Last Updated on October 7, 2023

Cruising is an ideal way for solo travelers to experience the world without feeling alone.

Whether you’re looking for friendship or romance, there are plenty of opportunities to socialize with fellow passengers and crew members alike.

Here are 10 tips to help you make the most of your cruise vacation and experience the fun and adventure that awaits:

How to socliaize as a solo single cruiser

1. Take Part in Onboard Activities

Most cruises offer a range of activities and events and participating in these is a great way to meet new people while doing something you enjoy.

Make a concerted effort to involve yourself and attend these activities and events that take place daily!

These events can include:

  • trivia nights and pub quizzes (you easily meet others as you join a team which sometimes the cruise staff will sort out if you are there solo)
  • bingo
  • poker and blackjack lessons and competitions
  • pool parties
  • themed events
  • dance classes
  • shuffle boarding (a great way to meet people and have great fun)
Paul playing shuffleboard on P&O's Ventura
Paul playing shuffleboard on P&O’s Ventura for the first time. A great way to meet other passengers

Most cruise ships offer numerous ways to have fun while meeting people from all walks of life.

2. Dine at the Same Table

One of the easiest and most guaranteed ways to socialize and make friends with other passengers on any cruise is at dinner every evening.

You can choose either freedom dining (you decide when to head to the dining hall) or a set dining time (usually something like 7 pm or 9 pm).

With freedom dining, you turn up for dinner every night in the main dining hall and you can ask to be allocated to a large table of 6 or 8 people.

This way you will meet new people every evening as you sit and dine and chat with them.

Dining with Royal Caribbean
Valeria dining on a Royal Caribbean ship

With set dining, you can choose a large table, i.e., a 6 or 8-person table and you dine with the same people every evening.

*I recommend 8 if you are traveling alone so that you meet more people.

This is a fun and very natural way to socialize with new friends on any cruise.

3. Meet Up with Like-Minded Travelers at Onboard Singles Events

Many cruise ships organize activities and events specifically catering to solo travelers.

Whether it’s a cooking class or an informal gathering in the ship’s lounge, these are great opportunities to connect with other like-minded people.

Other events organized for singles can include onboard speed dating events, group dinners, and cocktail hours.

Sign up for a few of these activities and you might just make some lifelong friendships!

4. Join a Shore Excursion Group

Another extremely easy way to chat and meet others on your cruise is to join one of the cruise’s organized shore excursions.

At just about every port of call on the cruise, the cruise line will offer some paid shore excursion that you can do as part of a group (and normally with a guide).

It’s a great way to combine seeing something of the local city or town whilst also mingling with other cruise passengers.

Remember that everyone is on holiday and is likely to be in a relaxed mood so do not be shy to start a conversation.

5. Consider a River Cruise

River Cruises can be particularly good for easily meeting others.

The river cruises tend to be on smaller boats and operated by companies such as Amawaterways, UniWorld, and Silversea.

UniWorld, for example, has river cruises that are often around 150 passengers hence you get to see, meet and chat with most of the passengers over the course of the cruise trip.

Many river cruises take place on rivers such as the Rhine, Mississippi, or Danube, to name but a few.

These small boats provide an intimate and very easy way to meet fellow passengers but are a little pricier than your average large cruise ship.

Valeria on a Nile cruise
Valeria dancing on the River Nile, Egypt, on a river cruise

6. Take Part in Onboard Enrichment Programs

From wine tastings and cooking classes to computer classes and art workshops, onboard enrichment and educational programs and events often take place.

Most cruise lines, for example, offer onboard lectures, normally cultural, educational, or entertainment-based lectures that are open to all passengers.

Attending these talks is an excellent way to learn something new while connecting with other solo travelers.

7. Join the Fitness Classes

If you are interested in wellness or fitness and are a single cruiser looking to meet people onboard, then why not join one of the fitness classes?

In the gym, there are often daily Zumba, pilates, or yoga classes and here you will easily meet like-minded travelers.

What I did on one cruise in fact was to invite other people from the gym class to join me on my daily jog around the cruise ship before breakfast. By the end of the cruise, we were 5 people meeting on most mornings to jog and I am still in touch with two of them years later.

8. Hang Out at the Pool or Bar

The pool is often one of the best places on board to meet fellow travelers from all over the world. Strike up a conversation with someone you’d like to get to know better and don’t be afraid to dive in!

Likewise, many cruise ships have a great selection of bars that offer both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

If you are not shy sitting at a bar, then you can really quite easily meet other people and make friends from all over the world, by meeting others at the bar.

9. Go on a Cruise with Lots of Single Cabins

Being a little more strategic with meeting other single cruise travelers, what you can do is focus on traveling on a cruise ship that has a decent number of single cabins.

This way you know that, on a busy cruise, there will be a number of fellow single travelers.

With this in mind, you might want to check out the NCKL Norwegian Cruise Line ships as several of their ships have single cabins.

10. Choose a Smaller Ship

It is well worth also choosing a smaller ship as opposed to one of the super-sized ships.

So, rather than a 3000+ passenger cruise ship, I would recommend traveling on a smaller cruise ship if you are looking to socialize more.

The thinking behind this is that you have a far greater chance to see the people you meet more often on a smaller ship because of the size.

On a large ship with, let’s say, 5,000 passengers, you go the whole trip without bumping again into people you have seen.

Paul Symonds