Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!
I'm a 33 year old female and have done 4 or 5 cruises in the past with friends and family and find it a great way of seeing lots of places. I'm really keen to do a trip to the middle east but likely to be just me - wondered if anyone had any suggestions for which line might be most suitable - I know lots of people talk about the Epic for solo cruisers but doesn't really do the itinerary I want. The ports are more important to me than the night life. If anyone has any suggestions I'd really appreciate them.
Just find the itinerary that works best for you and go for it. The whole solo thing doesn't really matter as long as the itinerary interests you. I've done the Middle East twice, both on Crystal, and the experience was fantastic.
I'm also a solo female traveler in my mid-thirties. I've done one solo Eastern Med (Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel) on Costa and I have another Eastern Med (Italy, Turkey, Crete, Cypress, Israel) planned next month with NCL.
Costa was interesting as a solo English speaking passenger. Their target audience is European, so the majority of guests were not native English speakers (I think there were about 200 of 3,500 on my trip). This was never a problem - all the staff spoke English, I was seated at a dinner table of English speakers, and all announcements are in multiple languages. The only thing that can be difficult is shore excursions - several were cancelled because there weren't enough English speaking passengers to support the tour. All others I took were dual-language (either english/spanish or english/german); where the tour guide does everything in two languages. There weren't any specific activities for solo travelers on Costa, but there were plenty of other activities you could join in (trivia, crafts, dance lessons, etc.).
I’ve also traveled on MSC (not solo) and would say the solo experience would be similar to what I experienced on Costa.
If you are interested, I will let you know how my NCL experience is different. Since it is not considered a ‘budget’ cruise line and caters to more American’s I suspect there will be more opportunity to interact and share experiences than what I have experienced in the past.
I would suggest you choose the itinerary that interests you the most and go for it. The experience will be as good as you make it!
Norwegian Spirit 1/14
Norwegian Jade 12/12
Costa Pacifica 4/12
MSC Muscia 11/11
Island Princess 9/05
I've went on a North Africa and the near east cruise twice solo on the Norwegian Jade (last year and a few weeks ago) it went to Egypt, Turkey and Greece from Italy. This itinerary is finished for the season but they will be heading to Israel and Turkey I believe. I'd definitely go for it, I had a great time, like with most vacations a cruise will usually be what you make of it. Bon Voyage!
As the others have already said, I don't think there are major differences between the "mainstream" lines that cater predominantly to the American/English speaking market. I suppose Princess, Holland America, and Celebrity may be a bit more laid back, and NCL and Royal Caribbean may be a bit livelier depending on when you go. (Summer = more younger passengers.)
Costa and MSC will have a more varied group of passengers and less catering to American/English speaking market.
I've cruised the Eastern Med on Princess, Holland America, and on the Aegean Odyssey (350 passenger ship of Voyages to Antiquity). All were just fine for a solo. I enjoyed the smaller ship the most. You get a chance to meet and get to know people better when there are fewer. However, it certainly doesn't boast much nightlife.
__________________ Little by little, one travels far. -- J.R.R. Tolkien