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
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.
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
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.