When you think about singles cruises, what images enter your mind?
Do you picture a giant floating party – a tin bucket filled with grabby, alcohol-fueled, strangers with one thing on their minds? Or, do you imagine a senior prom at sea – a large room filled with cheap cardboard decorations and strangers who have nothing in common and even less to say?
For women over 50, like myself, these kinds of stereotypes can cause us to avoid singles cruises like the plague. Why?
Because most of us, while we wouldn’t mind meeting someone special, are more interested in avoiding the single supplement than finding someone to share our beds! We like the fact that many singles cruises offer free roommate matching and the opportunity to meet new people, but, we don’t want to feel pressured or stereotyped either.
Of course, much of the blame for how singles cruises are perceived rests in the hands of the cruise industry. By failing to provide viable options for solo female travelers, they force us to look at singles cruises, even if we are simply single cruisers.
At the same time, it occurs to me that, while the cruise industry is gradually starting to recognize the business opportunity that solo female travelers represent, there is no reason for us to wait for the perfect solution to set sail! While cruise executives get their act together, we can take advantage of singles cruises, as they exist today.
We just need to break through the stereotypes about singles cruises and have a plan for how to get the most from them.
Most of us think that singles cruises are just one big party, but, is this really true? Not really. In my experience, while many passengers do decide to partake in one too many drinks in the evening, this behavior is not universal. In addition, it’s not like the majority of passengers are stumbling around in their Donald Duck underwear at 11 in the morning!
The truth is that most singles cruises, even the ones that do cater to people looking for romance, have plenty of activities to enjoy. From dance lessons and cooking classes to score excursions and lectures, singles cruises have come a long way in the last 10 years.
If you don’t like loud social scenes, you don’t have to attend them. There will always be a quieter group of passengers for you to hang out with, even if all you want from them is conversation.
Definitely not! By the time we reach our 40s, 50s or better, love and sex tend to take on new meaning. We are not prudish. We still love physical contact and emotional connection, but, unlike when we were teenagers, intimacy doesn’t dominate our thoughts. This is true for both men and women.
In my experience, a large percentage, perhaps even a majority, of solo cruisers are looking for savings and sun more than seduction and sex. Just because you sign up for a singles cruise doesn’t mean that you will spend your well-deserved break defending yourself from over-excited passengers.
The bottom line is that passengers on cruise ships have a natural ability to form groups based on their intentions and interests. Will there be a loud, heavy-drinking group on your singles cruise? Yes. Will there be a group that drinks orange-juice every night so it can enjoy every shore trip? Of course! It just depends what you want!
First, take the time to think about what age group you want to hang out with. If you are in your 60s, you might want to consider a singles cruise for boomers. Alternatively, if romance isn’t your goal, you might prefer hanging out with a group that spans multiple generations.
Reading the description of each cruise will give you a good idea of who it is targeted at. In addition, I would strongly recommend reading the customer reviews of the singles cruises that you are considering. Are the people leaving comments the kinds of passengers that you would like to hang out with?
Next, look for cruises that have activities that you would find fascinating under any circumstances. Most of us don’t step onboard expecting (or even wanting) to find love. At the same time, if romance does find us, it is more likely to sneak up on us when we are doing something we love.
Bring your own entertainment. More than with other types of cruises, people tend to have unfair expectations about singles cruises. They expect to just show up and be entertained.
While it is true that singles cruises tend to have a more active vibe than traditional cruises, it is still up to you to make the most of your time on the water. Bring a good book or two. Pack your diary. Take your iPad along for the ride. Whatever you do, take the pressure off of yourself by being ready to enjoy your alone time, even if you are surrounded by other people.
At the end of the day, singles cruises are so much more than the stereotypes suggest. If you are looking for love, they are an obvious choice. But, even if you are looking for nothing more than the romance of being on the open sea with a glass of wine and a good book, they also have plenty to offer – especially if, like me, you are always on the lookout for ways to avoid the dreaded single supplement!
Have you ever taken a singles cruise? Which one did you take and what did you think? Do you think that singles cruises are just for people who are looking for love? Or can all solo travelers have a good time on a singles cruise? Please join the conversation!