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Sailing the high seas all by yourself might be the last thing you consider for a solo vacation. After all, splitting the cost of a cabin is what makes these ocean excursions such affordable vacation options. And then there’s the potential awkwardness of dinners alone and no one to play shuffleboard with during days at sea. In reality, a solo trip aboard a cruise ship is a highly rewarding one. In fact, many cruise lines are starting to put emphasis on solo travelers, with new offerings that make them both affordable and fun for folks traveling alone. Whether you’re looking to unwind on your own, or meet other people, here’s how to cruise for one.

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What size ship is right?

Solo travelers have their pick of the crop when it comes to cruise ships, be it a large ocean liner or smaller, river cruise boat. Ocean liners come in a variety of sizes, but what really matters is the amount of people you want to be around. If you don’t mind thousands of people, some of the larger ships might be a good fit. If you’re wanting something more intimate, one of the major cruise line’s smaller ships might be for you. No matter what ship you choose, there will be other solo travelers (as high as 20% on some cruises), so don’t worry about not being able to meet people in the mass of families and group travelers. River cruises, which tend to be more expensive than ocean liners, typically have a smaller guest count, around 150 or less. The common areas on these boats offer a place to chat and mingle with other guests. Since the ships are much smaller you tend to see the same people and it’s easier to get to know other cruisers—but by sheer volume there will be less people to meet. If you’re looking to really connect with people and not have to navigate a huge ship, river cruises are a great option.

Do I have to share a room with a stranger?

Not necessarily. One of the perks of traveling solo can be that you have a whole space to yourself as a respite from the hustle and bustle of the lido deck or dining room. Most cruise ships price out cabins based on double occupancy, so staying in a typical cruise ship room can be expensive for one person. However, there are cruise lines making cabins just for the solo traveler. Norwegian Cruise Line was the first to jump on this trend with their studio stateroom, which is near common areas specifically designed for a single cruiser. The studio rooms are about 100 square feet and include a private bathroom. Another option is to share a room. There are a few cruise lines like Adventure Canada, G Adventures, Lindblad, and Quark that offer a room sharing program. On these ocean liners, you are assigned a roommate to share a double occupancy room. You most likely won’t know the person you are matched with, and won’t meet them in person until you’re in your room together. All matches are the same sex, but might not be the same age, or have the same interests.

Are there activities for singles?

The simple answer is yes. There are dozens of activities for singles throughout a cruise and since you’re traveling alone, you can choose to participate in as many of them as you want. Single cruisers are invited to participate in the same activities that families and couples participate in, along with a few activities of their own with other singles: Think bar crawls, meet-ups, and even a Friends of Dorothy gathering for LGBTQ solo travelers. Norwegian Cruise Line even offers a Studio Lounge, which is a designated hangout space offered exclusively to guests traveling solo.

Whom will I dine with?

Cruise lines take great care in grouping people together for meals. Typically dinner is the meal that people will partake in together, but on smaller cruises breakfast and lunch may also be served in a group setting. You could be seated with other singles, or with a family. If you really want the ultimate solo trip you can always request a table for one though.

What else do I need to know?

There are a few things to remember when planning a cruise as a solo traveler. The first is to book early. This is when prices are typically the cheapest and there are the most options for rooms. Secondly, your vacation can be as busy or as relaxing as you want it to be. Don’t feel like you have to do everything if you don’t want to. Third, if you’re still baffled by where to go, visit where you can choose from dozens of destinations worldwide and then narrow your search via filters allowing for options like duration of trip, departure port, cruise line, and more.

Megan duBois
Megan is a freelance travel and lifestyle journalist with bylines at Popsugar, Insider, Delish, Travel + Leisure, TripSavvy, TODAY and more. Follow her on Twitter (@megand513) and Instagram (@minglingwithmegan) for more travel tips, tricks, and insider secrets.

Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.

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