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Solo cruising - new expectations


DSJ28
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I've watched a few reviews (one linked below) about changes we can expect as cruising resumes; and, it seems to me I'll need to change my expectations a bit as things will be vastly different for a while.    

 

I'm expecting much less interaction with other passengers now.  Rather than someone sitting down at coffee and striking up a discussion - we'll all  be masked and distanced -  much less likely to engage with strangers I think.  I also understand passengers may not be seated with people outside of their party in dining venues and theaters - which means, there's a pretty good chance I'll be seated alone for all meals aboard the ship.  

 

These changes are likely temporary and in the interest of getting back to cruising safely, I support the extra steps to keep passengers, crew members, and local host communities healthy.  I'm really happy to be able to reset my expectations ahead of time - because I'm thinking a solo trip in 2021 (if cruises return at all this year) will be very different than the solo experiences I've read about so far. 

 

I'll enjoy the solitude and relaxation, but I wonder if other solo travelers will appreciate the changes.  If not, it might be better to book solo cruises further into the future when many restrictions may be lifted.  

 

Thoughts?

 

 

 

 

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After 5 cancelled cruises I have decided to not book any more until cruising actually starts and we see how it goes.  Although I have been always wearing a mask when out in public and with others, I really don't feel like wearing one on a cruise. It would not be my idea of a good time that I want to pay good money for!  Until cruising gets back to "normal" I will find other ways of entertaining myself.  I keep looking at Cruise Critic and ship videos every day though, and it's so hard to resist booking something!

 

~Nancy

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3 hours ago, DSJ28 said:

I've watched a few reviews (one linked below) about changes we can expect as cruising resumes; and, it seems to me I'll need to change my expectations a bit as things will be vastly different for a while.    

 

I'm expecting much less interaction with other passengers now.  Rather than someone sitting down at coffee and striking up a discussion - we'll all  be masked and distanced -  much less likely to engage with strangers I think.  I also understand passengers may not be seated with people outside of their party in dining venues and theaters - which means, there's a pretty good chance I'll be seated alone for all meals aboard the ship.  

 

These changes are likely temporary and in the interest of getting back to cruising safely, I support the extra steps to keep passengers, crew members, and local host communities healthy.  I'm really happy to be able to reset my expectations ahead of time - because I'm thinking a solo trip in 2021 (if cruises return at all this year) will be very different than the solo experiences I've read about so far. 

 

I'll enjoy the solitude and relaxation, but I wonder if other solo travelers will appreciate the changes.  If not, it might be better to book solo cruises further into the future when many restrictions may be lifted.  

 

Thoughts?

 

 

 

It depends on your inclinations and expectations, I guess. I travel solo and do not seek out conversations. I don't reject them, but don't initiate them either. TBH, the new restrictions will barely have any impact on my cruising style! 

 

I'll let you know how it goes in 111 days when I board NCL Joy. 

 

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3 hours ago, oakridger said:

After 5 cancelled cruises I have decided to not book any more until cruising actually starts and we see how it goes.  Although I have been always wearing a mask when out in public and with others, I really don't feel like wearing one on a cruise. It would not be my idea of a good time that I want to pay good money for!  Until cruising gets back to "normal" I will find other ways of entertaining myself.  I keep looking at Cruise Critic and ship videos every day though, and it's so hard to resist booking something!

 

~Nancy

I can understand this approach.  Masking doesn't both me in general, but I've seen images of people masking in hot tubs and sunbathing - that doesn't sound good to me. 

That said - I'm happy to comply with whatever is necessary to get cruising going again - it's important to me that the industry rebound. I'm guessing we won't get close to normal before summer 2022.
 

47 minutes ago, coastcat said:

It depends on your inclinations and expectations, I guess. I travel solo and do not seek out conversations. I don't reject them, but don't initiate them either. TBH, the new restrictions will barely have any impact on my cruising style! 

 

I'll let you know how it goes in 111 days when I board NCL Joy. 

 

Sept 2021 will be my first solo cruise ever.  Most of the expectations I have come from this CC forum and several youtube videos about solo cruising.  All the norms are out the window now - and I think a solo traveler had better be comfortable with a fair amount of alone time.  Like you, I welcome it.  This just means I need to double the number of books I download for the trip, including a few audio books to enjoy at dinner.

 

I saw a tour of the NCL Joy recently - she's a beauty, and looks like loads of fun.  I hope your trip happens, because that will mean my Sept trip will happen, too.  

