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More and more of us are choosing to travel independently, and a cruise is the perfect way to do it – even for first-time voyagers. Now there are more reasons than ever to go it alone.

Written by

Emma Love

Emma Love

Published on Invalid Date

Solo Cruise travel with Crystal

Solo travel is on the up and up. Suddenly the independent traveller is spoilt for choice, with more and more tour operators creating trips designed for those travelling alone, as well as small group adventures aimed at uniting like-minded people through a shared passion.

In the past three years, more and more of us are holidaying on our own. And it’s not just single people – many solo travellers have partners, families, and friends they could travel with, but choose to go it alone, whether that’s so they can do exactly what they want, when they want, without compromising, or in pursuit of a personal interest or a long-held bucket-list adventure.

And one of the most popular ways to travel solo, it turns out, is on a cruise. The appeal lies in its winning format: the chance to explore far-flung, hard-to-reach destinations all around the world with the comfort of returning “home” to the same familial suite every evening, surrounded by caring crew and new friends.

For Alexandra Falenski, a Crystal regular from Ohio who has sailed on more than 100 voyages, it’s the family-like crew that makes all the difference and keeps her returning.

“Talk to anyone onboard, and you’ll hear the same thing again and again. It’s the staff – they are fabulous,” she enthuses.

Her introduction to Crystal was during a time of deep sadness. She and her husband had booked their first sailing in 2005 when he died suddenly a few days before they were due to embark.

“We didn’t have insurance for the cruise, and it was the last thing on my mind. My daughter called Crystal, and not only did they send back my husband’s share, they gave me a ticket to use within 12 months,” she recalls. “In the beginning, I didn’t care. I just put it away in my desk. When the year was almost up, I went on Symphony on my own. I couldn’t believe how well the crew treated me; they really took care of me. Afterward, I immediately signed up for the World Cruise –and 15 years later, I am still cruising.”

Of course, some travelers choose to holiday solo simply because of a desire to visit different countries with their partner or separate interests – many of which can be dipped into as part of the action-packed program of onboard activities. Golf lessons from a PGA pro, padel tennis, and pickleball matches, hosted bridge sessions for beginners, and art classes in everything from watercolor painting to pottery are all regular fixtures on the itinerary. As well as being a great way to try new hobbies or improve a favorite pastime, these sessions are a relaxed setting for meeting people. There are also sign-up sheets for playing games such as canasta and mahjong in the library, and enriching daytime lectures and afternoon movies.

And there’s no need to worry about having no one to talk to during pre-dinner drinks, either. Ambassador dance hosts offer excellent company and conversation (as well as a whirl around the dance floor to Sinatra classics) in the Palm Court and the other live music bars dotted around the ship. For supper, perhaps invite new companions or crew to dine in the Waterside restaurant.

“I couldn’t believe how well the crew treated me – they really took care of me. Afterwards I immediately signed up for the World Cruise, and 15 years later, I am still cruising.”

“One night, I might have dinner with the shore excursion team, and another, I’ll eat with the doctor,” continues Alexandra. They’re like old friends—I’ve known them all for years.”

There’s also counter seating in Umi Uma, ideal for solo diners wanting to watch the sushi chefs at work, and tucked-away window tables at Osteria d’Ovidio, brilliant for people-watching or reading a book between courses.

For those traveling alone, a cruise has it all: social spaces to be in good company when you want to, but time to yourself when you don’t; the camaraderie of fellow passengers; a reassuring crew – and, crucially, the freedom to explore the world independently.

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