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Best advice for first time solo cruiser


coloradocruiselover88
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Following this thread, first solo cruise on April 24 (if it goes) and next solo on Sept 5th, even planning a solo TA in 2022.

Even when traveling with others I like my "alone time quite a bit" and as someone mentioned above I plan to bring a book for mealtimes and bars.

I also have not been able to make reservations for anytime dining on RCL-will not give me an option to book a time but it looks like it will for a specialty restaurant (I very badly want to try Wonderland just waiting until the cruise gets closer before I put down anymore money). 

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12 hours ago, DCP said:

Thanks to all who posted here. My husband of 4 years died unexpectedly just before Thanksgiving. We loved to cruise, and this is the first I have been back on CC since his passing.  All of your posts give me hope that I will be able to cruise again solo and still be able to enjoy it. 

 

Hi again @DCP. Just saw your post here after posting with you on the other thread. Again, my condolences on the loss of your husband.

 

I'm in the same boat (errr...ship), in that I will be venturing into the solo cruising world for the first time also. I am confident that we are both going to continue to love cruising as solos!

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Just my 2c, but as a solo I didn't really enjoy my speciality dining experience on the Queen Elizabeth. The food and service were, of course, faultless. There were though long gaps between courses, presumably because the food was being cooked to order, and if I'd had a dining companion these would have been welcome opportunities for conversation. As a solo, though, I felt somewhat self conscious, but would have felt equally uncomfortable reading a book at an upmarket restaurant table. But YMMV and if on a future cruise I found another solo who was up for sharing a table I'd do it.

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  • 3 months later...
On 1/28/2020 at 10:23 PM, LandlockedCruiser01 said:

 

I think 3 solo cruises count as "experienced", so...

 

There should be plenty of opportunities for you to meet new people.  I met an incredibly fun group of friends in the piano bar at night.  They liked my off-the-wall comments, so they adopted me, and the rest is history.  There are also karaokes, trivia contests, and so on.  I met them on the second night (the piano bar was closed the first night), so most of my cruise turned out to be being more fun than a barrel on monkeys.  I must give props to the pianist.  He did an awesome job creating a lively social atmosphere.

 

You will have lonely moments even if you make new friends, so mentally prepare yourself.  They're most likely to come up on embarkation night, after dinner and shows ended, but before you meet people to hang out informally with.  You can preempt that by carefully reading through the activity newsletter, to find activities that have high odds of bringing people together.  Or you can just call it a night early on the first night, to avoid putting yourself in a lonely situation in the first place.

 

I wouldn't be able to help you much with dinner, since lack of assigned dining is the main reason I shy away from NCL.  I don't care if I eat breakfast or lunch alone---those meals are "utilitarian" to an extent.  But eating dinner alone feels lonely, because it's more of a social meal. Still, as Lois R pointed out, I believe the maitre d' on NCL gives you an option to share a table when you come to the MDR.  

 

Perhaps you'll find my Carnival Inspiration review useful.  (It's really more of a travelogue than a review.)  Read through it when you can.  I touched heavily on the social aspects of my solo experience, like watching out for lonely moments, filling downtime, and meeting people.  The only difference is that CCL does have assigned dining, which was a big lifesaver for me.

I sail solo quite a bit on HAL and have on NCl. HAL is a solo friendly cruise line. oNly their newer ships have solo cabins but their staff and other passengers are really welcoming and friendly. In the Lido people will ask you to sit with them and everyone is friendly and chatty at breakfast and lunch. At dinner the MDR at open seating always has a shared table going so you can always sit with someone who is interested in meeting new people. I also meet people to dine with at the CC meetups and the first evening sailaway. 

 

When I have been on NCL at two different times, although they say you can share tables int eh MDR once I get there they tell me no one wants to share which tells me they are not doing their job. AT HAL when anyone come in for a table solo or not the main desk asks if you are interested in sharing. Also there are always tables available if you meet someone and want to go eat with no reservation. 