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1 hour ago, DSJ28 said:

I can understand this approach.  Masking doesn't both me in general, but I've seen images of people masking in hot tubs and sunbathing - that doesn't sound good to me. 

That said - I'm happy to comply with whatever is necessary to get cruising going again - it's important to me that the industry rebound. I'm guessing we won't get close to normal before summer 2022.
 

Sept 2021 will be my first solo cruise ever.  Most of the expectations I have come from this CC forum and several youtube videos about solo cruising.  All the norms are out the window now - and I think a solo traveler had better be comfortable with a fair amount of alone time.  Like you, I welcome it.  This just means I need to double the number of books I download for the trip, including a few audio books to enjoy at dinner.

 

I saw a tour of the NCL Joy recently - she's a beauty, and looks like loads of fun.  I hope your trip happens, because that will mean my Sept trip will happen, too.  

My Joy trip is one of the newly announced NCL cruises leaving from non-U.S. ports, and is not subject to CDC's conditional sail order. I also have a solo cruise booked for mid-October on MSC Divina which departs from Port Canaveral and thus is still a big question mark. I hadn't intended to book any of these new summer cruises but changed my mind after (1) I received my first Pfizer dose and (2) NCL announced that Joy would cruise out of Jamaica. Such a beautiful ship and I am so thrilled to be returning to her.

 

 

The iPad Mini is already loaded up with Kindle books, crossword puzzles from the NY Times archive, and other digital goodies. However, I'll probably be too giddy with excitement to actually read anything for the first few days!

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9 hours ago, coastcat said:

My Joy trip is one of the newly announced NCL cruises leaving from non-U.S. ports, and is not subject to CDC's conditional sail order. I also have a solo cruise booked for mid-October on MSC Divina which departs from Port Canaveral and thus is still a big question mark. I hadn't intended to book any of these new summer cruises but changed my mind after (1) I received my first Pfizer dose and (2) NCL announced that Joy would cruise out of Jamaica. Such a beautiful ship and I am so thrilled to be returning to her.

 

Way to go @coastcat! I'm booked on one of NCL's other cruises departing from a non-U.S. port; the Norwegian Gem out of La Romana, Dom Rep. Cruise is Sept 12-19th. To top that off, I just got finished booking the Adventure of the Seas out of Nassau, Bahamas. This cruise is sooner, July 17-24th.

 

I'm fully vaccinated (2 shots of Moderna). If I am still required to wear a face diaper in public spaces onboard the ship (& take only NCL shore excursions), so be it. As was previously posted, it's temporary.

 

We've got a group (CC Rat Pack) forming for the Adventure of the Seas cruise, so I'm not too worried about being lonely (even as a solo).

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18 hours ago, coastcat said:

 I travel solo and do not seek out conversations.

 

I enjoy impromptu conversations with fellow guests.  I particularly enjoy HH at the ship's bar where a group of "regulars" convene and we have occasional additions to our group.  (On some cruises, I have learned I need to arrive on time--if not a bit early--in order to get a seat!)

 

21 hours ago, oakridger said:

 I really don't feel like wearing one on a cruise. It would not be my idea of a good time that I want to pay good money for!

 

My thinking as well; I don't expect to be cruising in the near future because of the probability of a mask mandate.  

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I have a cruise booked for July out of Greece and am very, very much looking forward to it.🙂 As for expectations and how things will go.......protocols, etc. The ship I am sailing holds 600 guests so much smaller than the mega ships/floating cities. I still think I will be able to interact with other passengers. This is my 1st of 4 cruises I have booked.......July, Oct, Dec and next March.  Will just see how things go!  It will definitely be a new experience (for everyone).  I am going with an open mind and plan on enjoying myself😃

 

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I would love to go on a cruise, having had to cancel the one I had scheduled, literally days before my departure back in February 2020.    However, as a solo traveler, one of the things I enjoy most about cruising is the opportunity to meet, mix and mingle with other passengers.   Whether at a bar, sharing a Hosted Table at dinner, lounging around the pool, on an excursion, or whatever.   If I were required to keep only to myself, i.e. social distanced from everyone else on board, that would make the cruise a real downer for me.   I can keep myself to myself at home for free.   I won't spend a lot of money on a cruise to do what I have been doing at home for a year for nothing.

