River Cruises for Singles and Solo Travellers

It’s not that common to hear about someone planning to go on a solo cruise, and this is why many wouldn’t be able to understand this simple urge of exploring the world by travelling alone.

Why not share this experience with someone, rather than keeping it all to yourself? Why not make things easier and have a partner to depend on, should the unexpected take place? Most of all, why not avoid the additional expenses of a solo travel, along with the potential awkwardness caused by the inability to take part in certain group activities?

Enjoying a great read on the deck. / Photo by Traveloscopy

It may come as a surprise, but all these questions have wandered through the minds of even the most experienced solo travellers at one point or another. Regardless of all these worrying thoughts, taking a riverboat cruise is not that frightening at all. You can rest assured that a solo cruise will most definitely turn out to be  an unforgettable experience, if you have the know-how essentials on hand.

"To me solo travel is the most empowering way to experience new places, different cultures and learn about myself. It’s my preferred therapy. "

- Michela, Rocky Travel

Singles Cruise vs. Solo Cruise

Many make the mistake of confusing  solo river cruises with  singles’ cruise. Although at  first glance they seem to be quite similar, these two couldn’t be more different. While singles’ cruises are designed for single travellers looking for love, taking a solo cruise celebrates participants who embrace the coveted “alone time” and who know how to have a blast on their own.

How to Choose the Cruise Line That is Right For You

A perfect solo travel experience on a boat cruise begins by deciding which company best fits your needs. As a general rule, you want to opt for those which are known for going out of their way to please their passengers, cruise lines offering flawless services and top-notch crew members are a must in order to enhance your solo travel experience. Run a quick internet search and you will find a wide array of river cruises throughout Europe, provided by world class cruise companies.

How to Choose a Ship That Suits Your Needs

Finding a sailing vessel that matches their requirements, is the one thing solo travellers  tend to miss out on. This is the moment when you have to decide what it is that you are going for: are you looking to enjoy this river cruise all by yourself, or are you hoping to make new acquaintances?

If travelling alone from start to finish is your main focus, then a bigger ship might be your best option; you can easily stay under the radar and enjoy anonymity. However, if you are looking to make some new friends along the way, you might consider going for a smaller boat, one that is going to allow you run into familiar faces every day of your cruise.

Sunset on the Mekong River / Photo by effektvoll.photography

How Much Does a River Cruise Cost?

One of the main drawbacks of travelling alone on a cruise are the heightened costs. Passengers who decide to embark on such a trip on their own are the ones who usually have to take more money out of their pocket if they aren’t careful.

What is the one thing you want to avoid? The single supplement. Sometimes, this is the only type of accommodation cruise companies offer solo travellers, to get back the revenue they don’t receive from the other person you would otherwise be sharing your room with. Translating this whole concept into numbers, the cost of a single supplement can vary from 50% up to 100% of the overall accommodation price.

"Give a copy of your itinerary to a family member or friend and check in, especially if your plans change. If you’re venturing far, download the Find Friend app and connect with someone who will check periodically to be sure you are where you said you would be. "

- Cruise Maven Travels

Cruise lines such as Avalon and Uniworld will provide their solo travelers with occasional promotions like the Single Supplement Waived program. The main goal of programs like these is to enhance solo travellers’ cruising experience by providing them with exquisite services while helping also them save. The program is available on only a few selected itineraries and departure dates with a maximum of 5 staterooms available  per voyage, which means that every solo traveler looking to enjoy its benefits should book early.

"Have backups of backups - essential advice for solo travelers. For instance, carry two debit cards for your bank, each with a different number. Carry one with you and store the second in a safe place. That way, if for any reason you lose the first, you can still access your funds. "

- Barbara Weibel, Hole In The Donut Cultural Travel

Sharing thoughts at sunset. / Photo by Manoj Kengudelu

Interacting with Others

Whether you are travelling on the Mekong river in Asia, or taking in France’s mesmerizing river banks, you should be expecting certain pre-established settlements imposed by the cruise companies – having fixed seats while dining could be one of them. This way you will serve your meals in the company of the same people, thus increasing your chances of socialising. While this could be a perfect opportunity to meet new people, you shouldn’t rely on it entirely. Sometimes this seating trick might not work, so it’s better to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. Go on the shore excursions and always try to have a candid, warm and friendly appearance. Looking approachable and open to new experiences will only draw people closer to you!

"Essential for every solo traveler: be open to life. Solo travel doesn't come without hiccups. Be open to them, embrace them and keep a smile on your face. Remember, everything happens for a reason ... and it all unfolds exactly as it should!"

- d travels 'round

Solo travelling offers plenty of freedom to any river cruiser. You may choose to meet new people, just as you may choose to enjoy some alone time. You can read a book while sipping on your favourite cocktail or mingle and take part in different activities with other passengers. Ultimately the river cruise experience serves as an ideal trip style for any solo traveller who is looking for a new way to discover the freedom of independent travel.

"It can be intimidating to embark on your first solo trip, but don't let that stop you! Take a brave step, go to all the places you've dreamed about visiting, be open to meeting new people and having next experiences, and let the world touch your heart."

- Something In Her Ramblings

Antonia is a passionate writer and an avid reader. Eat well, travel often - are some of the words she lives by. When she's not writing or reading, she loves getting out in nature, hiking or losing herself in unknown cities.

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