I retired relatively young so when I travel I often do so as a solo. I began solo cruising in 2014 and have taken three cruises by myself since then. Over the course of my solo travels, I have met many people that have expressed a fear of traveling by themselves, whether from a safety perspective or boredom. Neither have ever been an issue for me! When you travel with a group, large or small, human nature normally dictates that you stay in the bubble of comfort by interactjng mostly with those you are with. Solo travel forces you out of your comfort zone and allows for new experiences and relationships.
My first solo cruise was on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas in 2014. At the time of debarkation, I declared to myself that it was the best cruise I had ever been on. Why? Simply put, I made all of the decisions for activities and planning my day by myself – no compromises! As a solo traveler you can decide when and where you want to interact with others. Feel like making new friends? Talk to the folks on either side of you at the lifeboat drill. Go to the main dining for dinner and request that you sit with other people. Go to the pool deck and start a conversation with the person in the chair next to you. Have a drink at he bar and talk to the bartender or other passengers. Play triva and join a team. If you smoke, go to one of the smoking areas. The same usual suspects are usually hanging out in these areas all week. What I don’t do is go the the singles meetings that cruises sometimes offer. I’ve found that there is an air of desperation in these meetings as often times it consists of passengers looking for love-or at least love for the duration of the cruise.
Since the cruise on the Freedom of the Seas, I’ve sailed on two transatlantic cruises and have made lifelong friends. Transatlantic sailings provide the opportunity and time to get to know people much better, to plan and execute activities (dinner, drink, shows, trivia and more) and to actually find out if these are merely cruise acquaintances or friends you will maintain a relationship long after the cruise is over. I recently traveled to Europe and stayed with some Norwegian cruise friends for three nights and then with another cruise friend in Amsterdam. Both opportunities I might not have had if I had not been traveling solo.
In addition to cruising solo, I have taken many other land-based vacations by myself to a variety of destinations such as: Las Vegas, Washington D.C., Miami, California and throughout Europe and they have been equally rewarding.
So, if you find yourself a party of one, take the plunge and book a cruise. You might enjoy the freedom to choose your options; however, you will have the comfort and security of the ship, and you just might meet some wonderful traveling companions that turn out to be life-long friends.
Contributor Robert Z Atlanta