What a Cruise ! I am only 24 hours home and I want to go again !.
To start from the begining this was my first holiday alone and my first cruise so it was a daunting experience even to make the decision to book. I'm in my late 30's and was fed up depending on family and married friends to fit me in to their schedules so I studied the single solo holiday market and read about Epic Studio Cabins and what they had to offer... I went for it and prepared for a week of solitude as I headed off to Barcelona. I must admit I was extremely worried I had made a mistake and was all geared up to spend my time alone at the bar explaining myself - how wrong I was. I read a lot of comment about Epic solo cabins(good and bad) and had prepared myself for the worst just in case. The reality is the cruise, the ship, the rooms, the people, the food, the staff are down to individual taste and standards. My standards are high and looking back on it now some of the negative comments I read about Epic Solo are really very minor issues when you take the overall experience into account.
As regards the Ship itself it is huge and there are plenty of entertainment and dining options which other travellers will tell you about. I want to concentrate on the solo experience so here goes...
My cabin was perfect. I read complaints about the size of the cabins but for me they were absolutely sufficient for a solo organised tidy traveller. I read hairdryers were not included - they are now. I read complaints about the storage - for me there was plenty. I read that light came in from the hallway and under the doors - I didnt notice this. Overall the cabins were fantastic and the beds very comfortable perfectly suitable for 1 (but not two in a studio).
I attended the solo meeting the first day which is a vital link in the chain of events which led to my fantastic experience. The meeting happens at 6pm each evening and is the first opportunity to meet other fellow travellers who feel like you do. Its not pushy - some people opted in while others opted out. Those who did opt in were not dissapointed. I met a wonderful group of about 10 fantastic solos with an array of different backgrounds and ages the first evening. After a couple of drinks we bonded really well and from thereon we shared many experiences throughout the week. Being there the first night was very important as this is when the core group really got together. Through some easy planning and use of the notice board we dined together in various groups, took day trips together, went clubbing together (every night for some (me !!), sun bathed together and just had lots of fun. We were aged between 30 and 70, some widows, some widowers, some divorced, some single... all shapes and sizes but with one strong link between us - the decision to travel alone and make an effort to mix. There were no love stories but definite friendships started. We had such a great week as a bunch of fellow travellers some of us have now decided to book another solo cruise together to the Caribbean next February. If I were to give you any piece of advice it is to make a very big effort the first two evenings to get involved in the solo meeting and ask those present if they would like to go to dinner - we generally went to Taste restaurant as it was included with good service and easy to organise. We split any wine or drinks on equally onto our cards and the staff were very accommodating in doing this. If you decide not to join the solo meetings I think it would be difficult in such a large ship to meet others who are travelling alone. There were 4,700 approx on board and many many couples and families. From 150 solo cabins there were only 10 people who really got involved in the solo " experience" and this is key if you wish to meet others and enjoy the week.
I could keep going but wanted to share the positive experience I had. You will read plenty from others about embarkation, food, ports etc but there is less information on how the solo traveller gets by so I hope I have added some insight to this.