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12 hours ago, lilybay said:

When I have been on NCL at two different times, although they say you can share tables int eh MDR once I get there they tell me no one wants to share which tells me they are not doing their job. AT HAL when anyone come in for a table solo or not the main desk asks if you are interested in sharing. Also there are always tables available if you meet someone and want to go eat with no reservation. 

I think the solo tables make more sense when there are set dining times. With NCL's Freestyle dining, there are no set times and you just wander into the MDR whenever you decide it's dinner time. 

 

Instead, you have the dedicated solo host. The daily solo meeting is scheduled right before normal dinner time; if there's enough interest, the host will arrange for an MDR table for which you show up if you're interested. So if you want to dine with other solos, attend that day's solo meeting.

 

I'm more of a buffet person, though. My attention span is too short for the MDR!

 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Hi, Julie here.

 

I am taking my first cruise in 12 years in April. Reflection TA,  FLL to Rome.

 

And yes my first solo!

 

Your posts have been extremely encouraging and helpful.  I am shy.  Imagine a

former flight attendant based in Frankfurt, Chicago and Philadelphia being shy!

I have spent time in Beijing alone, while my flying partners shopped, I went to the

Forbidden City.   I do plan to enlist the help of "With Locals" while in Rome. I have 

been to Rome twice and plan to repeat my previous sites. Small group ship excursions

appeal as well.

 

My ONLY concern is eating dinner alone.  Thanks to your tips, it appears I can

be seated with other solos or perhaps a nice group of ladies.

 

Sitting alone at a bar or lounge sounds scary. Especially since I haven't been in a bar

for 20 years.

 

I plan to take advantage of fitness classes.  Pilates Reformer and Zumba at my daily

trips to our YMCA are my only non family socializing.  The Solarium sounds nice.

  

Thank you one and all for sharing.  It makes me more confident!

 

😊  Julie

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15 hours ago, jules27556 said:

Hi, Julie here.

 

I am taking my first cruise in 12 years in April. Reflection TA,  FLL to Rome.

 

And yes my first solo!

 

Your posts have been extremely encouraging and helpful.  I am shy.  Imagine a

former flight attendant based in Frankfurt, Chicago and Philadelphia being shy!

I have spent time in Beijing alone, while my flying partners shopped, I went to the

Forbidden City.   I do plan to enlist the help of "With Locals" while in Rome. I have 

been to Rome twice and plan to repeat my previous sites. Small group ship excursions

appeal as well.

 

My ONLY concern is eating dinner alone.  Thanks to your tips, it appears I can

be seated with other solos or perhaps a nice group of ladies.

 

Sitting alone at a bar or lounge sounds scary. Especially since I haven't been in a bar

for 20 years.

 

I plan to take advantage of fitness classes.  Pilates Reformer and Zumba at my daily

trips to our YMCA are my only non family socializing.  The Solarium sounds nice.

  

Thank you one and all for sharing.  It makes me more confident!

 

😊  Julie

Julie:

 

First of all, congratulations on choosing a transatlantic for your first "return" sailing. I've taken six of them---three in each direction---and have a seventh booked for March of 2022 (Miami to Lisbon on the Oceania Riviera). They're so relaxing.

 

Although I normally cruise with my wife, I've taken four solo cruises, all on large ships (Princess and NCL) that don't appeal to my wife. Virtually every night on those solo cruises I dined alone---and enjoyed it. I got great service from the maître d' and waitstaff, I enjoyed all the people-watching, and I often had delightful conversations with people at adjoining tables. 

 

The key to dining alone is to go in with confidence and enthusiasm. Do NOT bring a book or kindle to read; it will make you look like you're hiding from the world and afraid of human interaction. The right attitude will impress people and maybe attract them to you. Be brave and have fun.

 

Jim

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3 hours ago, jimdee3636 said:

Julie:

 

First of all, congratulations on choosing a transatlantic for your first "return" sailing. I've taken six of them---three in each direction---and have a seventh booked for March of 2022 (Miami to Lisbon on the Oceania Riviera). They're so relaxing.

