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Cruising is a Great Travel Option for Women

Evelyn Hannon

Journeywoman is often asked about the female-friendliness of cruising, especially for those women travelling solo. I think it's an excellent viable option as long as you understand that we live in a coupled world and the ship's guest list will reflect that demographic. So what! During the day you can do whatever your little heart desires. Sleep in late or get up early to work out in the gym. You don't need a partner to read a good book, take an excursion, listen to a lecture, enjoy a cooking class or learn to line dance.

It costs more if you're not sharing a cabin...

Worried about the extra cost of cruising solo? True, if you're not sharing with someone else you will be paying more. However, there are ways of reducing your spending. In order to begin at a lesser price, keep your eyes open for any advertised specials or last minute deals.

Not every potential guest has an endless travel budget and the cruise lines reach out by offering accommodation options. As the 'buyer' you must begin thinking creatively. Instead of choosing a prestige suite with verandah, choose one of their well-appointed ocean view or inside staterooms. Cut down on amenities -- fresh flowers and champagne are lovely in your room but you can have a fabulous time without them. Book only one extra shore excursion rather than three. Shop less and drink less (better for you) in exchange for the luxury of having your very own cabin with your very own washroom.

Once you sail with a cruise line you are on their mailing list. They want to keep you as a return client so they will ply you with Early Bird specials and coupons. Hold on to them, they just might come in handy the second time you cruise!


I'm concerned about feeling lonely...

You never need to be lonely. Use the formal dining room to jump-start relationships. Cruise lines make this very easy as there is open seating for breakfast and lunch each day of the cruise. That means you never know who will be seated beside you and with hundreds of guests the odds of meeting interesting people are high, indeed. For the evening meals, set tables are assigned at the beginning of your holiday. That guarantees that you'll be enjoying fine dining with the same eight to ten companions every night. Soon you'll all be comparing notes about how you spent the day, what you bought and where to meet up for the evening's entertainment. We found everybody so friendly and ready to chat. If you reach out with a smile most people will respond in kind. P.S. I still exchange Christmas cards with very interesting people I've met along the way.


I'd like to meet other singles...

Tell the dining room maitre 'd that you're interested in meeting other single passengers. Cruise lines usually have a Singles Table that you can be seated at if you choose. Read the ship's daily newsletter. They often program activities solely for folks who are travelling on their own. If you don't like these planned social activities pop by for a bit anyway. At least you can introduce yourself to other solo travellers (both men and women) on board and will know them by sight if they happen to be sitting beside you at another activity. It's a good idea to keep your options open.


Shopping becomes easier...

For most of us it's fun to shop when we're travelling and you certainly don't need a partner to find that perfect shawl you've been looking for. If you're backpacking and travelling by train many bargains must be left behind because you fear your bag will become too heavy. When you're on a cruise those worries disappear and that opens the door to lots of inexpensive pleasures. Things you buy in ports of call can be stored in your cabin and then simply packed into your suitcase for the journey home. Most probably you'll be catching a taxi from the port terminal directly to the airport where porters are available to handle your bags. The hassles are few but the things you purchase in markets around the world will offer sweet memories for years to come.

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