- Interested in river cruises for solos but worried about going alone? Our solo cruise travel guide can help!
- Expert tips and helpful advice for making your first solo river cruise a holiday to remember
- From accommodation and dining to excursions and activities, here’s how to navigate going it alone on a river cruise
If you’re thinking about river cruises for solo travellers, but some concerns are holding you back from going it alone and booking your cruise, there’s no need to worry. Life on board a ship as a solo passenger is relaxed and sociable, with cultural excursions ashore both informative and fun.
River cruises for singles (and no, we don’t mean your relationship status) are a great way to discover the world and have an unforgettable holiday. Here are 12 helpful tips to make the most of a solo cruise.
1. Explore all river cruises for solo travellers options
When it comes to European river cruises, there’s plenty of choice including the Rhine, Rhône, Danube or Douro. Some river cruises are specifically tailored for solo travellers, which means all passengers on that particular cruise are solo travellers. Other river cruises welcome both solo and group travellers, with stylish cabins for those cruising alone.
2. Don’t worry about single supplements
Often, solo holidays equate to hefty single supplements. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Look for one of the increasing numbers of dedicated solo river cruises that don’t charge guests an additional fee for their own cabin. Solo passengers aren’t short-changed, either. The same luxurious accommodation awaits, so you can have a stylish double or twin cabin all to yourself from where you can enjoy scenic views. Many cabins have full-length glass doors that open up to a French balcony. The great thing about river cruises is that you only need to unpack once. Despite visiting new destinations every day, you return each evening to your own comfortable cabin, allowing you to truly unwind and relax.
3. Embrace your freedom as a solo traveller
One of the many joys of travel is meeting new people and learning about different cultures. With river cruising, you’ll be surrounded by like-minded shipmates. Solo holidays are a great opportunity to share wonderful experiences with others, without worrying about being the only single person on board. Relish your independence and enjoy life to the full. A singles river cruise holiday is a great way to explore new destinations.
4. Don’t let age hold you back
There’s a huge variety of people who go on river cruises and people travel for a whole host of reasons. However, one thing unites everyone is that age is just a number. It doesn’t matter if you’re in your 50s, 60s or older, fellow passengers are on holiday to have fun. Even if you’re on a cruise to celebrate a special birthday, nobody will be counting the candles on your cake.
5. Make sure you attend any welcome drinks
Even if you’re on your first solo holiday and are nervous about talking to others, put on your best smile and attend any welcome drinks and dinner. This is your chance to break the ice with other guests, many of whom could be just as anxious. Remember: everyone is on holiday, so everyone has a good reason to be happy. It’s easy to start a conversation on a river cruise. If you’re stuck trying to break the ice, ask the person next to you if they’ve been on a cruise before, or if there’s a destination on the itinerary that they can’t wait to visit. You’ll be chatting away like old friends in no time.
6. Get to know the crew
Experienced teams who are passionate about travel will ensure you receive outstanding service on your river cruise ship. From the cruise director and tour manager to the waiters and bar staff, friendly professionals are on board to look after all passengers and make every holiday special. On river cruises, the high crew-to-passenger ratio promises first-class personal service. Everyone receives exceptional care and attention with typically one crew member for every four guests. A top tip for solo travellers is to make use of the crew’s knowledge and expertise. Ask them to recommend a cocktail to enjoy on deck, find out where to buy the best souvenirs ashore and allow them to introduce you to potential new friends – they’ll be more than happy to help.
7. Treasure the excursions
Guided tours ashore are a highlight of most river cruises and are much-loved by solo travellers who don’t fancy exploring new cities on their own. With an English-speaking expert accompanying you to the must-see sights and attractions, river cruise excursions are engaging and enlightening, bringing history and local culture to life. They are lots of fun too, especially as you’re sharing the experience with others who are just as excited about discovering somewhere different. It’s good to know that excursions aren’t compulsory. If you prefer to stay onboard your cruise ship one day or wander around a destination alone, you’re free to do as you wish.
8. Enjoy the ship’s fine dining
There’s a relaxed atmosphere on river cruises when it comes to dining. Most river cruises operate a policy of informal free seating and smaller tables, which makes it easy to make new friends, and you can choose to sit with other fellow single travellers. When exploring somewhere new, there’s always the concern that you’ll end up in a mediocre restaurant rather than one that’s a culinary treat. On river cruises for singles, there’s not that worry. Every evening, you will enjoy first-class cuisine. As the chef is able to make daily visits to local markets and food producers, every meal is prepared with fresh hand-picked ingredients – you may even get to sample a few regional specialities and wines, too.
9. Personalise your holiday
Your first solo river cruise will no doubt be memorable, but you can make it even more special by participating in other unique activities, such as a cookery class in Italy or a wine-tasting tour in France. On a Rhine river cruise for singles, you could sample a Riesling or two in the vineyard where the grapes were grown. While visiting Vienna on a Danube river cruise, you could attend a classical concert inspired by Mozart himself. Experiences such as these are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Don’t let them pass you by.
10. Take the hassle out of travel
Any concerns you may have about your own personal safety when travelling alone can be diminished with a river cruise. Return travel and transfers are included in the price and arranged for you, with options to fly from a regional airport or catch a train locally. What’s more, tour managers will often meet you as you check in and will be at St Pancras station to greet all Eurostar passengers. With someone else at the helm, all you need to do is sit back, relax and have a wonderful holiday.
11. Allow yourself some ‘me time’
While river cruises for solos are a great way for single travellers to see the world, don’t feel you have to mingle and socialise all the time. If you prefer your own company for an evening or wish to dine alone, it’s perfectly acceptable. Single travellers have that freedom and you can do as you please. Don’t feel obliged to sit in the bar with new-found friends if you’d rather immerse yourself in a good book or catch up with sleep. Everyone will respect your decisions.
12. Join an online community
Before you set sail, find out if you can sign up to a dedicated online forum, where you’re able to discuss solo travel with other like-minded adventurers. It’s a great place to read testimonials from other seasoned travellers and get help with any queries. Riviera Travel has a free solo travellers forum with hundreds of comments and friendly advice.
Planning river cruises for solos
Feeling more confident about travelling alone? Ready for an exciting adventure aboard a relaxing river cruise?
There are lots of options, and Riviera Travel offers a number of cruises for solo travellers, including cruises on the Rhine, Douro, Danube and Seine as well as our new Amsterdam, Kinderdijk & the Dutch Bulbfields river cruise for solo travellers. The hardest part will be choosing which river cruise to go on first.
If this has inspired you to try river cruising, please see our full collection of cruises for solo travellers for more details of the itineraries and dates. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.