the best cruise experiences for solo travelers

This post is contributed by

The Best Cruise Experiences for Solo Travelers:

the best cruise experiences for solo travelers

Cruise holidays have come a long way since their heyday in the 1970’s. They’re now a far cry from ‘Love Boat’ style discos and corny cabaret. Some solo backpackers consider cruises the perfect complement to their journey, or the chance to take a break from the hassle of coordinating on-land travels, while still getting a decent glimpse of the world.

Fortunately, cruise lines have caught up with this trend and many now offer cruise packages designed to benefit single cruisers. The new cruise holidays combine the intrepid spirit of independent travel with a friendly and social aspects of traditional cruising. Here’s a quick look at some of the best options if you’re thinking about a solo voyage on the seas…

Norwegian Cruise Lines
This Norwegian company targets the young solo-traveller market with their ‘Freestyle Cruising’ option. Their ship Norwegian Epic roves everywhere from the Western Mediterranean to Mexico and the Caribbean Isles and the suite of studio rooms are specifically designed for single occupancy. There’s also a two-storey social hub and an adults-only relaxation area. They have a modern and trendy take on entertainment with the Blue Man Group, and edgy comedy improv by Second City for after-hours.

Holland America
Although marketed to the Baby Boomer crowd, there is a cosmopolitan mix of people on board this American cruise liner. For added money-saving incentive, they offer the Single Partner Programme. This means solo travellers of the same sex can buddy-up with someone else travelling alone and share the costs of a cabin, while perhaps also making a new friend. It’s reminiscent of a hostel in terms of sociability. There are welcome parties, cocktail meet-and-greets, wine tastings and cooking demonstrations. Plus you can see the best of America’s coastline, without having to haul your luggage around the place.

ha long bay backpacker cruise

Ha Long Bay Backpacker Cruise
Isolated, beautiful and left largely untouched by development, Halong Bay in Vietnam is a postcard-perfect rendering of South East Asia. Local companies in Hanoi offer budget-friendly and fuss-free tours of Ha Long Bay and the surrounding coastline, with tours from overnight to three nights in length. This is the quintessential backpackers cruise, as it involves adventure tourism and plenty of serendipitous discoveries. The three day and two night cruise will mosey through some of most spectacular scenery in Vietnam including the Amazing Cave, Cat Ba Island, Titov island, the floating villages and Luon Cave.

The main thing to watch out for is the single supplement imposed on some rooms if you’re not traveling with a partner. Many cruise lines have reduced or waived this completely in recent years so a quick search can find you a more reasonably-priced trip. But whether you want to see some uniquely coastal sights, fancy meeting people along the way or just want to escape for a bit of ‘me-time’, cruising solo can be exactly what you want it to be.

Denise Menker is a freelance journalist who has spent the last two years on the road in South America and parts of Oceania. She writes travel tips and lifestyle articles to fund her continuing journey.

Images by Jeff Weese and Michael Voelker, used under Creative Comms license


Filed Under: Travel9 Comments
  • Stephanie

    Oooo thanks for sharing! I will have to keep these in mind. :)

  • Dannielle @ Chic-a-DeeDee

    single supplement!? That’s a bit harsh for people wanting to go it alone, good on the cruise lines that have done away with it.

  • Amy Lynne Hayes

    I’ve been on a Holland America cruise to Alaska when I was young, with my family. It was a really great time! Of course I mostly remember all the food, and the swimming pool… but great options for solo travelers here! :)

  • Ashley Angle

    FYI – giveaway at my blog
    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle

  • Molly @ The Move to America

    I went on a very small (and not so luxurious) cruise on the Nile. Even though there were the bigger more flashy boats going by, I was the happiest I have ever been whilst travelling. I love cruises!

  • Kayli Schattner

    I think the idea of waking up in a new area everyday sounds quite exciting!

  • HayUp

    Love this post! Hoping to work in the cruise industry one day!! They are a great way to travel!

  • BlushandBarbells

    I went on a Ha Long backpackers cruise as a solo traveller. It was a little awkward to share a cabin with another solo traveller, a young Australian man, but it was still a great experience.

  • Dee

    Great list, Rachel! Pinning this for future reference. :)