 

Although I normally cruise with my wife, I've taken four solo cruises, all on large ships (Princess and NCL) that don't appeal to my wife. Virtually every night on those solo cruises I dined alone---and enjoyed it. I got great service from the maître d' and waitstaff, I enjoyed all the people-watching, and I often had delightful conversations with people at adjoining tables. 

 

The key to dining alone is to go in with confidence and enthusiasm. Do NOT bring a book or kindle to read; it will make you look like you're hiding from the world and afraid of human interaction. The right attitude will impress people and maybe attract them to you. Be brave and have fun.

 

Jim

Jim, Thank you for the important tips!   Especially being brave!  That was certainly easy for me on an aircraft!  I am really looking forward to the crossing and with so many excellent tips I certainly am growing in confidence!  Julie😊

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Hi Julie,🙂 I have been sailing solo for nearly 20 years.  Once you board the ship, things will really relax🙂

Most cruisers are really friendly.    

 

I do have a comment about what you mentioned.......please try not to be scared to sit at the bar. It is actually a good way to meet other folks.  It doesn't matter if you are on your own and others are not.

I have met plenty of people in the same bar/lounge on multiple evenings. It is not like going to bar at home........you will get to know the bartenders (If you are so inclined) and many folks also enjoy meeting other people. Some go to the same place each night for pre-dinner or post dinner drinks.

 

I don't go to bars here at home, unless it is in one of the restaurants I patronize and I have dinner there, at the bar.

 

Hope this helps a bit.🙂

 

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1 hour ago, Lois R said:

Hi Julie,🙂 I have been sailing solo for nearly 20 years.  Once you board the ship, things will really relax🙂

Most cruisers are really friendly.    

 

I do have a comment about what you mentioned.......please try not to be scared to sit at the bar. It is actually a good way to meet other folks.  It doesn't matter if you are on your own and others are not.

I have met plenty of people in the same bar/lounge on multiple evenings. It is not like going to bar at home........you will get to know the bartenders (If you are so inclined) and many folks also enjoy meeting other people. Some go to the same place each night for pre-dinner or post dinner drinks.

 

I don't go to bars here at home, unless it is in one of the restaurants I patronize and I have dinner there, at the bar.

 

Hope this helps a bit.🙂

 

I truly hope that one day, like you, I am giving a new solo cruiser the same encouragement!☺️  

You make excellent points and perhaps once onboard I will feel the friendliness of fellow cruisers and the staff and some of my "concerns" will  go away.    I feel like I am embarking on a new frontier and of course that gives me pause.   I have always been successful trying new things in the past,

so why not now too!

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to write!  I truly appreciate hearing from you!

 

😊  Julie

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20 hours ago, jimdee3636 said:

The key to dining alone is to go in with confidence and enthusiasm. Do NOT bring a book or kindle to read; it will make you look like you're hiding from the world and afraid of human interaction. The right attitude will impress people and maybe attract them to you. Be brave and have fun.

 

I agree with Jim. Walk into the room as if you own the joint!  It can seem awkward at first to sit at a bar or dining room alone, but you will soon get over that. (And you can always dine with other guests, as well.) After a day or two, others will be inviting you to join them or even asking if they can join you!

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57 minutes ago, njguy_south said:

 

I agree with Jim. Walk into the room as if you own the joint!  It can seem awkward at first to sit at a bar or dining room alone, but you will soon get over that. (And you can always dine with other guests, as well.) After a day or two, others will be inviting you to join them or even asking if they can join you!

👍   Ah ha!  Adopt the same comfort level I had when working flights to and from Europe!😊

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I disagree with Jim - take a book or a kindle if you want to.  This is your cruise, and if you feel better perusing a book or your day's photos on your phone, do it.  Or if you feel better taking it just in case you might want to, do it.  

