“Vive la différence” is a French expression with many meanings, such as appreciating cultural diversity. In this article we can assume many types of people take cruises. Some want to meet new people while others want to spend time by themselves. Regardless of the cruise line you choose, both options should be available to you. Let us consider a few examples.
- Choice of cabin. Cost will be a major factor in this area.
Friendly: Boo a regular cabin in the main part of the ship. Step out on your balcony and stick your head around the partition. Say hello to your neighbors.
Private: Book the grade of cabin that comes with its own substantial and deck space and perhaps access to outdoor space restricted to passengers booking this higher grade.
- Dining. For us, dinner onboard is the highlight of every day.
Friendly: Ask to be seated at a large table. At breakfast, repeat the process. You will constantly be meeting new people.
Private: Ask for a table for two in the dining room. Have breakfast delivered to your stateroom.
- Sunbathing on deck. Watch you don’t burn. You will find the ship creates a colling breeze as it slices through the water.
Friendly: Survey the scene on deck. Look for people who left books on their lounger. You want to see English language titles. (Or your own language.)
Private: Sunbathe on your own deck space. Pay to visit the spa and use their private deck space. Does the ship have private cabanas in an area where you pay for access?
- Touring onshore. Many people cannot wait to get ashore after spending a day or two at sea. Personally, we love sea days.
Friendly: Book a group tour onboard. Align your activity level with the activity level in the tour description.
Private: The ship will have private tour options. A car and driver are waiting at the foot of the pier. Your tour is your own. You could always walk down the gangway, map in hand and start exploring.
- Swimming. This can be a challenge for people who love to swim, but not how they look in a bathing suit.
Friendly: You aren’t bothered by how you look. You either join the crowd or get together with people having similar body topes.
Private: You swim in the off hours, like early AM. I think that’s what Meryl Streep did in Let Them All Talk which was filmed on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2. The spa probably has an aqua therapy area that is nor crowded.
- Enjoying shows. Cruise ships have live entertainment including lectures. Let us not forget films.
Friendly: You met some people before. Go to the show together. If you haven’t, go to one of the bars, order a drink and chat, then say “Who wants to go to the show?”
Private: The shows are usually filmed and made available on your in stateroom tv.
- Playing games. Here’s a challenge. Games are usually group activities. There are solutions.
Friendly: I enjoy the trivia quizzes. Most ships have them. It’s easy to join a group of people as an extra player.
Private: You choose your friends, possibly the family members you are traveling with. You play the game in your stateroom or on your balcony.
- Ships try their best to include a wide range of things to buy, from designer jewelry to artwork to previously owned luxury handbags.
Friendly: Wander through the shops in the early evening before dinner. You will meet plenty of people.
Private: Pick up the phone in your suite. Call your butler or the concierge. Ask if you can setup an appointment for the jeweler or clothing shop manager to bring a selection to your suite.
- Drinks or private parties. There are plenty of venues for having a drink onboard.
Friendly: Your ship likely has theme nights. There is a disco. You can arrange for a cabin party.
Private: Your butler hand delivers your invitations. You arrange for drinks and canapes in your suite. Perhaps you hire a couple of musicians. If your suite isn’t a suite, there are likely some function rooms you can reserve.
- Getting photos taken. Isn’t every ship setup for this kind of activity? It’s especially obvious on formal nights.
Friendly: Come down earlier than usual on a formal night. Checkout the different photo backdrops. The photographers will do the rest.
Private: Call ahead. The photographic team will be able to setup a private session for you when things aren’t busy, and few people are in the area.
Regardless of if you are the friendliest person in the world or a celebrity who wants to stay away from prying eyes, your cruise line will be able to accommodate you.
Ed. Note: 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.
Cover photo Grand Princess Photos ©Dennis Cox/WorldViews