What You Must Know About Cruises as a Single Passenger

While cruise vacations are excellent values and have many wonderful things to recommend them, most single people know the dark little secret of the cruise industry. It's hard to cruise alone. That's not because cruise lines don't want single passengers. It's just that they're not really set up to accommodate them!

In fact, most cruise lines actually impose a bit of a penalty on the solo cruise vacationer. If you want to cruise alone, you certainly are free to do so, but you will end up paying an up charge to get your stateroom.

Staterooms on a cruise ship are almost always listed as double occupancy, meaning each room is priced with the assumption that two people will take the same room. For example, if your cruise package costs $800, double occupancy, the cruise line is assuming that it will take in $1,600 for the room.

You can always pay two fares and get a stateroom all to yourself. Some cruise lines are more accommodating and charge you a partial of the second fare. (After all, you're taking up space for two people but you're probably not eating for two.)

Cruising solo is probably not the best way to go, even beyond the merely financial vantage point. A cruise is fun when you can share the experience. Furthermore, individuals traveling alone on a cruise ship may find meals, shows, excursions, and other programs are just not as fun for them as singles as they would be if they were with a partner or a small group.

If you're considering a cruise vacation but have not quite finalized your plans in your mind, find your cruise buddy first and then make plans for the actual trip.

A cruise buddy has to be a person who has the financial resources and the time to join you. Since you're going solo, you want to avoid focusing too much time or attention on people who would only cruise with partners, spouses, best friends, and so on. Look for other singles.

Ask around at work, in social organizations, at church, and at school. Don't overlook the "secondary network." That's where you express interest in going on a cruise to people who may be able to play matchmaker. Perhaps your neighbor isn't a potential cruise buddy, but her sister-in-law might be; a colleague at work may be able to point out another colleague who has been mooning over cruise brochures.

In your initial conversations, just talk about cruises or destinations. You don't need to offer to go on a cruise with a person, carte blanche. Just talking about cruise vacations is a good way to see who else is interested in the subject.

It is a good idea if your cruise ideas match, but if you find potential cruise buddies, remember you may have to compromise a bit to find the ideal package for both of you.

It is even more crucial that your cruise styles be compatible. If you love to party, stay up late, drink a lot, and intend on partying like a pirate, you're probably not the best buddy for a church lady type. Even things like biorhythms (early risers, night owls) and smoking habits can be very important.

One great aspect about the cruise ship is that there is such a wealth of onboard and shore activities, you can easily do things you want with or without your buddy. Thus, a couch potato and an athlete could team up for a cruise and both do the sorts of thing they enjoy.