While solo travel is becoming more and more popular and the tourism industry is beginning to acknowledge and cater to solo travelers, the solo cruise is a fairly new phenomenon.
Embarking on a cruise alone has its advantages and disadvantages. Some travelers may become giddy at the thought of having a week or two to themselves with plenty of time for rest and relaxation, while others may feel sick even thinking about eating dinner with a bunch of strangers.
If you’re considering cruising solo but aren’t sure if it’s right for you, check out the following pros and cons of a voyage for one.
The ultimate perk of traveling solo on a cruise ship is being able to do things on your own time, all the time.
Cruise ships are known for their schedules packed with dozens of optional activities for travelers to partake in. When embarking on a cruise with a large group or even with just one other person, there can be a clash of interests, and you can end up missing out on the most appealing activities.
When you cruise solo, you have the freedom to choose what you’ll do and when. If you want to partake in as many activities as possible, go ahead! If you want to spend the day by the pool without lifting a finger, you can do that, too.
While many cruise lines, including Norwegian, Holland America, and Royal Caribbean, are now offering packages for solo travelers, many cruise lines still charge the typical, outdated per-person fee.
Unlike hotels, cruise ships normally charge a per-person fee for rooms, with rates based on two people occupying a room. Solo cruisers can expect to pay up to double the published cruise fare to cover the cost of the missing passenger.
A handful of cruise lines offer some pretty impressive studio cabins specifically for solo cruisers.
Norwegian’s award-winning studios were the first accommodations designed and priced for solo travelers. These 100-square-foot rooms are affordable and stylish, featuring full-size beds, flat-screen TVs, private bathrooms, and private keycard access to the Studio Lounge -- a private lounge shared only with studio guests.
While many cruise ships offer scheduled dinners and private lounges explicitly for solo travelers, this doesn’t always guarantee that you’re going to make friends at such events or hangout spots.
You might make a friend or two at a dinner that’s reserved for solo travelers, but you may not run into those people again, particularly on mega-ships with limitations on Wi-Fi and cell service.
And while cruise ships are scheduling more events for independent cruisers, these aren’t always guaranteed. Even when they are, you may not meet anyone who floats your boat.
Not only can solo cruisers adhere to their own schedules when traveling alone, but they can also be as social or as private as they’d like during the course of the cruise.
If you want to socialize during your cruise, there are innumerable events and activities where you can do so. On the contrary, you can easily keep to yourself and avoid human contact during your relaxing solo getaway.
Despite the fact that cruise lines are beginning to see a shift in the number of solo travelers and are now catering to these individuals, traveling solo still isn’t the norm, and you may find yourself having to explain over and over again to the family of four or the couple on their honeymoon why you decided to take a cruise by yourself.
If you’re traveling alone and trying to visit multiple destinations during a short period of time, costs could multiply, since you’ll be seeing and doing everything by yourself, without the opportunity to split costs for things like meals and accommodations.
Many cruise ships are all-inclusive, so independent travelers will pay flat rates that include accommodations, meals, drinks, and activities. A cruise may be one of the most affordable ways for solo travelers to knock out a few of their bucket-list items at once.