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Solo Cruisers


KeriG
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Hello, I'll be taking my first solo cruise in March (K306 17th March- Barbados, Caribbean then transatlantic back to Southampton) I'm beyond excited. I was wondering if anyone has any help or advice for a solo cruiser? 

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I was a first-time solo cruiser, November 2022.  What added to my enjoyment is that I boarded without preconceived notions.  I read these forums and the RCL Blog (excellent advice there, too) and had some understanding what I might encounter.  I went with the "flow", didn't get stressed-out over anything ... and disembarked with the sense that I'll cruise again one day.  

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Yes, definitely head over to the solo cruisers section! I think my biggest tip is to go with an open mind and no expectations for some classic cookie cutter cruise experience. Solo cruising is awesome but it's definitely different if you have cruised in the past with friends or family. go on your cruise with an idea the things you definitely want to do on board, things you would like to do in port, and things you are looking forward to doing on your own, such as sleeping late or going to dinner when you feel like it or reading books or doing some of the ship activities your friends and family would normally not want to do. 
 

I would also advise joining your cruises Facebook group when the time gets closer, you'll get a head start on meeting people that way and seeing if there any other solo cruisers you might want to meet up for dinner, if that's  something you're interested in.

Edited by Cruise Kay
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On 1/24/2023 at 12:42 PM, KeriG said:

Hello, I'll be taking my first solo cruise in March (K306 17th March- Barbados, Caribbean then transatlantic back to Southampton) I'm beyond excited. I was wondering if anyone has any help or advice for a solo cruiser? 

Sign up for a large table, fixed dining.  Since those people who are unhappy (or unable) to dine with others will request anytime, you have a good chance of having a compatible group to meet with every evening - if you get a bunch of turkeys, you can request a change, but having a regular group every evening can make dinners enjoyable and give you people to hang with.

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2 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

Sign up for a large table, fixed dining.  Since those people who are unhappy (or unable) to dine with others will request anytime ...

Really?  What a sour attitude.

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8 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

Sign up for a large table, fixed dining.  Since those people who are unhappy (or unable) to dine with others will request anytime, you have a good chance of having a compatible group to meet with every evening - if you get a bunch of turkeys, you can request a change, but having a regular group every evening can make dinners enjoyable and give you people to hang with.

Interesting take. I guess I'm not expecting enough solo people on the cruise to fill a large table! I'll mull that one over. Thank you. 

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On 1/28/2023 at 2:22 AM, Longford said:

I was a first-time solo cruiser, November 2022.  What added to my enjoyment is that I boarded without preconceived notions.  I read these forums and the RCL Blog (excellent advice there, too) and had some understanding what I might encounter.  I went with the "flow", didn't get stressed-out over anything ... and disembarked with the sense that I'll cruise again one day.  

Yes, I will go with the flow, I've travelled quite a lot on my own, just not on a cruise and I've only ever been on one cruise previously, a long time ago with family. 

 

Thanks for the advice. 

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10 hours ago, Cruise Kay said:

Yes, definitely head over to the solo cruisers section! I think my biggest tip is to go with an open mind and no expectations for some classic cookie cutter cruise experience. Solo cruising is awesome but it's definitely different if you have cruised in the past with friends or family. go on your cruise with an idea the things you definitely want to do on board, things you would like to do in port, and things you are looking forward to doing on your own, such as sleeping late or going to dinner when you feel like it or reading books or doing some of the ship activities your friends and family would normally not want to do. 
 

I would also advise joining your cruises Facebook group when the time gets closer, you'll get a head start on meeting people that way and seeing if there any other solo cruisers you might want to meet up for dinner, if that's  something you're interested in.

Good advice. I really am looking forward to doing my own thing. 

 

I don't normally use Facebook, I don't even have an account (yes, I'm the one). I'm not a fan of social media but what you've suggested really makes sense, this may be the one reason I'd consider an account! Thank you. 

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40 minutes ago, KeriG said:

Interesting take. I guess I'm not expecting enough solo people on the cruise to fill a large table! I'll mull that one over. Thank you. 

 

 

Wrong, Keri, 🙂

 

The cruise number tells me this is P & O's Arvia. That's around 5000 passengers, 95% of them Brits.

 

So yes,  if on traditional fixed dining, which I advise for singletons - same table, same time, same tablemates, same serving staff every evening - ask for a large shared table & you'll be put on one of the solo-cruisers' tables. If that doesn't happen, ask the Maitre D' to move you to one from the next evening.

