For solo cruisers, the world's your very own oyster, writes Tiana Templeman
You may be cruising alone but there is no need to be lonely at sea. In fact, cruising is the perfect holiday for single travellers. There is plenty to do on and off the ship, it is easy to strike up a conversation with fellow passengers and you don't have to worry about getting from one destination to another on your own.
Here are 10 tips for cruising solo.
1. Please yourself
Revel in the freedom to do whatever you want to, whenever you feel like it. Other passengers are often forced to compromise based on the wishes of their travelling companions. As a solo traveller, you can please yourself.
2. Choose the right ship
Consider a smaller ship for your first solo cruise so it is easier to form connections with other travellers. Although larger ships offer plenty to keep solo cruisers entertained, if you strike up a conversation with someone on a mega-ship, it is likely you will never see them again.
3. Consider a theme cruise
When everyone on board shares a common interest, it's easy to makes friends. Whether you are into tennis, dancing, gardening or food and wine, there is sure to be a cruise to suit.
4. Look for solo savings
Look for cruise lines that offer dedicated single cabins or "no single supplement" deals and save. It is best to book your solo cruise in advance as single cabins often sell out early.
5. Join Cruise Critic
Sign up to Cruise Critic (cruisecritic.com.au) and join the Roll Call for your cruise. You can chat online with other travellers on your sailing and get to know people before you board. Cruise Critic also hosts free Meet & Mingle parties on board where you can meet your Roll Call friends in person.
6. Book a shore tour
Connect with others by joining a cruise ship tour or arrange an independent shore tour on your Cruise Critic Roll Call. Tours are a great way to meet like-minded travellers and make friends.
7. Dine with others
Dining at the same time each night on an assigned table is the cruising equivalent of Russian Roulette. It can be better to opt for flexible dining so you can eat when you choose and ask to share a table (or not) when you arrive at the dining room.
8. Join an on-board class
Some on-board classes are free whereas others attract a small charge. All offer a chance to learn new skills, such as cocktail making or glass blowing, and to meet new people and have fun.
9. Plenty of port days
Choose an itinerary with plenty of ports and fill your days with interesting activities, either by exploring on your own or joining an organised tour.
10. Try everything
The daily programme is filled with complimentary activities such as trivia games, mini-golf challenges, and aqua aerobics classes. Even if you wouldn't normally do these things on land, go along and give it a try. Not only is this a great way to meet people, you could be surprised how much fun you have.
TRIP NOTES CRUISE SPECIAL
In the latest episode of Travel podcast Trip Notes, we're celebrating all things cruising. October is Cruise Month, the beginning of the busy summer season when ships of all shapes and sizes make their way to ports around New Zealand.
And our latest guest, Judith Tabron, is the perfect person to talk cruising with . . . she's been on eight cruise holidays and absolutely loves travelling at sea.
"My husband and I, if we are going to Europe, we'll usually break up the holiday into some city breaks, because I like to do some shopping and - my favourite - some restaurant research, and then we would normally go hiking . . . and then, before we go home, we do a cruise to relax," she says.
"We like a smaller boat, because it gets you closer to the ports, and you can get into ports you won't get into in some of those massive cruise ships."
Tabron, who is an Auckland hospitality legend after 20 years at the helm of Viaduct restaurant Soul, tells us about her favourite ports of call, her favourite luxury ships, and what she really thinks of the food on cruises.
Her episode of Trip Notes will be available free on Tuesday, October 1, at iHeart Radio, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Subscribe, and each new episode will automatically download every fortnight. You can also go to nzherald.co.nz/tripnotes to watch video from the podcast, and catch up on any episodes you may have missed
For more travel inspiration, go to houseoftravel.co.nz.
Judith Tabron hosts My Restaurant Rules, premiering Monday, September 30 on TVNZ 2