Since I started cruising I have enjoyed three solo voyages, but only my last gave me a real taste of what solo cruising is all about. I suppose the fact I am not a typical individual cruiser always becomes a talking point with people and it could be why I can form such quick relationships. How many other people like me do you know? A single female woman in her twenties and cruising on her own, I am one of only a small few!
To cut a long story short, on my first solo cruise I had friends onboard so I technically only had a cabin to myself and my second was only 3-nights so I didn’t really get a good hands on feel for what it was like. My last however of which I just returned home from last week was onboard MSC opera and it was a true taste of solo cruising.
I had only been on the ship a few hours, we were literally just pushing away from our berth in Southampton when I met two girls who would become friends throughout the entire voyage. It also turned out that a couple whom I met and became very good friends with, I had first spoken to in the queue for check-in as their granddaughter kept bumping into the back of me. Even on the ship when they mentioned it I couldn’t remember, but on my way home it suddenly came to me, she was the girl who kept knocking me because she was so excited and just wanted to be on the ship.
I will talk to anyone and everyone and I think when it comes to cruising on your own you have to have a positive attitude like that or else you’ll spend the entire time on your own and ultimately end pretty miserable. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy my own company very much, but there’s a big difference between having some much needed time to yourself and being totally secluded. My personality and willingness to open my mouth and speak allowed me to form friendships on the first day that lasted the entire cruise, that’s why solo cruising works well for me.
The passengers were a real mix of nationalities but roughly 800 people had boarded in Southampton so it pretty much became invasion of the Brits! The majority of people I spoke with or enjoyed the company of were English, but I did meet one or two others from foreign lands, including a French couple that spoke very little English so we opted to use Google Translate one night to communicate. There was also an Italian couple who always acknowledged me as we passed one another and a Spanish family who tried several times to converse. It was so painful sometimes though because we were both clueless as to what the other was saying. You could pick out the odd words and try and go from there which we did do a few times and we ended up on the same wave length, but other times there was no hope.
Although I had a lot of company on the cruise I did enjoy my own time. I went ashore alone twice, I ate alone at least once every day, I had my own cabin which was heaven and of an evening I would often sit at the back of the ship and just enjoy 15 minutes for myself. I actually wrote several of my blogs there because although noisy from the ship’s wake it was incredibly peaceful and very few people would pass.
I have said for many years that any holiday is what YOU make of it. If you are going to cruise solo then just be a little more forthcoming, at the end of the day no one will jump up and invite you to join them if you sit alone with a face down to the floor. I like to cruise solo but I also love meeting new people, that’s half the fun for me. I get the benefit of being alone and having my own space, but I also am privileged to meet new and interesting people that often become lifelong friends, it really is the best of both worlds!
Not once during the cruise did I feel uncomfortable because I was on my own. I noticed a lot of people eating lunch alone yet I knew they were with larger groups of people. They obviously just wanted some peace and quiet and I know dining alone for many is what often can become an issue big enough to deter them from even trying the solo cruise in the first place. For me personally it doesn’t bother me. I’m not there to worry about what others are thinking, of which most of the time is nothing because they are too busy focussing on what they are doing. I am there to enjoy myself, simple as that!
Give a solo cruise a try! You never know until you try something for yourself. I could sit and tell you every last detail about my voyage, but until you experience it first-hand you will never know for sure.