 

I did it frequently, and I was not trying to hide from anyone - I was trying to enjoy myself.  If other people thought I was nervous or introverted, that's their problem, not mine.   I did not go to dinner with the plan of meeting people, and therefor wanted to make myself seem approachable (ick - sounds like a pickup bar), I went to dinner with the plan to enjoy some good food and something mentally interesting, which might be people watching or it might be reading a book or my phone.  When I cruise solo (whether I have friends onboard or not), I enjoy it most when I can do what I want to do, not when I feel I must do something to "fit in".  I do enough of that back home.

 

I also didn't want people dining nearby to think that I had nothing better to do than listen in on their conversations 😉

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3 hours ago, calliopecruiser said:

I disagree with Jim - take a book or a kindle if you want to.  This is your cruise, and if you feel better perusing a book or your day's photos on your phone, do it.  Or if you feel better taking it just in case you might want to, do it.  

 

I did it frequently, and I was not trying to hide from anyone - I was trying to enjoy myself.  If other people thought I was nervous or introverted, that's their problem, not mine.   I did not go to dinner with the plan of meeting people, and therefor wanted to make myself seem approachable (ick - sounds like a pickup bar), I went to dinner with the plan to enjoy some good food and something mentally interesting, which might be people watching or it might be reading a book or my phone.  When I cruise solo (whether I have friends onboard or not), I enjoy it most when I can do what I want to do, not when I feel I must do something to "fit in".  I do enough of that back home.

 

I also didn't want people dining nearby to think that I had nothing better to do than listen in on their conversations 😉

OMGoodness I didn't think of that! People just might think you are listening in!  Awful!  Hopefully the MaitreD will find a seat at a ladies table!  I am approachable, especially when I was a Flight Attendant.  Although I have been told people are intimidated.  ????  I am looking forward to  my " freedom of choice" trip!  

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Saw the topic but did not read the comments. I have been a solo cruiser a few times now. Twice I met a group thru the CC Roll Calls. Some were friends, some were couples and a few like me were solo.

We hit it off online and then at a sail off get together it was better and we then arranged to share a dinner table and shared tips about the ship and excursions. Some went together, some did their own thing but 1 day we met on the Playa in Cabo a day to remember for us all. The Cruise line also hosted a meet and mingle party for us onboard during a sea day.

I suggest for all solo cruisers to go to the Boards on this site and find the Roll Call for your Line-Ship-Date and meet some people. You will not regret it. Crusing Solo alone can be done, but Crusing Solo with new friends can be way more FUN!

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 1/31/2020 at 12:43 PM, neeuqdrazil said:

 

I've done two solo TAs on Cunard, and have some tips (especially when you're dealing with lots of sea days.) 

 

- Go to the talks/activities/classes that they're offering. Check your daily schedule to see what's on offer, and check some of them out. Even if it's something you wouldn't normally try, you're never going to see these people again (unless you meet someone you really click with), so put yourself out there. 

- Instead of reading in your cabin, try reading in one of the lounges or bars (or multiples, until you find the one that feels 'home' to you.) 

- When you arrive to dinner, ask the maitre'd if you can be seated at a table with others. 

- One of my favourite ways to pass the time is to knit, so if you're a crafter (of any portable sort) take your craft along. There have been afternoon crafting circles on both of my TAs, and they're not all knitters - I've seen a few cross-stitchers, a few needlepointers, and I've even been tempted to pull out my drop spindle at times. 

 

Enjoy your cruise! 14 days sounds like heaven. 

I'm a crafter as well and always take something to work on during my cruises.  One time it was cross stitch, and the young Russian lady who took care of our cabin told me it was the most beautiful stitching she'd ever seen.  At other times, I'd take my knitting and always have people stop to admire it.  The one instance that really surprised me was a comment by an 80 year old woman who was one of our tablemates (I was 60 at that time).  I knitted 3 pairs of socks during our 2 week Panama Canal Cruise, and she said, "Why bother making socks?  You can buy them cheap in the stores!"  My late husband spoke up and said, "I've never bought a pair of socks that felt so good on my feet as the ones she knits for me."  I've booked my first solo cruises for 2021, 2022, and 2023, and you can bet I'll be bringing my knitting, crochet, and/or stitching with me on every one.

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