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After 4 solo cruises, these are the reasons I'll probably never cruise alone again

Jenna selfie next to image of Costa Toscana cruise ship

After taking four cruises by myself, it’s unlikely to be something I do again.

From sharing laughs with friends and family over dinner, exploring romantic ports of call with a loved one, and partying on the pool deck with a group of friends, cruising is a vacation experience that caters to groups traveling together.

Yet although the vast majority of cruisers travel with others, there are some passengers onboard traveling solo, whether they prefer solo travel or just couldn’t find anyone to come with them.

Pool deck on Costa Toscana

As someone who cruises frequently for work, I try to bring a guest whenever possible. Unsurprisingly, it’s usually easy to find someone to tag along, but there have been the occasional cruises where no one was available. Out of twenty-two cruises, only four have been completely solo.

Cruising solo has several pros, from more flexibility to additional space in your cabin, but personally, I find the cons greatly outweigh the pros. Some solo cruisers swear by solo travel, but, if I’m being honest, I strongly dislike cruising alone.

From the awkward solo dinners to feeling lonely, here’s why I’ll probably never cruise alone again.

Cruising is largely an activity for families and couples, which means solo cruisers pay more

Costa Toscana ship exterior

Cruise lines almost exclusively cater to families and couples traveling together. It’s rare to see marketing for solo guests, and a cruise line’s pricing model generally reflects two people in each cabin.

Because of this, solo cruisers are, in a way, “punished” for traveling alone. In most circumstances, solo cruisers must pay what is called the single supplement fee. This fee is an additional expense added to a solo cruiser’s standard cruise fare. It’s meant to cover the loss of not having a second paying guest in the cabin.

Some might call this fee unfair whereas others will justify it as a necessary business decision. Regardless, as a solo cruiser, the single supplement fee makes me less likely to book cruises alone. Why pay $1,000 for a week by myself when a guest could join me for only a few hundred dollars more?

Bed on Costa Toscana

Thankfully, some cruise lines, such as Norwegian Cruise Line, are more friendly toward solo cruisers. NCL has an entire area of the ship dedicated to solo guests, and cruisers in this area are not subject to a single supplement fee.

Other cruise lines, like Royal Caribbean, offer a few select studio rooms, but these are few and far between and aren't available on the newest ships in the fleet.

Related: Inside a studio cabin on Norwegian Cruise Line

I find meals in the Main Dining Room alone awkward, but I don’t necessarily want to eat with strangers

Pesto dish on Costa Toscana

Out of everything I dislike about solo cruising, it’s perhaps meals in the Main Dining Room that I dislike the most.

Enjoying meals, primarily dinner, in a cruise ship’s Main Dining Room is a staple cruise ship activity. It's something many cruisers, including myself, look forward to each time they sail.

As a solo cruiser, though, I do not enjoy eating in the Main Dining Room alone. Unlike more casual venues like the buffet or grab-and-go restaurants, the Main Dining Room feels more formal, and I always feel a bit awkward dining there alone.

MDR on NCL Viva

Perhaps it’s because there aren’t many 20-something women cruising alone, but I always feel a sense of confusion from crew members and other passengers when eating at a table alone in the Main Dining Room.

Meanwhile, I also don’t love to sit with strangers, either. Often, while cruising alone, cruise lines will assign you to a shared table. I don’t mind meeting other guests, but I would rather just have a quick, casual meal by myself at another venue.

For these reasons, I tend to avoid the Main Dining Room as much as possible while cruising solo. I recognize I should probably just strengthen my comfort level with dining alone, but it's simply something I do not enjoy.

Related: Why you should eat dinner in the buffet

Although I’m extroverted, I can be too shy to strike up conversations with others onboard

Back of ship Costa Toscana

I’m not an introvert by any means, but I’m not the type of cruiser to strike up conversations with anyone I see, either.

Cruising solo can be lonely, and it’s not always easy to meet new people. I might chat with a fellow guest while waiting for a drink at a bar or during a game of trivia, but it can feel nerve-wracking to start a conversation with other guests.

Therefore, buying an internet package when cruising solo is a must for me. It allows me to chat with friends and family back home during the cruise, which quickly alleviates any feelings of loneliness.

I enjoy exploring ports by myself, but the experience would still be more fun with someone else

Jenna in La Rochelle France

Exploring ports is one of my favorite aspects of a cruise vacation, whether a busy European city or a desolate Antarctic island. For most passengers, port days are a time to make memories with friends and family, but as a solo cruiser, I’m usually exploring by myself.

Sure, you can join shore excursions to spend port days with others, but I am not the biggest fan of cruise line excursions. I often find the pace too slow and groups too big, leading me to forgo group excursions in favor of independent exploration.

Related: How to plan your own shore excursion

Walking around a new port could seem intimidating as a solo traveler, but it’s actually one of the aspects of solo cruising I enjoy the most. Whether I want to hike up hundreds of steps to see a cathedral in Marseille or spend the day lounging on a beach in Nassau, I do not need to make compromises with anyone else.

However, exploring solo also comes with cons. In general, I find port days more enjoyable when I’m sharing the experience with friends and family. Personally, I find it’s always more magical to marvel at the world’s wonders with someone you care about.

One thing I do love is having my cabin all to myself

Oasis of the Seas cruise cabin

My favorite aspect of solo cruising, by a landslide, is having a cabin all to myself.

The vast majority of cruise cabins are anything but spacious. Most cabins have little space to move around, especially when cruising in the smallest interior rooms.

When sharing a cabin with another passenger, though, the cabin somehow feels significantly smaller. With two passengers' clothes, shoes, luggage, chargers, day bags, and toiletries, a small cabin can quickly become a disorganized mess.


Cruising by myself means my cabin is truly my home for the week. I can organize my belongings as I see fit, and as an early riser, I don’t have to worry about tiptoeing around the room in the morning to not disturb other travelers. 

I also feel safe as a young, solo woman on a cruise ship

Oasis of the Seas pool deck

After traveling to nearly forty countries, there have been very few times in my travel history where I’ve ever felt worried for my safety.

Nonetheless, traveling solo as a young woman requires taking extra precautions. I rarely walk alone through cities at night, and I am discreet about my hotel location and travel plans when chatting with locals.

A cruise is like a breath of fresh air when traveling solo. I feel extremely safe on a cruise ship. Not only are there hundreds of cameras throughout any vessel, but each ship has a robust security team, and crew members do everything possible to make sure passengers are comfortable and safe onboard.

In a way, I am able to turn my mind “off” when cruising solo, which is a contrast to being constantly hyper-alert when traveling solo on a land-based trip.

At the end of the day, I just prefer to have company on a cruise vacation

Jenna posing with her siblings on Radiance of the Seas

Cruising solo has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, but after four cruises completely alone, it’s not something I’m likely to do again. While there are some aspects of solo cruising I enjoy, such as having my cabin all to myself, I would almost always rather have someone with me onboard.

Some of my favorite cruising memories have been watching the sunset in Greece with my siblings, spotting whales in Alaska with my parents, and island hopping in The Bahamas with friends. The family-focused cruising model works perfectly when cruising with friends and family, but not so much when I’m cruising alone.

In short, while I’m not opposed to cruising alone again if the circumstances require it, I have come to realize I simply do not enjoy cruising by myself nearly as much as cruising with others.

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