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4 hours ago, MaggyCan1 said:

I would love to go on a cruise, having had to cancel the one I had scheduled, literally days before my departure back in February 2020.    However, as a solo traveler, one of the things I enjoy most about cruising is the opportunity to meet, mix and mingle with other passengers.   Whether at a bar, sharing a Hosted Table at dinner, lounging around the pool, on an excursion, or whatever.   If I were required to keep only to myself, i.e. social distanced from everyone else on board, that would make the cruise a real downer for me.   I can keep myself to myself at home for free.   I won't spend a lot of money on a cruise to do what I have been doing at home for a year for nothing.

The problem is that we really don't know what the onboard experience will be. The cruise lines have all said they would adjust protocols as needed; if there's enough evidence that vaccines allow mingling, we'll get to mingle. The lines allowing only vaccinated people might offer more free-range socializing than those which allow unvaccinated children, which in turn could offer lighter restrictions than one which requires only testing to board.

 

But we just don't know!

 

If I were a social creature, I'd hold off cruising for a while because of the potential restrictions.

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On 4/21/2021 at 6:55 PM, MaggyCan1 said:

I would love to go on a cruise, having had to cancel the one I had scheduled, literally days before my departure back in February 2020.    However, as a solo traveler, one of the things I enjoy most about cruising is the opportunity to meet, mix and mingle with other passengers.   Whether at a bar, sharing a Hosted Table at dinner, lounging around the pool, on an excursion, or whatever.   If I were required to keep only to myself, i.e. social distanced from everyone else on board, that would make the cruise a real downer for me.   I can keep myself to myself at home for free.   I won't spend a lot of money on a cruise to do what I have been doing at home for a year for nothing.

Totally with you on this. I've sailed solo on a number of times since my partner died back in 2012. Sailing largely ex-UK, there are fortunately still a number of small ships in the mid-price range, which is my preference. One of the main reasons for me to cruise is the friendly, sociable atmosphere on board. I always book fixed dining times and enjoy getting to know my table mates over the course of the cruise. I realise however that for other people, that might be their nightmare cruise 😄.

My next solo cruise is not until Summer next year and I doubt I will book any more whilst mask-wearing and social distancing are required.

We all enjoy our cruises in different ways...

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I just got back from a trip to an All-Inclusive in Cancun where we wore masks and dinned with our groups.  I was solo but I ended up having dinner with my new group.  We were social distance but you end up talking in the pool,  at the bar and at activities.  You only had meals with your group but who is in your group.  For me I found groups for dinner.  The one dinner it was 5 of us that were cruisers that were there from different parts of the US waiting for cruising to start.

 

If the cruise ships do not allow as easy communication and making of new groups I am not afraid of having a good book and enjoying my peace and quiet.

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If you’re cruising with NCL they’ll probably still do the solos meet-ups as everyone is supposed to be vaccinated. The Joy isn’t ideal as there isn’t the studio lounge as a spot for solos to meet each other but normally one of the cruise director’s staff is designated the solos host.  Check the newsletter/app as soon as you board to see when/where the first meet up will be, it should also be listed in each day’s schedule throughout the cruise. Normally the host will have a table booked for dinner every night except the first and there’ll be a regular group for that dinner most nights. 
On the 3 cruises I did pre-covid there was at least one other solo I’d already me on all the ncl excursions I did, a couple of them booked onto excursions I had already picked as they hadn’t been quite brave enough to book them alone pre-cruise. The other non-ncl excursions I did were a bit of a mix, I know a bunch of the solos arrange to do one excursion together when I was going off with a tour group made up of cruisers from a few ships. 
 

just one caveat, it’s hard to know how many solos are likely to be on the Joy as it doesn’t have the studio cabins. The 3 ships I was on all had studio complexes so there was about a dozen or so solos in that complex who weren’t connected to family or friends in other parts of the ship and always met up for dinner/drinks. 

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31 minutes ago, eileeshb said:

If you’re cruising with NCL they’ll probably still do the solos meet-ups as everyone is supposed to be vaccinated. The Joy isn’t ideal as there isn’t the studio lounge as a spot for solos to meet each other but normally one of the cruise director’s staff is designated the solos host.  Check the newsletter/app as soon as you board to see when/where the first meet up will be, it should also be listed in each day’s schedule throughout the cruise. Normally the host will have a table booked for dinner every night except the first and there’ll be a regular group for that dinner most nights. 
On the 3 cruises I did pre-covid there was at least one other solo I’d already me on all the ncl excursions I did, a couple of them booked onto excursions I had already picked as they hadn’t been quite brave enough to book them alone pre-cruise. The other non-ncl excursions I did were a bit of a mix, I know a bunch of the solos arrange to do one excursion together when I was going off with a tour group made up of cruisers from a few ships. 
 

just one caveat, it’s hard to know how many solos are likely to be on the Joy as it doesn’t have the studio cabins. The 3 ships I was on all had studio complexes so there was about a dozen or so solos in that complex who weren’t connected to family or friends in other parts of the ship and always met up for dinner/drinks. 

