You have wanted to go on a cruise for ages. Now you are getting serious about it. At a dinner last night, you heard someone say, “Silversea.” Silversea Cruises. Just the sound ‘sea’ made your heart race. You are ready to take that first cruise. But where do you start?

 “An Idea without a Plan is Just a Wish” – Saint-Exupery

The first thing to do is develop a plan. Ask yourself, “What kind of person am I? What do I want to accomplish on my first cruise?” Some quiet time will help get you started.

You may answer that you are shy but like to make friends. You might want a cruise where there are no kids. Perhaps you want to be pampered and surrounded by luxury. Maybe you want a small ship with fewer guests, so you don’t feel crowded and overwhelmed. Once you’ve defined your style and passions, step two is to Google! Here are some options to explore that I have researched, and which look compelling!

Bask in the Luxury of Silversea Cruises

Silversea Cruises is one of my top choices. It has a great track record, and a wide selection of destinations of over 800 destinations to all seven continents. Small ships are good for first time solo travelers. You can stay in your cabin, finish that novel or enjoy room service meals. Or you can walk around the ship, meet other solo travelers and perhaps make some new friends.

I like the fact the cost is all-inclusive. Just one swipe of my credit card and it’s done. No thinking about costs, you can focus on enjoying the experience instead. All-inclusive includes room service, delicious food and drinks, luxurious cabins and public spaces, and transportation at ports of call.

First time cruisers will feel at ease and enjoy mixing with other passengers, especially with the programs that are offered on the Silversea cruise ships.

Mingle with Other Mature Travelers on Holland America

Holland America is another viable choice. A midsize cruise line, it is elegant like Silversea. It has traditionally been popular with the mature crowd. Instead of glitz and partying, it focuses more on a classic cruise experience. The cruise ship offers solo cabins with a twin bed and an ocean view. A solo cabin can be important to a first-time cruiser.

Onboard activities are geared towards mature passengers and don’t require a partner. Tai chi and yoga sound good to me. A Culinary Arts Center with demos and hands-on workshop also sounds like the kind of activity a solo cruiser might enjoy. These can be solitary experiences or a chance to meet people.

Some of the programs on Holland America cruises include wine tasting and cooking workshops. The cruise line also offers an event called, “Single Partners Program,” available on most voyages. There are also games and cocktail mixers offered on board to solo travelers.

Take a Tranquil River Cruise on Viking Herja

If, as a first-time cruiser, you are overwhelmed by 19 story cruise ships, don’t despair! I picked Viking Herja mostly because of its size. Its list of destinations is not extensive. But if this is your first solo cruise, then floating on peaceful European rivers is perfect for you.

The ship’s atmosphere is relaxed and casual. Cabins are arranged so that you can sit on your private balcony and watch the unforgettable landscapes slowly pass by. The Viking Herja stops at a different city every day. Because of its size, the ship often docks in the city center: walk off the ship and explore!

I have cruised with Viking on its ocean and river cruises but for first time cruisers would highly recommend the river experiences as a place to start.

Perfect Cruises on the West Coast of the US

For peaceful and relaxing cruises, small cruise ships seem to be the best for first time cruisers. They are not daunting like the huge cruise ships, and they lend themselves to meeting new friends. There are several small cruise ships that embark from the West Coast. Here are a few examples.

Wilderness Discoverer: Sails from Seattle: 7 nights; 76 passengers; each room has a sea view. Itinerary includes important sights in the Pacific Northwest.

National Geographic Sea Bird or Sea Lion: Sail from La Paz, CA; 5 to 15 days depending on tour choice; 62 passengers. Itinerary Baja peninsula and the Sea of Cortez.

UnCruise Adventures’ cruise ship, Variety: Sails from Seattle; 12 days; 80 passengers; sails through Canada’s and Alaska’s inside passages with lots of wildlife sightings.

Pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable first time cruise experience that might turn into a regular tradition!

Here are some additional resources  for first time cruisers from some of our favorite cruise sites.

Cruise Critic: 14 Best Cruises for First Time U.K. Cruisers

Cruise Critic: Top 10 Cruise Lines for Solo Cruisers

Cruise Line: 7 Best Ships for First Time Cruisers

If you are planning your first cruise, what lines are you considering? If you love cruising already, what are the things you enjoyed most about your first cruise? Were you happy enough with that cruise line to use it for your next voyage?





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