Traveling Solo? Five Reasons to take a river cruise

December 22, 2016 | By | 23 Replies More
Photo Credit: Vantage Travel

Photo Credit: Vantage Travel

River cruises are a great choice for traveling solo.

There are many reasons for traveling solo. It could be that you don’t have a go-to travel companion—perhaps you’re single, divorced, or widowed. Or you might ordinarily travel with friends but can’t find someone who wants to travel at the same time, to the same place, or in the same style as you do.

Even married couples may not share the same wanderlust: One may be eager to visit new destinations across the globe while the other is content watching them on the Travel Channel.

And many midlifers are traveling solo—not out of necessity but as a preferred choice. On their own, they have the freedom to do exactly what they want to do without compromise—unencumbered by a travel partner.

Why river cruising is a great choice

Sailing past the Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest

The Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest

River cruising is a great choice choice for solo travelers who are ambivalent about traveling alone. Here are a few reasons why:

1) Ease and convenience

Planning a trip independently generally entails a lot of time-consuming research and logistics (e.g., planning an itinerary, booking accommodations, finding restaurants and arranging transportation between cities.) On a river cruise, that is all taken care of for you. Moreover, once you’re onboard, you only have to pack and unpack once.

2) Safety and security 

Especially if you are a woman, you may be reluctant to travel abroad on your own. River cruises offer the safety and security of being with a group should any emergency arise. Experienced river ship Program Directors and crew brief know local customs and can help solo travelers make safe choices.

3) Chance to make fast friends 

Compared to ocean-going vessels, river cruises are intimate in size (generally no more than 180 people) so they are far less overwhelming. Seating at meals isn’t assigned so guests can table hop as often as they like to meet kindred spirits. Small-group shore excursions offer additional opportunities to get to know fellow passengers and also to meet locals. Many solo travelers return from a cruise having made new friends with whom they plan future trips. Those who prefer to share a cabin can take advantage of the same-sex “roommate” matching programs offered by cruise lines. River cruising also offers flexibility to those who prefer more “alone time.” Guests can elect to have a “river day” (by staying onboard during excursions) when they can read a novel or watch TV in the sanctity of their cocoon-like cabins.

Charming street in Regensburg, Germany

Charming street in Regensburg, Germany

4) Value 

River cruises tend to be one of the most economical and cost-inclusive ways of traveling with few upcharges (e.g., premium liquors in the lounge, souvenirs to take home, etc.). This allows guests to have a good estimate of what their trip will cost in U.S. dollars before leaving home and the convenience of not having to continually reach into their pockets while traveling. While single supplements (upcharges for a single vs. double occupancy cabin) were once a daunting disincentive to solo travel, some river cruises are reducing or eliminating the single supplement entirely in an effort to woo single travelers.

5) Personal enrichment

Aside from the thrill of experiencing new foods, languages, cultures and places (and being able to wake up and go to sleep whenever they want), solo travelers return from river cruises with renewed self-confidence. It feels good to know you can do it on your own and operate independently, especially if someone hasn’t done that for some time. If someone is still working and/or caregiving for older children or parents, river cruises provide a welcome respite from the routine doldrums of home.

Where to learn more

Founded in 1983, Vantage Travel offers a range of river cruise journeys that are especially appealing to solo travelers. It is also the only company in the industry with 6-8 cabins on each ship, specifically built for solo travelers that do not require additional single supplements.


Check out the Vantage TravelPlanner for further information and free downloadable eTravel Guides describing current cruise deals and itineraries.


Free download: 111 tips for solo travelers

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Thinking about traveling solo?

Download a free list of “111 Tips for Women Travelers” from Vantage Travel, including practical advice on packing, travel health, shopping, gadgets, photography and more.


Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Vantage Travel but opinions expressed in this post are my own.   

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Category: CRUISES

Comments (23)

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  1. Lauren says:

    This looks like a great trip,for those travelling solo. Good to know.

  2. Having taken my first two river cruises this year I am completely sold on the concept. Single, with a girlfriend or with my hubby, I think it’s a fabulous way to travel. Unpack once and visit so many destinations on a smaller ship with great food. Hope I’ll get the chance to try another in 2017!

  3. Janice Chung says:

    Totally agree that doing a tour, a river cruise, would be perfect for a solo traveller, especially if the single supplement is waived. I think that’s the biggest obstacle of doing any tour. While I have paid the supplement on a number of trips, fortunately, the amount wasn’t too large. I think the other advantage (that I’ve experienced) is that I can be with lots of people and then retreat to my cabin alone to reenergize. The perfect combination.

  4. Cruising is the perfect mode for solo travel. Not to mention it’s a great way to chill. Thanks for your informative story Irene. Look forward to meeting you in NYC. –MaryGo

  5. You’ve hit on many of the reasons people travel solo. We have several married women friends who travel without their spouses – often because the spouse is working, or would prefer to play golf rather than travel to Europe! Because riverships are so small and intimate, and because all activities are included, they’re perfect, as you say, for solo cruisers…

  6. We have grown to love river cruises as a couple, but can certainly see how they would also be great for solo travelers.

  7. Sue Reddel says:

    Couldn’t agree more! On our experience on a river cruise everyone traveling was anxious to meet other travelers so it’s easy to connect and make friends. One should not pass up the opportunity to go on a river cruise simply because they’re traveling alone.

  8. Carol Colborn says:

    Haven’t experienced a river cruise. My husband and I did not like the huge cruise ships on seas. I bet a river cruise is better, even for non-solo travelers. And may I add, even just a boat trip down the Bosphorus for pure sightseeing! I did this when I was away on business trips and wanted to get to know a city fast.

  9. Karen Warren says:

    I’ve done an ocean cruise and not particularly liked it, but it seems that river cruising would be much preferable, with smaller ships and more to see while you’re travelling. Perhaps I’ll try it some time.

  10. Nancie says:

    I’m a solo traveler by choice and do my own planning. I do use local tour companies when I want to see something that is difficult to get to alone. However, I would consider a river cruise. It looks like a pleasant way to see a few places in a limited amount of time. I’ve taken short river cruises when I’ve been in Europe, and they’re pleasant.

  11. Nathalie says:

    A river cruise sounds like a great solo trip, ummmm… I wonder what Tim would say…

  12. Wonderful resource. I have done European cruises as a couple but can envision it being great for solo travelers.

  13. Denis Gagnon says:

    You may wish to check but I believe that other companies like Tauck and AMAWaterways also do not charge single supplements. I am not sure as I always travel with my special someone! Thanks for a very interesting article!

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