My last cruise was on Joy. The solo host was outgoing and perky and enthusiastic and I might have been seeing running full speed away from the first evening meeting, never to return…. 😁 

 

 

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My next solo cruise is scheduled for May 2022, a TA from FL to UK -- lots of lovely sea days!

 

I plan to spend most of my days on my balcony w/my Kindle &  pot of coffee, enjoying the feel & smell of the ocean.  (This was my plan pre-covid & now.)

 

I enjoy the occasional on-deck conversation, but do not seek them.  However, I do seek to share a table at dinner.  I prefer traditional seating at a table for 6-8.  that's my "social" time.

 

We'll see what's necessary next year.

 

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I haven't experienced an less lively interaction with people I've been around socially distancing and wearing a mask.  You just don't know what the bottom of their face looks like!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Returning to this thread due to recent changes…. How are we solos impacted by the changing requirements regarding the cruise experience?

 

Fully vaccinated solos will, presumably, benefit greatly from the updated CDC guidance. I was concerned about the original ShoreEx limitations because if every travel party required its own 6ft bubble, solos might be barred or limited on excursions because we’d take up an entire bubble space on our own. We wouldn’t be profitable! But now I can roam freely. Or can I?
 

Now I’m wondering how cruise lines will distinguish between vax and non-vax populations. I’m booked on an MSC cruise in October. I’m guessing they’ll do test cruises and won’t require vaccinations since they’ve got plenty of experience & success with following protocols. If they go with the lowest common denominator by applying the same non-vax restrictions to all passengers,  I’d have to mask up and stay in a private bubble despite being fully Pfizered. 

 

My August cruise is easy - it’s NCL, everyone must be fully vaccinated, and I’m sure they’ll minimize mask requirements based on the latest guidance. By December, I’m sure we’ll all be more or less free to mingle. It’s the time in between that gets tricky. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I wondered a lot about this as well.  I'm not a social butterfly by any stretch of the imagination, but I do like being able to share a table in the dining room as well as finding others to team up with for trivia, name-that-tune, etc.  As much as I'd like to return to cruising, I might hold off for awhile until reports start coming in from other solos on various lines.  I'd rather not have forced solitude. 

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Many things have changed since this thread first started.......looks like the majority of people will be vaccinated and the masking will be able to be reduced. I am sailing on a ship that holds 600 but I don't think she is sailing at full capacity so it will make it even better for everyone😃

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13 hours ago, Lois R said:

Many things have changed since this thread first started.......looks like the majority of people will be vaccinated and the masking will be able to be reduced. I am sailing on a ship that holds 600 but I don't think she is sailing at full capacity so it will make it even better for everyone😃

We shall see! I think a fully vaccinated cruise will be more like “normal” in terms of social interaction. Vaccine-optional ones are going to be… interesting. 
 

After over a year of minimal human interaction, even I might be bouncy & social on that first cruise back. Maybe. 

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4 hours ago, Lois R said:

I am sailing on the 3rd cruise back on a brand new ship🙂should be fabulous!

Just curious -- Have you ever gone back to the mainstream lines, or have you permanently "moved on up"?  I know you used to sail Celebrity quite a bit.

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8 minutes ago, elycelynne said:

Just curious -- Have you ever gone back to the mainstream lines, or have you permanently "moved on up"?  I know you used to sail Celebrity quite a bit.

Hi, the last time I sailed with Celebrity was 2017. I tried Azamara once since that cruise and 2 river cruises......all my other sailings since that time have been on Silversea.  So, yes I moved up. I realized after a couple of cruises I LOVE the small ships and all they have to offer me.  So, no I have not gone back to mainstream. 

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5 hours ago, coastcat said:

After over a year of minimal human interaction, even I might be bouncy & social on that first cruise back

 

Having last dined in a restaurant in March, 2020, I wonder if I will remember how to "behave" when I go out for my first restaurant dinner?  😄

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3 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

Having last dined in a restaurant in March, 2020, I wonder if I will remember how to "behave" when I go out for my first restaurant dinner?  😄

Restaurants in Ohio stayed fully closed for the entire time? 

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