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SkyPiglet

Nervous About First Solo Cruise, Carnival Paradise

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I have booked a five day cruise in the near future on the Carnival Paradise out of Tampa, and  I am a bit nervous. I have cruised seven times with Carnival and certainly know my way around, but I have always cruised with my then wife. Long story short, after many life changes in the past year, I need an escape, and booked a cruise, by myself, just me 🙂 I managed to find one that fit my schedule and budget on Carnival Paradise out of Tampa in February. Though excited as always, I am a bit nervous. If anyone has experience on solo cruises, or any cruise on Paradise, I would love your input.

 

1) I have never cruised by myself. For anyone who cruises solo, can you tell me what it's like and what to expect? Pros and cons? I am a bit of an introvert by nature, but the idea of setting my own schedule and activity choices is appealing.

2) I always do YTD (your time dining) due to the flexibility. Will this be awkward without a dining partner, or is the crew pretty responsive with the same level of service?

3) Carnival Paradise. I know Paradise is one of the smallest ships. I am more used the the larger ships (Breeze and Dream are my favorites). I have heard that the smaller ships are amazing, but at the same time, I know that they do not have as many activities. I know I will certainly miss the movies on the main deck. Is there anyone who knows the smaller ships that can make some recommendations?

4) Beverages. Since I am solo, Cheers is a lot more cost effective. On the other hand, Paradise has no Alchemy Bar (my favorite) and I believe there is no steakhouse bar either, so I will probably just do beverages a la carte. Under Cheers, I normally do 6-10 drinks per day. Without Cheers, it will be less. I plan on just getting a Carnival giftcard to settle my SnS account, for slightly less than Cheers (about $250) and see where it takes me. Thoughts?

5) Ports. In Grand Cayman, I am snorkeling on my own. It is walking distance from the dock. From Cozumel, I booked a Carnival excursion to Tulum. Any other suggestions to maximize my port time?

6) Sings and Solo's events. Has anyone attended these before? I am wondering if they are effective at all to meet people to hang out with during the cruise. I am NOT looking for the singles/hook-up scenes, but it might be nice to have some folks to hang out with on the cruise. As an introvert, I have no expectations, but would like know know what it's like.

 

Anyways, as I said, I a bit nervous about doing the whole thing on my own, but I am looking forward to it as an experience. That being said, any input/thoughts/suggestions/advice that is offered would be appreciated 🙂

 

Thank you much!

 

 

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Haven't cruised on Paradise, or solo before, but I can think of a couple things to help...

 

Join the Facebook group for your sailing, and check out the roll call on here. You might be able to link up with someone else sailing solo and plan to meet up.

 

I think you named the biggest pro yourself, there's a lot to be said for setting your own schedule, doing what you want to do when you want to do it, going to sleep when you want and sleeping as late as you want. If you sleep in, finding a solo lounger is always easier that finding two together.

 

If sitting in the main dinning room solo is causing you some stress for the "stares" you might get you can just avoid the dinning room. No one will bat an eye at you eating solo at the lido buffet, pizza, or in the comfort of your own room with room service.

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I've done seven solo cruises, three on the Ecstasy.  I am also an introvert.  I will sometimes choose to sail solo over sailing with a friend.

1) I have found that cruising is the absolute best choice for solo vacationing.  There really are no cons.  If you want people to talk with, you can find people to talk with.  Well, maybe the one con is that your plate may be cleared if you pop up to the buffet line or go get a coffee.

2) Dining.  I also do YTD.  Again, if you want to sit with people, this is an option.  I choose not to.  The service is the same. I tend to prefer the lido though, as I can get in and out.

3) I can't say I found any difference in the level of activity between my cruising solo on Ecstasy, with my cruises on the Conquest and the Glory.

4) I usually get Cheers cruising solo.  Alchemy is also my favorite place as a solo cruiser and this does enter into consideration in choosing a ship.  I did miss it on Ecstasy (sailed on it pre-Alchemy).  I used the Atrium bar as a pretty good substitute.

5) My solo Tulum excursion was one of my all time favorites.  It included the Cenote swim. It was a favorite because I made a friend on it, another solo cruiser, and we had a very good time together for the rest of the cruise. 

6) If you want people to hang out with, they will be easy to find.  The best way to make a friend is to be a friend.  The single/solo meet ups are very hit and miss.  On three of my solos, I spent a lot of time with them--but I think it had as much to do with the meet-ups originally being scheduled at the Alchemy.  Otherwise, bar talk, trivia games, excursions, all provided me with people to spend time with when I chose.

You'll have a great time.

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I ask to be seated with others in the DR.  I would do this rather than avoid the DR.  No one will stare.  Their faces will be in their plates. 😉  You should expect the same level of service as a couple would.  Visit us over in the Solo Cruisers forum. 

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My 1st two cruises were solo on the Paradise back in 2003, when it was smoke free.  I was assigned a dinner table with other solos, not seeking singles, and was free to make plans for excursions with any of them or to go out on my own.  Alone time or engaged with others, your choice.  It was the usual western itinerary,  Coz, Belize, Roatan & Cayman, and I liked it so much, I've probably repeated it 25 times or more.

