Posted January 26th, 2013, 07:22 PM
My experience cruising solo seems to be a little different from everyone else. I took a 3 day Bahamas cruise in late December - it was my first cruise - and of course first solo cruise. I had quite a few awkward moments. First, I felt it was awkward boarding the ship, and they take your picture -obviously to try to sell you a copy later. I immediately recognized that I was the only solo cruiser, since everyone else was families or couples. Departure was awkward...everyone was with their partners or families in a party mood, and I was alone. Dinner the first night was when it came to a head. Table for six, but only one couple who was Italian and very much in love showed up. No one to talk to, and the servers kept asking when the rest of my party was going to show up. Again, the photographer came around taking pictures of the groups, and then when he came to me, I was depressed by this time, and declined. Went to the solo/singles meetups but no one else showed, and so the first night, I wanted off of that ship so bad.
I will say it got better over the next 2 days. I guess I just accepted that I was alone, but I struggled to find people to talk to. The hot tub on the last day was where I finally found people to talk to, and was invited to eat dinner with some folks I met there.
I guess being satisfied with cruising solo has to do with your expectations and whether you enjoy being alone. I don't enjoy being alone, although I'm accustomed to it, and had an expectation of quickly making friends, so for me it was awkward and disappointing.
The good news, even with my disappointment, I haven't ruled out cruising again. Too many places I want to go, and cruising seems to be the most economical.
Your first days experience on your cruise sounds a lot like my first day on my first cruise. I didn't know about CC then but had found another board a few days before I cruised, it wasn't much help. I didn't really know what to expect and was one of only two solo cruisers on the ship. Heck, I was so new to cruising (and obviously didn't do much research) that I didn't know there was a big sail away party, LOL! But I had expected that most of the other passengers would be families/couples/groups traveling together and had traveled solo for decades. What surprised me the most on that cruise was the reluctance of some to engage in basic polite conversation when sharing a table (it was on NCL and Free Style dining had just started), the hot tub, etc. Even though I enjoy my own company and had traveled for decades solo, it was jarring that people could be so openly rude.
But like your experience, as the cruise progressed I began meeting people who were nice and fun. Some invited me to join them for dinner, other times I invited people to join me. Joining the Roll Call tends to be a good way to start the cruise off with "friends" b/c most of them have a get together on the first day so you are meeting people you have been chatting with right away. Also, longer cruises allow you to relax and see the same people again and again so there is more opportunity to socialize with those you like.
What I've come to realize is the first day of a cruise is very exciting and people get wrapped up in the experience and sharing it with those they came with but as the cruise progresses they tend to socialize more with the other passengers, including solos. This happens on shore excursions as well. I will get in the line and people are chatting among themselves, some giving me a curious look, but about half-way through (sometimes sooner) people start chatting me up.
Solo travel/cruising isn't for everyone but if you are comfortable traveling solo and patient you will meet many nice/fun people cruising.
That isn't to say there won't be awkward moments, like the time I was seated with a group of women traveling together in the MDR and only one of them would speak to me, but overall those moments measured against the great time I have cruising are easily ignored or forgotten.
I hope you give cruising another try but if not there are agencies that arrange travel for solos you might find enjoyable.