Single travelers have more options than ever. (iStock)
Vacationing solo doesn't have to be an awkward experience. Taking a trip on your own can be tremendous fun; a chance to travel at your own pace and meet new people. One of the best ways to travel alone is to take a cruise, and with a little planning and an open mind, it's even possible to have the trip of a lifetime. Here is a guide to having fun when cruising solo:
Get your motion sickness under control
Nausea can put a damper on anyone's social skills. While most cruise ships sail quite smoothly, there are a number of ways to keep sea sickness at bay should you get queasy. For severe seasickness, doctors may prescribe a small patch for your ear. This medicine lasts approximately three days and might have some side effects. You can find less intense, over-the-counter drugs at your local pharmacy or in the ship's store. Natural remedies include an acupressure relief band and stomach-calming foods like dry crackers, apples or ginger. You may regret missing out on the bountiful buffets, but feeling good is key to a successful cruise.
Avoid the single supplement
Sailing and sleeping alone can be pricey, as most cruises have rooms built for double occupancy. The companies expect two people to sleep in one room, and each of these travelers will pay a full cruise fare. If you want to stay in a room alone, you may have to pay a single supplement. The single supplement can reach up to 100 percent of your own charges, which means you would be paying the fare for two people. Instead of overcharging solo travelers, some progressive cruises are now offering rooms designed with singles in mind. A ship may even offer
common lounging areas only accessible to single travelers, so you don't need to guess who is available in a crowd. Cruises may also offer a cabin-mate, which means they would pair you up with a roommate who is also traveling alone, another way to cut costs. This can be a huge risk if you don't get along with your cabin mate, but you may also find yourself with a new travel buddy. If you want more control over the situation, you can seek out cruise companions on internet message boards. Seasoned cruise travelers can be found on website forums like Cruisemates or Singlescruise.
Choose the right ship at the right time .
Small cruises may be best for the solo traveler. Finding the same person twice can be impossible in enormous luxury liners. If you are on a smaller ship, you are more likely to run into the same friendly faces, on or offshore. Solo riders might want to avoid major holidays, when families take cruises en masse. Cruising in the off-season will even save you money on fare and singles supplements. Whatever time of the year, longer cruises create more opportunities to forge bonds with your fellow travelers.
Join an organized cruise
Singles-only organized trips are a great option for first-time cruisers and anyone who needs a little nudge in the right direction. The boat will pre-arrange a litany of social activities including speed dating, dance classes and trivia games. Single parents with kids can also find cruises tailored to their own particular needs. Travelers can also bond over a similar passion on a themed cruise. Themed cruises run the gambit, with focuses that range from writing, television and natural evolution. Holidays usually mean families on cruises, but a party-oriented theme like Halloween can lead to a rip-roaring time.