Cruising

Take To The Ocean, Cruising Solo

MS Volendam at Anchor

When heading off to see the world, many solo travellers tend to ignore the idea of cruising. With the single supplement added to most cruising itineraries, it can make for an expensive trip. However, doing some research and planning can help to alleviate this a little. Combined with a travel agent who knows about the available deals can help to make this the perfect holiday for the solo traveller.

My Cruise Adventures

Cruising was an accidental discovery for me; I had expected a cruise would be too expensive and not overly exciting. Although, while putting together options for how to spend two months travelling around America, the idea of a cruise came up.

With a little research, I soon had found myself a cruise departing from San Deigo and arriving in Fort Lauderdale for a total of 14 days. However, the price of $3,800 had me seriously thinking again if this was the right idea. I decided to keep looking and see what other options there were. A couple of minutes later I found not only the same cruise but double the length, 28-days round-trip from San Diego. The price, $4200. I thought this cannot be right and soon was visiting a travel agent confirming the details and booked on the spot. You can read more about my first cruise here “28 Day Panama Canal Cruise summary

First Cruise MS Statendam in San Diego

Since the first cruise, I have cruised two other times, once on a Transpacific cruise from Vancouver, Canada to Sydney, Australia, which was a 26-night cruise costing $5,200. With the second being a 29-night cruise from Fort Lauderdale, USA to Venice, Italy costing $5,800.

All three cruises I have taken have been in a cabin to myself, and the 29-night cruise was even in a Balcony Cabin. While these prices may sound a little expensive when you take a closer look and consider where you may get to visit, the inclusions and convenience of cruising can make a lot of sense.

 

Finding The Right Cruise

There are a couple of factors that come into play when looking for a more affordable cruise option. My experience in finding and booking cruises is in Australia, and I do understand that pricing can be very different in America and Europe. However, I believe some of the same factors still do play a part in finding a well-priced cruise.

1. Cruise Destination

In choosing my destination, I have found some of the better deals available on what are called Repositioning cruises. These occur at two times of year once around March/April and again around September/October. These are cruises where the cruise line needs to move a ship to another part of the world for a season. For example around September cruise ships will leave from North America and reposition to Australia, returning to North America around March.

2. Cruise Line

Each cruise line will take a different approach to people travelling solo. Some cruise lines on some ships will offer dedicated single cabins. However, this is far from the norm. In most cases, a solo cruiser will be booked into a regular cabin and pay a supplement above the per person price for a cabin. This supplement can vary from as little as 130% up to 200% depending on the time of booking. (Booking well in advance can be helpful in securing a lower supplement)

3. Cabin Category

The category of the cabin that you are booking will likely have the biggest impact on the cost of the cruise. Booking an interior cabin will often get you the lowest price to be onboard. However, you need to consider that you will have no window. While booking cabins in higher categories such as Ocean View, or Verandah will usually cost a lot more. This aspect will come down to what you want in a cabin and to be honest if you just want to get on the ship, an interior cabin will do this.

Ocean View Cabin

Combining The Above Considerations

When looking at the above points to some degree, you need to take into account that all three can play a different part. You cannot apply all three to every cruise.

When considering your cruise destination if you are heart set on a particular destination, there is a good chance that it will likely be more expensive. However, if the destination is not something that concerns you, then you may be able to change where you want to cruise to suit.

Picking your cruise line can be even more challenging. Each one does tend to position themselves in the market to a certain level. On occasion, you may be able to find a great deal for some of the more expensive cruise lines, but you will probably find that there will just be one or two options that fit within your budget.

Finally the cabin choice, the price you pay for a cabin is like paying rent for an apartment, the more appealing the location, the more you will pay. The more space in the cabin the more you will pay. So this can to some degree tie in with the cruise line and booking early to secure a lower single supplement hopefully.

Once On Board

So once the challenge of booking the cruise is done and that seemingly large chunk of money we have parted with, the onboard experience is what counts.

Extra Costs?

You can rest assured that if you approach things in the right way, there will only be two additional expenses. A daily gratuity and if you want to purchase drinks onboard. There are more than enough food and entertainment options included in what you have already paid to keep you satisfied for the whole cruise. When it comes to drinks, this can vary between cruise lines. However, most include free tap water, tea, and coffee, and you will pay for Barista made coffees, Softdrink and Alcoholic drinks.

I Don’t Know Anybody!

My greatest concern in heading off for my very first cruise, but it was a very unfounded concern. Once onboard there are so many opportunities to meet people, and most people are quite friendly. Often there is a single/solo cruiser gathering organised by the cruise ship early in the cruise. Eating is always a great place to meet other’s as well, whether intended or not. I never felt alone; there was always someone to talk to or quiet space if I needed space.

What To Do?

You might think that am I going to do with all the time that we are not visiting a port. On sea day’s there is something always happening, different activities all day long, every 30-60 minutes. Things like dance classes, trivia, movies, craft lessons, cooking demonstrations, games, and presentations.

On the Transatlantic cruise, I took, there was a period of 8 days after leaving Fort Lauderdale before we arrived at our first port. Most people question how you can get through that. To be honest, it goes past so quick, and when you start visiting ports you kind of wish that you could go back to time at sea.

Consider Cruising

So if you are a solo traveller, and you have been on the fence about trying a cruise, I would urge you to at least take a little look at what is on offer. You might need to spend a short time digging into what is available. However, you just never know the sort of places that you may get to visit. Plus another benefit of cruising is that you only have to unpack and pack up once.

If you have cruised solo before, why not let me know about your experience in the comments below. You can also connect with me on social media using the links below.

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