If on "freedom dining" or somesuch name you could try asking to switch to traditional, or ask at the dining room entrance to be on a shared table (tip - if you don't think the folk in front of you or behind you are your type, step out of the line to intensely study the menu board, then slot back in when you see folk  that you think you'll get on with).

 

On a fixed solo's table you'll build a rapport with some or all of your dining companions - I've seen solos go off mob-handed to a bar or show, and going ashore together.

 

On freedom dining it can be a chore remembering names, and the same-old same-old questions (where are you from, etc). Also less likely to be sharing with other solos.

But if you get on well at dinner, suggest going to dinner together next night. We've done that frequently, and  on one cruise by the fourth evening we were a table of eight.

 

there are other solos' get-togethers, like a solo's breakfast early in the cruise

 

JB 🙂

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3 hours ago, KeriG said:

Interesting take. I guess I'm not expecting enough solo people on the cruise to fill a large table! I'll mull that one over. Thank you. 

Even if there are not a lot of single people at your table, there will still be a number you will dine and converse with every night - so in stead of being on your own at meals you will be with people to share discussions of the days activities , etc.

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11 hours ago, John Bull said:

 

 

Wrong, Keri, 🙂

 

The cruise number tells me this is P & O's Arvia. That's around 5000 passengers, 95% of them Brits.

 

So yes,  if on traditional fixed dining, which I advise for singletons - same table, same time, same tablemates, same serving staff every evening - ask for a large shared table & you'll be put on one of the solo-cruisers' tables. If that doesn't happen, ask the Maitre D' to move you to one from the next evening.

If on "freedom dining" or somesuch name you could try asking to switch to traditional, or ask at the dining room entrance to be on a shared table (tip - if you don't think the folk in front of you or behind you are your type, step out of the line to intensely study the menu board, then slot back in when you see folk  that you think you'll get on with).

 

On a fixed solo's table you'll build a rapport with some or all of your dining companions - I've seen solos go off mob-handed to a bar or show, and going ashore together.

 

On freedom dining it can be a chore remembering names, and the same-old same-old questions (where are you from, etc). Also less likely to be sharing with other solos.

But if you get on well at dinner, suggest going to dinner together next night. We've done that frequently, and  on one cruise by the fourth evening we were a table of eight.

 

there are other solos' get-togethers, like a solo's breakfast early in the cruise

 

JB 🙂

Thank you John. The queue thing really made me laugh! I shall try not to study people in the queue too intensely, in case they think I'm a weirdo and won't want to sit with me anyway!

 

I'm beginning to wonder if I'm savvy enough for this cruising lark! 😉

 

All good advice, duly noted. 

🙂

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9 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

Even if there are not a lot of single people at your table, there will still be a number you will dine and converse with every night - so in stead of being on your own at meals you will be with people to share discussions of the days activities , etc.

Very true. 

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4 minutes ago, KeriG said:

Thank you John. The queue thing really made me laugh! I shall try not to study people in the queue too intensely, in case they think I'm a weirdo and won't want to sit with me anyway!

 

I'm beginning to wonder if I'm savvy enough for this cruising lark! 😉

 

All good advice, duly noted. 

🙂

 

 

BTW there are usually two queues at the dining room door

- one for those who want a table to themselves. They either have a long wait or are sent to a bar with a buzzer which sounds when a table is available.

- the other queue for those willing to share. It can be a long queue at popular times but it moves quickly.

 

We all start somewhere, and you'll find that plenty of your fellow-cruisers are very helpful.

And for a Brit., a Brit. ship is the most sensible because there's more to learn (and to trip over) on US or Italian ships.

Plus P&O's seamless fly-cruise arrangements - after you check in your luggage in the UK you won't see it again until it arrives at your cabin door.  Everyone on the aircraft is on your cruise, and no formalities at Grantley Adams airport - you don't even go thro the terminal, you step off the aircraft & straight onto a transfer bus to the ship.

 

The Caribbean is made for cruising - lots of islands well worth exploring, but few worth more than a day. And easy to join minibuses etc at each port instead of ship's unavoidably-regimented and poorer-value tours. Agree itinerary, timescale & price before you board, pay when you get back - its the norm. In some ports, at the end of your tour you can choose to be dropped in the town centre for shopping or at a beach (so take your beach gear). 

 

English spoken everywhere, and US dollars are all you need except perhaps for a few euros if your cruise includes Martinique or Guadeloupe.

 

Take a kindle or books or download games onto your phone or tablet - you've got a lot of sea-days at the end of your cruise, and ships' wifi is expensive, slow, and unreliable.

 

Bon Voyage

 

JB 🙂

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