By Ashley Kosciolek of cruisecritic.com
If you’ve ever sailed solo, you may already know the perks and pitfalls of traveling unescorted. If you haven’t, don’t rule out the concept just yet. Lots of people go it alone, and it’s not as solitary as you might suspect. Sure, single supplements — extra fees paid by one person who plans to stay in a cabin built for two — can be a drawback, but some ships, like Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Epic and P&O Cruises’ Azura, come equipped with solo lounges and special cabins for one.
I recently found myself alone on a sailing, and despite my initial trepidation, I had a wonderful time and discovered lots of pros and cons of sailing solo. Along the way, I laughed, I cried (not really), and then I made a list of the top 10 things I learned.
1. People won’t understand.
Prepare for lots of confusion when you tell fellow passengers that you’re onboard without a companion. Although most will be polite, they’ll still look at you like you’re a one-eyed jackalope that’s just sprouted wings. Some will even ask you why you’re alone, when what they really want to say is “I’m so sorry you’re a social leper.” Ignore them. While they’re arguing with their posse about where they want to go or what they want to do, you won’t have to answer to anyone.
2. Solo activities really break the ice.
Check the daily program. On the first couple of days, some lines offer events specifically for those traveling alone. Sometimes they’re great; sometimes they stink. Either way, you have nothing to lose by attending. I first checked out a “singles mingle” in one of the lounges, but it seemed dead. The next day, I went to a solo travelers lunch in the main dining room, and I made a couple of friends with whom I’m still in touch — plus I had people with whom to eat, grab drinks and explore ports.