Some people go on vacation to enjoy alone time. They do not want to feel like crowd scene extras on a film set. Can this be done when the passenger count on a cruise ship numbers in the thousands? The answer is yes.
What type of passengers want their privacy? Celebrities come to mind. They can afford to spend lots of money. A more down to earth example is the person working in customer service. If they are on the phone 50 weeks a year answering client complaints or inquiries, they might like their two-week holiday to involve not speaking to anyone unless they initiate the conversation.
- Charter a yacht. This is the Bravo network Below Deck It is going to be expensive. You hire your own ship, complete with crew. You choose your travel companions, often friends or family. This is an expensive option, but you can also charter a luxury barge and do canal cruising in Europe. Belmond and Abercrombie and Kent offer barges for charter.
- Pay up for a suite. Cunard is known for its Grill level accommodation. Other cruise lines are following a similar strategy. You have exclusive deck space, dining room and cocktail lounge. There is often a separate, “express line” check in.
- Get a suite with an enormous balcony. Cruise lines have anticipated this need for privacy. You do not need to stretch out around the pool on the aft deck if you have an enormous balcony all your own. These are often designed so they cannot be overlooked.
Those three suggestions cost lots of money. Our customer service rep isn’t going to give them serious consideration. What else can you do?
- Request a table for two in the dining room. This works regardless of if your ship has two set dinner seatings or open seating. Let the cruise line and maître d’ know you prefer a table for you and your partner. You would like some privacy. They will gladly accommodate you.
- Dine in your cabin. Regardless of the grade cabin you booked, room service should be available. We have found the quality has increased substantially, post pandemic. You can order breakfast, lunch or dinner (or all three) and have it delivered to your door. You can dine on your balcony, if it is large enough.
- You enjoy the sun and shade while onboard but prefer not to mingle with the rest of the passengers. Holland America Line offers “The Retreat” an outdoor space onboard several ships. It features a couple of dozen rented tented cabanas with a pair of chaise lounges, towels, ice bucket, etc. It’s an ideal way to keep to yourself.
- Choose your timing. If you prefer privacy, your life onshore likely follows the same pattern. You get your morning run in early. Onboard, you might hit the gym when it opens. You might use the public pools or hot tubs at the start or end of the day. You might choose to explore the ship on a port day, when most people have left the ship.
- You can still enjoy the beach. Many cruise lines have access to a private island. Disney, Holland America, Princess, Royal Caribbean and NCL have them. We visited Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas when sailing with Holland America. The cruise line rents cabanas and houses on the beach, ranging from two person tents up to two story buildings. You can feel the sand between your toes and still protect your privacy.
You might think most cruise ships are “mega” vessels. You might value your privacy. You can achieve your objective, regardless of how much or little you pay.
Cover photo: Carnival Legend, Sydney Harbor, harbor ferry Dennis Cox ©Dennis Cox/WorldViews
Ed. Notes: CruiseCompete and its member travel advisors provide many curated cruise and land deals, offers and amenities on over 50 cruise lines with over 500 cruise ships sailing all around the world.