I had a dream; it might be a daft little dream but it was MY dream. I wanted to be stood before the Parthenon at the top of the Acropolis in Athens on my 40th birthday. However, after a little investigation, it turned out to be cheaper to go on an all-inclusive cruise that included Athens than to go to Athens for a week. OK, so I got to the Acropolis a couple of days before my big birthday but this can’t be helped, I still managed to achieve my dream. This is my experience of cruising solo.
On this first cruise, I travelled with a good friend of mine who had been on cruises previously and knew the ropes so guided me through the whole cruising process. I must admit I had never considered going on a cruise before and on embarkation day I felt a fish out of water (excuse the pun). Don’t worry though, after a couple of glasses of vino, I soon started to chill and partied to the early hours on that first night. I have since been on 3 cruises as a solo traveller and have a 4th booked in the summer of 2020, needless to say, I am now hooked.
Why I Love Cruising Solo
Although it was daunting at first, I now love being a solo traveller and cruising is a great way to travel and meet people. For me, my favourite part of cruising is the waking up in a different place each morning and getting the chance to see so many different places. I have seen parts of the world that I wouldn’t have thought of visiting unless I was on a cruise.
Aside from visiting different places and countries, I can occasionally be a little selfish in wanting to do what I want all the time. I am also a keen photographer so travelling alone means that I don’t need to worry that I am holding someone up by stopping to take a few photos.
My Favorite Destinations
I sometimes find it hard to believe how many places I’ve seen over the years since I’ve started going on cruises, the first port I ever visited was Istanbul and I must say that Istanbul is an amazing city.
When I came here in 2015, I visited the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia both are stunningly beautiful Mosques with an amazing history. They are separated by pretty gardens that have lovely blooms planted separated by paths and a fountain, this area connects the Blue Mosque to Hagia Sophia, which is also known as the pink mosque due to the colour it seems to be when the sun shines on it at certain angles. If you do decide to visit Hagia Sophia, look out for the stunning urn that is made out of one piece of marble.
Kusadasi Is another place that I have fallen in love with, the port itself is central for a myriad of shops and bazaars, my favourite was the shop called Genuine Fake Watches… you can’t help but smile when you see the shopfront. I will be honest and say that you do get the shop and stall owners trying to entice you into their establishments to spend your money with them, don’t let this put you off, they are all friendly and if you say no to them they smile and let you walk by.
On my last visit to this lovely port, I booked an excursion to Ephesus which was an ancient Greek city with roads and pavements made from Marble. To say I love this place is putting politely, it is amazing, you can still see the grooves in the roads made from the carts that travelled through the city thousands of years ago. You will also get the chance to look at the ancient amphitheatre, parliament and library that were a hive of activity all those years ago. I can’t wait to go back someday and visit this place because they were excavating a new area when I visited so I am excited to see what they have discovered.
One little tip for Ephesus is to be careful when walking around as the marble underfoot is slippery to walk on… I found out the hard way, luckily the only injury I sustained was to my ego.
Pompeii, like Ephesus, is somewhere that I adore, it is somewhere that I have wanted to visit since learning about it at school. With Mount Vesuvius in the background, this place is full of history, it became famous after Mount Vesuvius erupted covering the city and its inhabitants in ash snuffing out so many lives. You can see the shops and homes of the city and can imagine what they would have looked like when they were still in use, you will also get to see the casts of the people’s bodies that were encased in ash.
Pompeii is a huge city and you will need a full day, possibly longer here to see it all, I was there a couple of hours and only saw a small corner of this vast city and definitely want to go back. If you do visit here, look out for the interesting emblems outside the brothel 😊
See Also: 10 tips for a Mediterranean Cruise Tips
Many people will know Mykonos from the film Shirley Valentine as many parts of the island were used as locations for the film. As you travel around the island you will see the bar where Shirley met and worked for Costas and the restaurant where she told her friend, Jane, that she didn’t want to go home over lunch. Aside from this claim to fame, the island is also famous for the windmills in Mykonos Town, the whitewashed buildings and family-owned, blue-domed churches that are all over Mykonos. This Island is well worth a visit and I’d highly recommend it for anyone who is a film buff or for those who like a chilled holiday.
Tips for Cruising as a Solo Traveller
After going on a few cruises, apart from seeing many amazing sights, I have discovered a couple of tips and ideas that can be useful for both solo travellers, if you are a part of a couple or a group or even if you have been on a cruise before.
- Share your itinerary and flight details with someone at home so that they know where you are and when you are expected home. Also, let them know when you will be having sea days, this way they will know that it is less likely that they will be able to make contact with you (unless you have connected to the shop’s Wi-Fi)
- Talk to staff and other travellers, make them aware that you are a solo traveller – people will often look out for you and make sure you are safe. I have made friends with other solo travellers whilst on board too and regularly meet up throughout the cruise.
- Out of my personal preference is that I prefer to book Excursions through the cruise company, I feel safer doing it this way, plus the ship will wait if you arrive back late. This takes some of the worry out of going on trips, it is also a great way of making friends especially if you are on your own.
- Don’t overpack, you won’t need as much as you think. If you take a lot with you, you will soon find what you won’t need next time you cruise… I’m confident there will be a next time, trust me, I am speaking from experience, cruising is addictive.
- Take an old fashioned (non-digital) watch and / or alarm clock and set it to ship time. This way you will make sure you are not late to shows and events on the ship or late back from a day in port (nobody wants to risk missing the ship)
- First Aid Kits are a must, I always take a couple of first aid kits, one for my carry-on case and one for my checked luggage. I put 2 together as it can take a while to get your cases that have been checked in plus if you are flying to your cruise you may not see your luggage for a good few hours… you never know when you will need painkillers or indigestion tablets.
- Pack a change of clothes into your hand luggage, I learned this the hard way when a pile of luggage didn’t come off the plane I’d been travelling on after landing at Palma airport. As a result of this, I was without EVERYTHING until my luggage arrived on board the ship two days into the cruise. Luckily, on this occasion, the cruise company gave everyone affected money to get essentials to last us a couple of days but not this may not happen next time so it is better to be safe than sorry.