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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Cruising Solo

by Paul Pakusch

Altogether, I have been on 18 cruises. In the past four years, many of my experiences have been to cruise alone as a passenger. On these cruises, I have had a cabin to myself. Usually cruise lines charge for two people per cabin. You can add a third or fourth guest in the cabin for a reduced rate. But when you travel by yourself, cruise lines still want the minimum of two passengers per cabin. 

Once in awhile, you can find a deal where you get a reduced rate for traveling by yourself. In my experience, most cruise lines do not have this option. If you talk to a travel agent, look on the various web sites, or do web searches, you can sometimes find one of these deals. You have to be persistent about finding them. I have found these deals with Norwegian Cruise Line. I stumbled onto it for the first time in March of 2016. It was not something I expected, I just happened to get lucky because I booked it at the last moment, about four days before the cruise was scheduled to depart. What I discovered is that Norwegian Cruise Line will sometimes offer a solo cruise rate at the last minute when they are trying to fill up the cabins on a ship. That particular Cruise was on the Norwegian Jade out of Houston, with a Caribbean itinerary.

Norwegian Cruise Line in general seems to have a better deal for solo cruisers than most if not all of the other cruise lines. Norwegian has been building cabins on its newer ships designed specifically for a solo cruiser. These cabins are smaller than the other cabins, and they offer no privacy for the shower stall. If you're by yourself, quite frankly you don't need any privacy. The bathroom does have a door on it. I've found the cabins to be layed out in an efficient manner for the amount of space available.

The solo cabins are grouped together in the center of the ship, so they don't have any outside views or balconies. What they do have is a shared private lounge called The Studio that is accessible only with your room key. The studio is a good place for solo travelers to get together, have a drink, chat, and meet to discuss activities that they can do together. A crew member is assigned to the solo travelers, and they meet early each evening to discuss possibilities of activities to do together. These activities include the dining rooms where all can sit together. Sometimes they get seats together in the theater for the evening show. Depending on what other activities the  solo cruisers are interested in, they can make plans to do those activities together.

On that March 2016 cruise, five of us solo cruisers got together to rent motor scooters to to travel around Cozumel Mexico for 4 hours. We had a blast! I have been involved in other activities with solo cruisers such as going on shore excursions together, dancing, dance contests, and other games. I have never felt alone while cruising solo. It's been a great way to meet people from all over the world. I have stayed in touch with many of them.

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