Andrey ArmyagovIf you love adventure but want to stay somewhere more luxurious than a basic hotel or hostel, why not consider a cruise? Taking in the breathtaking views of the Norwegian fjords or experiencing the magnificence of the Panama Canal while sailing over clear blue seas is a wonderful way to travel. If you are thinking of going on your own, there are a few things to consider that will help you choose the right one and make sure your holiday goes without a hitch.

You may have to pay more as a solo traveller

If you are travelling solo, you’ll probably have to pay a single supplement to get your own cabin as most cruise ships don’t have single cabins. The supplement can cost as much as paying for an extra person, so watch out for discounts or sales to get the best price. Alternatively, some cruise lines offer to find you, someone, to share a cabin with, but you’ll have to keep your fingers crossed you get on with your temporary roomie!

Cocktails on a cruise ship in the summer by Oleksandr Lysenko

If you want to socialise, a smaller ship might offer better opportunities to meet people during social activities and excursions, and you’re more likely to see familiar faces with fewer people on board. Attend the meet and greet, sign up for a shore excursion, or hang out in a bar and you’re sure to meet some interesting personalities.

You may also like: 

Get your documents in order

Once you’ve booked your trip, it’s time to get organised, starting with your travel documents. Check your tickets to confirm dates and times. If you are flying to your departure port, double-check those flight times to make sure you get there on time to pick up your cruise – you don’t want to be telling your friends a cruise disaster story over dinner.

Make sure your passport has at least six months left on it before you travel. Many countries outside the EU won’t let you in if your passport has less than six months until it expires. And check whether you will need visas for any of the places you’ll be visiting. Most cruise lines will sort them out for you, but if money is a concern, you may be able to save some cash by applying for them yourself.

Penguin and Cruise Ship in Patagonia. Awe inspiring travel image. by Australis Photography

Store copies of your travel documents such as passports, visas and insurance policies in the cloud. If you lose the physical copies, it will make it easier for you to get replacements.

Do some research about your cruise and the ship

The last thing you want is to miss out on a fabulous onboard adventure like dining on food devised by a celebrity chef or seeing a Broadway show, so review which activities, excursions and experiences your ship has to offer before you set sail.

It’s also worth looking at the more practical things like which electrical system your ship is on, so you can take the right travel adapters with you. Find out the amenities they have such as laundry and dry cleaning – are they free or will you have to pay for them? Weird fact alert: cruise ships rarely have irons in the cabins so if you want to freshen up your clothes, you’ll probably have to take a trip to the laundry room.

You should also work out how much money you will need. Even a cruise billed as all-inclusive will have extras you’ll need to pay for like excursions, internet access, drinks, and so on. Check the small print on your cruise documentation to see what is actually included, so you don’t get a shock once you’re onboard.

Amazing evening view of Fira, caldera, volcano of Santorini, Greece with cruise ships at sunset. Cloudy dramatic sky. by  Georgios Tsichlis

Although I don’t meticulously plan an itinerary for my trips away, as I like to see where life takes me, it’s worth doing a little research on where your ship will be visiting so you don’t miss out on any must-see landmarks or areas of natural beauty.

Get packing

Many people become overwhelmed when trying to decide what to pack for a cruise. My advice on this is the same as for any other trip – pack light. If you forget something, you can always buy it onboard or on a port visit.

It’s important to consider what the weather will be like on your trip and pack accordingly. You should also review the ship’s dress code – you don’t want to be turned away from a restaurant or bar because you haven’t packed a shirt and tie. Your cruise line may offer more packing advice, and my final tip is don’t forget to pack some sea-sickness prevention. All that remains now is to get booking and enjoy your first-ever cruise!