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Can You Cruise by Yourself? A Guide to Solo Cruising

Woman on a balcony

Sometimes, you are not in need of a large family vacation. The thought of trying to coordinate dinner plans or shore excursions might sound too stressful!

There's nothing wrong with wanting to get away by yourself for a little while with no schedule to follow and no mother-in-laws to please!

With that, though, you don't want to take a solo cruise that ends up being stressful, so you want to be prepared for your upcoming cruise by yourself. 

This guide to solo cruising will help you navigate all of the nuances, from solo cabins and single supplements to the best ways to meet people onboard and make new lifelong friends!

Yes, you can go on a cruise by yourself!

pool deck at night

Cruising by yourself is a great way to relax, rejuvenate, and score some alone time. You can even take some time to meet new people if that's your goal. Going on a solo cruise allows you to do exactly what you want to do at your own pace and on your own schedule.

While there are plenty of out-of-the-way spaces to enjoy onboard most ships if you're seeking solitude, cruising is a social vacation. It's not at all unusual to meet your cabin neighbors in passing, make friends during dinner, converse with your cabin steward, or bond over gameshows in the theater. 

Plus, many cruise lines offer events for solo travelers to meet one another. This is a great way to meet like-minded travelers who are also embracing some time away from friends and family. 

What's the difference between solo and singles cruises?

ncl solo room

Although some people use the terms "solo cruising" and "single cruising" interchangeably, there is a notable difference. 

While solo cruising means that you're on the ship alone, going on a singles cruise means that you're on the ship unattached (i.e., not in a relationship) and potentially ready to mingle. 

Single cruisers can be onboard with family members or friends staying in other cabins, while solos are voyaging by themselves and aren't necessarily looking to meet people. Or if they are, they are simply looking for others to strike up a conversation with over dinner or to attend a show with. 


While this is not always the case, those who identify as singles are often interested in getting to know other singles onboard for potential companionship.

To make matters even more confusing, there are also single solo cruisers for those who are sailing by themselves and who are hoping to meet other singles.

If you are interested in a singles cruise, you'll want to browse the internet for chartered sailings. These days, there's a themed cruise for everyone, including those hoping to meet a potential love interest at sea! 

Is it safe to go on a cruise alone?


You should always have your guard up on any, whether it is with your family or by yourself. Overall, cruises are extremely safe. Just like you'd tell your children to keep their wits about them as they navigate from your cabin to the teens' club, you'll want to be cautious both onboard and ashore. 

It's fine to be friendly, but you should never automatically volunteer the fact that you're traveling alone, tell anyone where your cabin is, or invite strangers there unless you've gotten to know them first.

Read more: I took my first solo cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line. After 5 nights, here are the pros and cons of cruising alone

What is a single supplement, and how can I avoid paying it?


The large majority of cruise ship cabins are designed for a minimum of two passengers, otherwise known as double occupancy.

Because your cruise line's bottom line of revenue is calculated based on two people per room, you will almost always have to pay a single supplement if you sail alone in a cabin meant for two. 

That means you will likely end up paying double the cruise fare. For many, that makes solo cruising unaffordable. Why pay for two people, even if you are just traveling by yourself?


There are, however, ways to avoid single supplements on a cruise. Some lines will offer discounts for solo travelers or waive single supplements on select voyages. Some, like Holland America, also offer to match lone passengers with another cruiser of the same gender who's also solo and wants to share a stateroom.

You could also try booking a solo cabin, sometimes called a studio. While smaller than other accommodations onboard, they allow you to cruise and just pay for one guest, rather than two. Some cruise lines, like Norwegian, even include access to a dedicated lounge for solo travelers, where you can meet other guests!

Read more: See exactly what a cabin designed for one person includes: solo traveler cruising

Which cruise lines have single cabins?


Priced for one, the fares of solo cabins are far more reasonable than what you'd pay to stay by yourself in double-occupancy digs, albeit with a little less space.

On some ships, mainly those in the NCL fleet, studio cabins for singles are clustered in one area of the ship, and they offer access to an exclusive solos-only lounge. 

If, however, you are set on a balcony cabin, it is important to know that the only option is usually an interior cabin of some sort. 

celebrity solo cabin

Of course, newer ships have started to broaden the categories of staterooms available onboard, including standard rooms, suites, and even solo cabins. 

Onboard Virgin Voyages' ships, for instance, you'll find two different types of rooms for single travelers: the Solo Insider and the Solo Sea View. As the name suggests, the latter rooms have an ocean view, which will allow you to gaze out at the sea from the comfort of your own cabin.

Additionally, Celebrity's Edge Class ships feature rooms for single guests that have their groundbreaking Infinite Verandas. With the push of a single button, you can turn your nicely appointed ocean view cabin into one with a balcony that brings the fresh air right inside. 

There are fewer single cabins than regular cabins onboard, meaning that if booking one interests you, you'll want to book as far in advance as possible. Otherwise, you might find that they're sold out for your desired cruise!

Read more: Going on a cruise alone? Here are the 8 best solo cruise cabins

How can I meet people on my cruise?


Cruising is one of the few forms of travel where you will plenty of chances to mingle with others in a safe and structured way. After all, you're with a finite group of people in the same place for an extended period of time with cruise staff who have a fun lineup of activities planned for your voyage!

Daily onboard activities, such as deck parties, gameshows, poolside competitions, dance classes, and trivia, are some of the best ways to get out and join the fun while making new friends. 

Put yourself out there: be an on-stage volunteer for the magic show, take part in the hairy chest competition, sing your heart out during karaoke, or strike up a conversation with others on your shore excursion. You never know you who will meet!

With that being said, if you're going to be sailing alone, I would recommend booking a shore excursion directly with your cruise line. This will not only increase your chances of forming relationships that can be built upon throughout the rest of the trip, but it also is safer than venturing off alone, especially if you don't have any cellular service. 

Rio Secreto

Read more: I took my first solo on MSC Cruises. After 4 nights, here are the pros and cons of cruising alone

If you're not necessarily a joiner, try opting for set seating in the main dining room for dinner, and be sure to request placement at a table with others. Most ships will do their best to seat you with other solo vacationers, so you'll have something in common right off the bat.

If you're booked in a single-occupancy cabin with access to a solos lounge, make a point to visit at various points throughout the day. 

You should also be on the lookout for dedicated singles lunches, happy hours, and other mixer-style events, which are generally listed in each ship's daily program on the first day or two of each voyage.

Some cruise lines (Cunard, for example) even have hosts, usually gentlemen for the single ladies onboard, who can accompany passengers to dinner or offer someone to dance with afterward.

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