 

Look under special interest cruising grouping on Cruise Critic and select the "solo cruisers" thread for a wealth of info.  Happy sailing.

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Here is a review I did about the Paradise

Cruising as a solo, you will meet lots of people.  I did it once.  At dinner, YTD is the best.  Have them sit you with other people and you will make friends.  Go and enjoy.  Since it is just you in the room, the cheers program probably is a good deal for you.  I think the break even is 5-6 drinks per day.  Sorry about the hard year and hope 2020 is a better year for you!

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On 12/10/2019 at 4:03 AM, Roz said:

I ask to be seated with others in the DR.  I would do this rather than avoid the DR.  No one will stare.  Their faces will be in their plates. 😉  You should expect the same level of service as a couple would.  Visit us over in the Solo Cruisers forum. 

 

I almost always cruise solo also. Carnival used to seat solos at the same dining room table. Met some of the best friends I'll ever have there. Even cruised with one of the ladies later on several times (we both have the same birthday). Sometimes even take my ex wife, but in general prefer to cruise alone. He travels fastest that travels alone. Do what you want, when you want . . . can't beat it. 🙂

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For dining I recommend you stick with YTD and when you check in at MDR they'll ask if you want to dine with other people, I highly recommend it - it provides a nice and comfortable social activity when cruising solo

 

 

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First of all I have cruised solo - 3 or 4 times out of the 26 total cruises on CCL - my last time was probably 2 -3 years ago.  Interestingly - I will be sailing solo on the Paradise next month (a four day).

 

I am from a large family and normally sail with my sister or with a group of family members - last month there were 13 of us on the Paradise.  I'm not normally an introvert, but when I sail solo I love being alone (lol).  It's very relaxing - doing what I want, when I want.  I do spend a lot of time in the casino, so I don't typically go to shows (seen all of them many times) and I've never eaten in the MDR when solo.  I eat at the Lido - and sometimes (particularly at night) I make a plate and bring it back to my cabin for a relaxing meal.  I don't mind sitting by myself on the Lido, but I'm just weird about eating alone in a restaurant setting.

 

I've been on the Paradise 3 times this year alone.  Like you I use to sail on the larger ships.   The Breeze is my favorite ship and I've sailed on her 4 times.  I like the Paradise - it's smaller, but it has everything I need (Guys, the Deli, etc).  True, it doesn't have the Alchemy or movies on the Lido, but that's not a deal breaker for me.  The service has always been great - I think that you will be fine with the smaller ship.

 

I've never been to the singles meet and greets so I can't help you with that.  I will say that it's always easy to meet people if that's something you want to do.  Sit at one of the bars and you will typically strike up a conversation with someone.  Like I said, I use solo cruises to be by myself, but when I want company I'm always able to find people to talk to.

 

I was also nervous about cruising by myself and wasn't sure whether I would like it.  I'm not saying that I would want to cruise alone all the time - I like being with family members - but I've enjoyed my solo cruises.

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I was on Paradise in March when we sailed to Cuba, had a great time.  Their shows were the best I'd seen, and the comedians were fantastic.  

 

We stopped at Cozumel on another cruise a couple of years ago and did the excursion to Tulum, it was well worth it.  There wasn't  time to do much of anything else at Cozumel though since we didn't get back to the ship until right before departure.  We had just enough time to briefly walk into a couple of shops on the way back to the ship and that was it.

 

 

 

 

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I’ve only taken one solo cruise (interestingly, right after a breakup with a girlfriend). I sailed on a 4 night cruise aboard the Fascination, sister ship to the Paradise. 
 

- From the moment I put my credit card info down and hit submit, I second guessed my decision. I thought I’d made the dumbest decision of my life. I remember being dropped off at the cruise terminal in Miami and dreading the next 4 days. But long story short, it was one of my most fun and memorable cruises ever.
 

- I had an assigned table, but initially I planned on going to eat at the buffet for the entire duration of the cruise. However, that first night, and after a few pre dinner drinks, I gained enough courage to go to the MDR. I figured that if it was awkward and it sucked, I wouldn’t go back the next night. I was assigned to a table for 10, all singles, and all around my age. We all clicked almost instantaneously. From that point on, they became my group, and we did a lot of onboard activities together. It was great. 
 

- In port, I’d venture out on my own. I also booked a snorkeling excursion in Cozumel which was wonderful. Then I met some of my table mates at a bar for drinks before heading back to the ship. It was one of my most enjoyable visits to Cozumel.
 

- The beauty of sailing solo was that I’d hang out with my newfound friends when I wanted, but when I wanted to go on my own or call it a night,  I’d just say bye and go on my way. No explanations required and no coordinating with others.  
 

- Initially, I didn’t tell anybody why I was sailing solo. But after a day or two, I told them that I was there after a recent breakup. Being on a cruise, and sharing my experience with others, was the perfect way to heal. 

