I have not always been a solo cruiser. My very first cruise experience was with my family as we sailed on the original Queen Elizabeth from Southampton to Montreal when I was 8 years old. We were emigrating from England to Canada and the whole experience was an intense and wonderful adventure.

It was a rough Atlantic ocean crossing and I remember frantically trying to watch movies as the curtains flew wildly from side to side. Yes, curtains! We watched the Guns of Navarone at least 5 times. The tablecloths were made a little damp to stop the dishes from flying off! For a little girl, it was a dream adventure come true!

My first solo cruising experience was in my twenties when I travelled on a Russian cruise ship called the Ivernia. It was another rough Atlantic crossing, but I got my sea legs by following wise advice from the Russian crew. Eat dark bread they said. Since it was the only bread served on the ship, it was easy to comply. I’ve never been sea sick again!

Discovering the Magic of Solo Cruising

I did not discover pleasure cruising until I took an enchanting Mediterranean cruise with Holland America. Then I discovered the beauty of river cruising with Viking, sailing the amazing Rhine and then Danube.

A midnight sun Norway ocean cruise with Viking left me holding my breath at the spectacular Nordic vistas. Fred Olsen, my other cruise experiences took me to Northern Spain and then a family cruise on the magnificent Scottish Lochs.

As I reflect on my solo cruises, I realise how much more than a ‘sea voyage’ I experienced.  So, to inspire all the women who are thinking about what to pack, here are 5 things that I would suggest every traveller take on a solo cruise. Spoiler alert –  none of them can fit in a suitcase!

A Sense of Wonder

An open heart and mind are important things to take with you on a solo cruise. You will meet people along the way, but I love the intimacy of my own company. It matches the stillness of the sea. There is of course a magic of discovering new places.

In my opinion, the experience of discovery is more personal and emotional when you do it alone.  For me, cruising encourages you to bring your deepest sense of wonder. With that lens, you will marvel at the stunning simplicity and beauty of nature. All your senses will be amplified. You can be complete in beautiful solitude.

Spirit of Adventure

Cruising offers many spectacular opportunities to release your fears and challenge the hesitancy you can justify at home.  It is a safe environment to let go a bit and push those boundaries you have held on to throughout your life.

The structure of a cruise and the fabulous cruise director and their team encourage you to try new things and explore new places. So, pack your pirate hat for inspiration but more importantly include a sense of adventure!

Willingness to Let Go

Solo travellers are often cruising with a little extra baggage. They may not want to be alone. Their partner may not like to travel, or they may be regrouping after the loss of a husband or partner.

A cruise is actually a great venue to let go of any regrets and worries. The peace of the ocean, the almost seamless service and pampering provide the perfect environment for releasing stress.

Let anything in your life that is not serving you or make you happy drift away on the waves. Mother Nature can heal a broken heart.

Open to Kindness

Solo cruising gives you an empathy with other solo cruisers. You will often see someone sitting alone at a dining room table. Go join them. Give a stranger a hug.

This happened to me on a solo cruise and the woman who was a first-time solo cruiser just needed reassurance. She and I discovered we had a lot in common and have stayed in touch over the years. The intimacy of a simple kind act can touch deep places. Bring that openness to share and care and see what happens!

Childlike Innocence

The real world gives us very little opportunity to be truly silly. Cruising has absolutely no resemblance to this strange and serious world we normally live in. So, wear the crazy jewels, put flowers in your hair, sing out loud, wear that leopard skin hat! Dance like no one is watching. They are, but who cares!

If you are a solo cruiser the chances are that absolutely no one knows you. On one cruise however, I did bump into someone who I knew which was amazing! But for the most part you can explore the wide-eyed innocence of your inner child and experience life through fresh eyes.

So, add to these five things a positive and flexible attitude and you really do have everything you need to enjoy a fabulous solo cruise!

What do you think is the most important piece of advice you would give to someone considering a solo cruise?  What do you love most about solo cruising? Please join the conversation. 


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