flotsam, travel, ups and downs

Solo cruising

I follow a lot of travel sites. I mean… a lot of travel sites. If there’s a travel column to be read, or a travel mailing list to be on, I’m probably on it, or soon will be.

So in light of my upcoming cruise vacation – and the fact that I frequently adventure alone – an article called Tips for solo travelers to make the cruise world fair on Gadling.com understandably caught my eye. What? Options to save versus paying twice to cruise alone? Tell me more!

Some of the tips provided here are actually pretty helpful – they don’t specifically mention the savings available to solos or duets by being a repeat customer (my cruise was on special plus I saved a fair bit on my cruise by returning to the same cruise line I used before, so I didn’t actually pay 2 full fares for my cabin anyway) – but then there’s these two:

Look at it differently. Instead of “Oh no, I don’t have anyone to travel with!”, try “Yes! I am going all by myself and can do whatever I want to, without regard for others”. You don’t have to be concerned about who’s turn it is to use the shower, where you will put your stuff in the cabin and what shore excursions “you both” or “all of you” would like.”

This is all true. But I think they’re preaching to the choir. Long before Eat Pray Love made it fashionable, I was already frequently off and about, seeing the world on my own; sometimes as part of a tour group and sometimes to explore a place according to my own whim and agenda. I’ve been on two solo cruises.  Aloneness is a state of being; loneliness is a state of mind.  Still, being on a cruise, more any other vacation I’ve been on so far, is very much a world-built-for-two event. This is even more pronounced when sailing to a honeymoon destination. It’s still enjoyable, to the extent we choose to make it that way.

I imagine there are people for whom the idea of vacationing alone (let alone cruising alone) is an agonizing proposition, but somehow I doubt those people would have been all that interested in the article to begin with. In any case, if it’s really the “alone” factor that is the issue, a cruise probably isn’t the first solo adventure a person should take. There are plenty of other options out there, to get your feet wet on dry land.

Consider bringing a friend. I know, that’s the easy answer but maybe its time to really seriously consider it. A relative, someone from the office, a neighbor, maybe someone you know who did something nice for someone else and deserves recognition.”

OK, this is not an earth-shattering solution. But yeah, okay, I can get behind the idea of bringing someone on a cruise with me.  But um, what the heck is this bring someone from the office or someone who deserves recognition stuff? If I’m inviting someone on a cruise with me, they’re going to be someone with whom I’m comfortable sharing a very small space, even though I don’t plan on spending a lot of time in it (ie, not one of my colleagues). And the way they word that “someone you know who did something nice for someone else and deserves recognition” makes it sound like I’m footing the bill for this person. No, nuh uh, I don’t think so. This is a vacation, not a charity event. If someone else is taking up half my (extraordinarily scant) cabin space, they’re going to be sharing the costs too. That would be the point. I imagine the thinking behind this particular nuance to the suggestion is that as long as I’m paying twice anyway, I might as well bring someone for company. Again, I guess on the assumption that I might be ever-so-lonely on the trip.

They don’t know me very well, do they?

I might have to consider Norwegian in future though. That is, if Princess doesn’t add solo cabins before then.

Or, you know. Unless I should find myself unexpectedly un-solo.

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