista’s Editor Jessica Ruth Gibson is a big advocate of solo travel. Be sure to read her some top tips for solo cruising if you’re considering booking a solo cruise or have one coming up.

When it comes to the best solo travel holidays, going on a cruise alone may not be an immediately obvious choice. But the truth is that there is an entire network and community of solo cruisers who have discovered it as an exciting and empowering way to travel, see the world and meet new people. But like anything in life, doing new things can feel scary. So if the thought of going on a solo cruise feels daunting, we have 12 essential tips for first time solo cruisers. 

12 Essential Tips for Going On a Solo Cruise

1. Spend time researching cruise lines and their solo cruiser offerings 

Some cruise lines are more solo traveller friendly than others, offering various financial incentives and events to interest solo cruisers. Celebrity Cruises has seen an 225% increase in solo bookings over the past two years due to its offerings such as its solo cruiser events programme and the solo balcony staterooms on their newest ships; Celebrity Beyond and Celebrity Ascent. Other cruise lines like MSC and Virgin Voyages carry no single supplement charge for one person occupying a single cabin. This means cost is 50% less than a double cabin, as it should be.

Compare cruise lines and find discount cruise deals.

2. Check out the dedicated events onboard for solo travellers

Every cruise will have a significant number of solo travellers, and it’s the cruise line’s job to help them find each other. This is usually done so by a variety of scheduled events throughout each cruise, usually aimed at solo cruisers or single cruisers. Holland America have a Single Partner Program which includes mixers and cocktail parties to game nights, cooking classes and wine tasting.

3. Consider booking some shore excursions as part of the cruise

Each cruise will also offer a programme of shore excursions to help you explore the various ports of your cruise. Often these excursions involve spending the day with small groups of people. They often involve meals too, so you’re bound to get chatting throughout the day or over lunch. Some cruise lines, like Holland America, offer dedicated solo cruiser shore excursions too. 

4. Dine at the Solo table on board the ship’s main restaurants 

If the thing that puts you off about solo travel is dining alone – fear not. Many cruise lines also offer solo diner tables, meaning there’s a great chance you could end up having dinner with people in the exact same position as you. Connecting with other solo and single cruisers can massively enhance your overall solo cruise experience. Princess Cruises and Celebrity Cruises are two cruise lines which ensure there is an un-hosted solos table in the main dining room each night, with many other cruise lines following suit. 

5. Get involved in the onboard activity programme

Another great way to connect with others on your cruise is to take part in onboard activities and classes. Whether you’re trying out a Zumba class on deck in the sunshine or joining a pub quiz team, a bit of movement or friendly competition is bound to lead to some spontaneous connections. 

6. Choose to dine or drink at the bar

Having a casual drink or meal ‘at the bar’ is a great way to get chatting with other passengers, as well as staff behind the bar. Cruise staff are known as being some of the friendliest hospitality staff in the world and in my experience, they’re always up for a friendly chat. Cruise ships are fascinating melting pot of people from around the world, so it’s likely you’ll get chatting with people you’d never cross paths with in your own day-to-day life. 

One of the most memorable nights I’ve ever had onboard a cruise ship was when I was solo. I took a seat at the cocktail bar onboard Enchanted Princess. I was totally alone but got chatting to a lovely couple from California and spent the whole evening chatting and laughing with them, whilst getting to know all the mixologists behind the bar and watching their cocktail demonstrations. The lady invited me to go to a Zumba class with her on deck the next morning, so I did just that. She also said to get in touch if I’m ever in California”.

jessica ruth gibson, travelista editor

7. Pack a notepad and pen so you can journal or write a travel diary 

Cruising or travelling solo is a great opportunity to become a more mindful traveller. You have the unique opportunity to soak in the moment without an endless flow of conversation. Be sure to keep a notebook and pen on you at all times to write down your thoughts and experiences. It’s also a way to stay occupied when dining, drinking or sitting alone. 

8.  Make the most of the ship’s Wi-Fi and connectivity 

Just because you’re cruising alone doesn’t mean you can’t stay connected to your nearest and dearest at home. All cruise ships offer a Wi-Fi package for an additional cost. As a solo cruiser, this may be a good thing to invest in to stay in touch with people you know at home. 

9. Challenge yourself and try something new

Going on a solo cruise is brave and admirable, but you can challenge yourself further by trying something new on the cruise. Whether it’s getting involved or a tournament, a wine tasting or taking part in an art class, push yourself to try something new and you’ll be rewarded by a new and memorable experience. 

10. Remember that you’re more approachable travelling as a solo person

Go into your solo cruise experience with confidence and pride. You have just as much right to have the cruise experience as anyone else and travelling solo will make you far more approachable than people in a couple or in groups. You’ll be surprised by how many people strike up a conversation with you and are curious about your story. 

11. Choose a cruise line with various solo traveller cabin types 

Gone are the days where solo cruisers have no choice but to take an internal stateroom with no window. Just because you’re cruising, you should still have choice. Many cruise lines now offer a variety of choice for solo cruisers.

As of 2024, Norwegian cruise line offers solo inside, solo ocean view and solo balcony cabin categories. Single room categories on cruise ships Celebrity Beyond and Celebrity Ascent feature queen sized beds and all the upscale amenities of double-occupancy cabins. On select voyages, Celebrity Cruises have special solo cruise promotions which waive the single supplement on standard cabins. 

Compare cruise lines and find discount cruise deals with Expedia cruises.

12. Book a cruise from your closest cruise port to avoid expensive air fares.

One of the biggest benefits about cruising is that it can be a way to see the world without having to take a flight. Your local cruise port will depend on where in the world you’re reading this from. But if you’re based in the UK, be sure to check the sailing options from Southampton.

As with all travel booking decisions, its a personal choice, with lots of elements to weigh up. But we hope this guide has given you a few helpful tips to ensure you have a positive first solo cruise experience. If you’re on the fence, we say, go for it! 

Read more articles in Travelista’s Cruise and Solo Travel categories.

Compare all current cruise line promotions and special offers.

Jessica Ruth Gibson is the Founder and Editor of Travelista and an award-winning travel content creator of 10 years. She lives in York, UK with her son and has travelled to over 50 countries; her favourites being Italy, Canada and Vietnam.

Leave a comment

Travelista is an online publication and community for the adventurous modern woman covering travel, style, family, home, career and wellbeing.