I disembarked from the Allure of the Seas just about a month ago after a week’s holiday with my son, daughter-in-law and three grandsons. It was great fun and, oh, so different from the many cruises I’ve sailed on all by my lonesome.
Because I have written about the cruise industry for 30+ years, I have often traveled alone. My husband passed away 3-1/2 years ago and I have covered countless nautical miles since then – alone.
Funny thing is, I never felt lonesome on those cruises. I speak to people – when the feeling moves me – read my Kindle when I don’t. I am conversational with my tablemates but it seems I always find someone who wants to talk.
A friend is leaving soon on his first cruise alone. He selected a five-day itinerary and thinks that will do the trick. It will, pardon the expression, get his feet wet for traveling alone. His wife passed away a few years ago and he has been avoiding this kind of decision, but decided to try going to sea alone. I know he’ll do well and probably book a longer sailing while he’s on board. It will not only get his feet wet, but whet his appetite for additional travel.
DEAR ABBY GOES TO SEA
Be friendly, but not overly so. On the other hand, don’t close yourself off. Be sure to book a group shore excursion on the first day (if not before.) You will meet fellow travelers on that tour bus, ooh and aah at the sights and sites together, and you might wind up making a date to meet for drinks before dinner.
I also told him the ship’s officers and crew are all eager to have guests enjoy themselves. They will greet you with warmth and friendliness and expect a similar response. (Remember those evaluation forms at the end of the cruise? They want nice scores.)
The alternative is to sit at home and say “I wish” and that is a huge waste of time.
Cruising might well be the ideal form of travel for the suddenly single. I do it professionally but when I think of the options a cruise offers, I realize it is a perfect way to travel.
Want to share a table with five or seven others? Play trivia games, sit in a theater full of people and enjoy a stage production, attend interesting lectures, enjoy the spa and fitness facility or just sit and gaze at the beautiful and ever-changing sea? You can do it all and see some remarkable parts of the world at the same time.
If you think you need someone with you in the cabin, chose selectively. Ship staterooms, as a fact of life, are not large. These are close quarters and you have to really like the person with whom you share them.
If you are contemplating a cruise and don’t have a partner. explore those cruises where the single supplement is doable, then, as they say on television, book it, Danno.