Cruising solo

I know many people hate travelling and dining alone, but I’m not one of them.  I love the feeling I get from being totally anonymous in a strange city.

Therefore, I had no hesitation on booking a solo cruise for myself over Christmas.  The only bummer to the process was having to pay for two people, since P&O don’t have single cabins.  To read more about my comparison of P&O vs Princess Cruise Line, click here.

I originally booked an inside cabin going with the cheapest offering. Nearer sailing for shits’n’giggles I checked on the cost to upgrade to a veranda cabin.  Interestingly, the cost to upgrade was based per person/per night.  Therefore I only paid a single upgrade cost which I thought was very reasonable.  Merry Christmas to me.

There are a number of things that are a benefit of travelling alone on a cruise, primarily that as cabins tend to be fairly small, when its only you, you don’t have that second or third (or forth) person to move around in a small space.  Also I tend to be pretty tidy so the minimal crap I scattered around was mine and mine alone.

Before I went, I jokingly said I was going to hide in the cabin the whole cruise, with a good book, and not talk to anyone the entire time.  In reality this couldn’t have been further from the truth.  I ended up having a standing date for trivia sessions and joining a group of 8 others for Christmas lunch.

I’m not sure if it’s because Australian’s tend to be exceptionally friendly people, and most of the cruisers onboard were from Melbourne, but all over the ship I ended up chatting to people during activities, sharing meals and simply chatting.   Hanging out with my book on the veranda was actually done a lot less than I planned.

Being solo allowed me to do the activities I wanted to do, rather than the complaints of companions with “not another round of trivia?!”.  At the same time, if I wanted some alone time, I simply needed to go back to my cabin and put the “do not disturb” sign on the door.  No worries about having to escape from pesky travelling companions.

A special thanks go to Amanda & David and Ben & Barbara for including me into their holiday.   Go the trivia nerds!  🙂

For port days, I did these all on my own.  The only time I did an organised shore excursion was Gladstone.  For the rest I either walked to the attractions or simply wandered around.

Its much easier to get around ports on your own and you can’t underestimate the time saved when not having to negotiate the “what do you want to do?” conversation.  In Newcastle I visited the cathedral, art gallery, library archives & photo history gallery.   I then stopped for lunch before visiting the Maritime museum, Newcastle museum and still had time for an iced coffee and cake before leisurely making my way back to the ship.  When asking another cruiser what her and her extended family did in Newcastle… they went to the pub because they didn’t have time…

Other advantages I found were that the dining experience is quicker.   For the most part I grabbed my food, ate and left the Pantry.  This left me more time for other activities and reading.

Being a party of 1 also means at times you skip the queues.  Tender ticketing – here take the last space on this one – which is 3 ahead of the tickets being given out.  Presumably I would have also been seated quickly at the sit down restaurants also if I had rocked up as a party of 1.

It may just be me, but the luxury of sleeping diagonally across the bed … bliss!

My biggest problem now is how often can I ditch the family to go solo again?


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