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SINGLES GUIDE TO CRUISING ALONE

HOW TO AVOID THE SINGLE SUPPLEMENT

 Many cruise lines charge extra when you have a cabin to yourself, anywhere from 25 percent to 100 percent extra over the per person rate with double occupancy. But some cruise companies are single friendly. They have small cabins for single occupancy or allow single occupancy of double cabins without extra charge if a cruise is not fully booked. Some will match you with another single traveler if available, and if they don't find you a match, you are given a cabin alone without extra charge. Some will not charge a supplement if you are willing to be flexible on location and take whatever cabin is available.

Or you can go with a tour group organized just for singles, people sharing similar interests and eager to make new friends (see the box Upcoming Cruises & Upcoming Trips for current trips scheduled. Click on them to see what you would like, then sign up for a week of new friends and great adventure.

CRUISE LINES THAT ARE SINGLE FRIENDLY
Cruise lines are more and more realizing the importance of marketing to single cruisers and many are setting aside greater numbers of single cabins.
For example, American Cruise Lines have singles cabins on all their ships. Norwegian Epic has a section of 128 inside cabins known as Studio Staterooms that are designed for single cruisers and carry no single supplement.

The following cruise lines have single cabins on some ships, have programs
for matching singles, or sometimes waive single supplements.
American Canadian Caribbean Line (Blount)
American Cruise Lines

American Queen Steamboat Company
ANGERMEYER Cruises (Galapagos Islands)
Blackbeard Cruises
Canadian Sailing Expeditions
Cunard Line
Galapagos Island Cruises - Evolution
Hebridean
International Expeditions
Lindblad Expeditions
Norwegian Cruise Line
Princess Cruises
Sea Voyager Expeditions
Voyages to Antiquity (26 single cabins)


ADVICE ON CRUISING ALONE

For any single person who is hesitating about cruising -- don’t hesitate. Go.  A cruise is a great way for a single person to travel.

On a cruise, you never have to eat alone unless you want to, and you can walk up and talk to somebody at the railing or at the bar without feeling awkward about it. Almost always there are other singles on board, and even if not, most people are so open and outgoing that you quickly feel at home and part of things, much more so than at a hotel or resort as a single.

Typical examples: On one Central America cruise I met a TV producer who loved jazz as much as I did and we listened to the piano player on many evenings. On a big band cruise to the Caribbean I was on the ship for less than an hour when two dance hosts introduced themselves. We still keep in touch. On small ships it is easy to become friends with the officers or staff, exchanging ideas and stories about their countries. Even if all passengers are couples, there is much to do and see and share.

You can go on a cruise as a single in several ways: you can go totally alone; you can go with one other person or several friends; or you can go with a tour group specifically marketed for singles. If you have trouble finding a friend to share a cabin, some cruise lines will match people. Some cruise companies have singles-only cruises.

HOW SHOULD I PICK A CRUISE MATE?
Make sure you and your potential cruise mate are compatible on important points. Does he snore and you’re a light sleeper? Does she talk incessantly and you like to read? Do you like to get up at dawn and he sleeps till noon?

Don’t worry if you have different interests. You are not obligated to go to all the same things. If you want to go on the early morning birding trip and your traveling companion wants to check out the local museum, go your separate ways. You can compare experiences at dinner.

WHAT ABOUT MEN AND WOMEN TRAVELING TOGETHER?
It’s acceptable these days for a man and woman to cruise together, sharing a cabin, when they are ‘just friends’. So don’t be shocked or insulted if someone of the opposite sex asks if you want to go on a cruise -- just discuss the ground rules first.

WHAT ABOUT BEING BORED OR FEELING CONFINED?
People who haven’t cruised sometimes have the idea that they might be bored on a cruise. The days are gone of passengers swathed in blankets snoozing in their deck chairs. There are usually more things to do than you have time for. And you won’t feel confined ... being at sea usually gives you a sense of freedom and openness.

HOW DO I CHOOSE A SHIP AS A SINGLE?
Ships come in all shapes and sizes. They may be huge with thousands of passengers, small with a few hundred, or really small like a private yacht. There are ocean liners and sailing ships, icebreakers in the Antarctic and Arctic, and river boats that go on the Mississippi, Danube, Nile, Yangtze, Volga, or the remote tributaries of the Amazon. Some ships have casinos, others have lectures; some are dressy, some are casual. Many have theme cruises from wine tasting to golf, opera, bridge, and gardens. Think what pleases you and choose accordingly.

HOW CAN I MAKE FRIENDS ON BOARD?
Board early rather than at the last minute and use the time to get acquainted with the ship and meet some of the other early arrivers. It’s easier to talk to people in small groups and when everyone is as new to the ship as you are. Go to the mixers. You will have one or two persons you will know the next day. Wear an interesting tee or sweat shirt showing another ship you have been on or a remote place you have been that people will comment on. Look at people. Smile.

CRUISING FOR A SINGLE PARENT
Cruises are a good choice for a single parent with a child or for a grandparent giving a very special experience to a grandchild. Some ships have special activities for kids, but even if they don’t, there are plenty of things to do so that boredom is not a problem. A cruise can give a child the opportunity to relate to different people and cultures. Hundreds of years of history can come to life in visits to historic ports. Remember to check for current regulations if traveling out of your country with a child. You probably need a notarized statement from a parent giving permission for the child to travel with you.

DANCING ON A CRUISE SHIP
Many ships have dance hosts who are available to dance with single women or women with husbands who don’t like to dance. Some ships with dance hosts:  Silver Wind , Silver Cloud, and ships of  Crystal, Celebrity, Costa, Cunard, Holland America, Orient, Regent Seven Seas, and Norwegian Cruise Line. Some of them have hosts on board only for cruises of more than seven days, so if this is important to you be sure to ask. If you are on a ship with no dance hosts sometimes officers like to be asked to dance. You can also join groups such as Merry Widows that book as a group and bring their own dance hosts, or join one the group at the Upcoming Cruises box.


To read more cruise reports and travel articles go to
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Single's Guide to Cruise Vacations



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