It’s been 16 years since I took that cruise, and I’m still in touch via social media with some of the people I met on that cruise. I’m now married with small children, and although I now greatly enjoy sailing as a family, I look back and truly miss sailing the way I did on that solo cruise, and I wish I could do it again. Go with an open mind, don’t go with any type of expectations, but do expect to have a great time! 

Edited by Tapi

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If you like the freedom of being able to do what you want to do when you want, having the entire room to yourself with all the extra space, and don't always feel the need to have someone with you just to have a good time, then solo cruising could be something you'd enjoy.

 

I'd recommend this article. Most people are going to be so caught up in their conversations or whatever they are doing with their group that they won't even notice or care that you're by yourself. And if anyone does give you gruff about it, well after the cruise you'll never see them again so who cares what they think.

 

One word of advice: Don't count on the ship's solos/singles events. They always have these in a public area where there is nothing stopping all the non solo/single people from showing up. And you'll likely be in a crowd of people with no way to tell who is there for the solo meetup or not (if any solos even bother to show up!). Lots of other good advice in this thread as well.

 

 

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I’ve never been on paradise. I do have three fantasy class cruises and 12 solo cruises under my belt. Since I do the live reviews everything I’ve done on a ship is out there for public consumption. But if you have any questions feel free to ask. 
 

I’m more of a dine alone type. It keeps things moving and frees up my evenings for other things. 
 

Some advantages of solo cruising, do whatever you want, have your own room, only need 1 seat at a bar or show, only need 1 cheers program, one set of gratuities, and if you change your cruise they don’t charge you for two people (for a change.)

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To everyone who has replied.... thank you all for the advice! A few points that were brought up...

 

Dining: I am definitely a MDR diner as opposed to Lido. I enjoy the food and experience a bit more. Back at home, I do occasionally go out to dine alone, so I am not too worried about that. I was just wondering if it might be different on the ship. I hadn't really thought about asking to share a table with others for YTD though, so I will definitely give that a try. Not having to worry about deciding when/where to eat with someone else really opens up possibilities too.

 

Ports:  I am more excited about my port time than in the past, since I can plan my activities out for myself, and not worry about the cost for two people, or negotiating with the other person about what to do.

 

Pre-Cruise Groups: I took your advice and joined the Facebook group for my sailing. There isn't a roll-call here yet... maybe I should start one.

 

Activities: This is my biggest worry. I am planning on doing the production shows, comedy club and Maybe hit up the piano bar. There will likely be other random activities going on. If I keep myself busy, this shouldn't be a problem.

 

Cheers: Going back and forth on this one. In past cruises, it has certainly been worth it for me, and with just me to pay for, it does make sense. I will probably just buy a $250 giftcard and wait till closer to sailing to use it, or apply it to my account on board if I don't get Cheers. 

 

All in all, I think I just need to keep myself busy, and dive into on-board activities. Like any cruise, attitude makes or breaks the experience, so I will go in with enthusiasm, and see how it goes! I know I only have until February, but it seems so far away!

 

CoW mAn, thanks for the video, that is very helpful!

MLJS, thanks for posting your detailed review, especially all the food and drink menus! Going under the Sunshine Bridge looks exciting, I will have to make sure I don't miss that! 

Naxer, slightly off topic, but what part of Michigan are you from? I am in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area.

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Cruising is a great solo vacation! I’ve done 1.5 solo cruises (the .5 is for going with my mother-in-law but then spending most of the time by myself) and wouldn’t hesitate to do one again. The first one I met people and did some activities with them. The .5 I simply hung out alone. It’s very peaceful. 😀

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On 12/11/2019 at 8:04 PM, Tapi said:

 

- I had an assigned table, but initially I planned on going to eat at the buffet for the entire duration of the cruise. However, that first night, and after a few pre dinner drinks, I gained enough courage to go to the MDR. I figured that if it was awkward and it sucked, I wouldn’t go back the next night. I was assigned to a table for 10, all singles, and all around my age. We all clicked almost instantaneously. From that point on, they became my group, and we did a lot of onboard activities together. It was great. 
 

- In port, I’d venture out on my own. I also booked a snorkeling excursion in Cozumel which was wonderful. Then I met some of my table mates at a bar for drinks before heading back to the ship. It was one of my most enjoyable visits to Cozumel.
 

 

 

 

I was assigned to a table of 6 and they were all singles also. A golf pro, a television producer, a travel agent, a nurse, and a drop-dead gorgeous lady from Thailand. I always cruised on my birthday and when it came time for the Happy Birthday cake at my table they had TWO of them. It turned out the nurse and I were born on the same day of the year so we got TWO cakes ! We became dear friends and cruised together two other times on our birthdays. 🙂 The travel agent provided two bottles of wine to our table every night so a good time was had by all. The young tv producer on his first cruise had to excuse himself from the table while looking at the menu the first night (very rough seas and barf bags were all over the ship). He recovered marvelously and placed 2nd in the Halloween costume contest. 🙂 That beautiful Thai treat asked me to accompany her to the showroom as she loosened up around day 3 and enjoyed her company often. We had great time, all of us. I still communicate with several of them frequently. Great table of solos.

 

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