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8 Things to Know for Singles Cruising During the Holidays

Wendy Helfenbaum
Marissa Wright

Last updated
Oct 19, 2023

Read time
7 min read

The holiday season is the perfect time to enjoy a cruise on your own. You can escape the cold weather, explore new cruise ports and, best of all, replace the stress of cooking and mandatory family-together time with the chance to relax and have fun. Solo cruising on the holidays is really an underappreciated treat.

Or, perhaps, you're looking for a warm and festive celebration but don't have family to share it with. Solo holiday cruises are an exciting and fulfilling way to get in the holiday spirit. Whether you're looking to book a Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year's cruise holiday for singles, here are eight things you should know.

1. Plan and Book Your Cruise for Solo Christmas Travel Early (and Other Holiday Dates)

Forget waiting to snag a last-minute cruise deal on your solo sailing. Holiday itineraries can sell out anywhere from four to nine months before the sail date, especially on newer ships heading to popular Caribbean ports.

Some lines, including Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Holland America and Cunard, offer solo cabins, but these also sell out quickly on holiday cruises. If you do decide to sail at the last minute, you might secure one of these compact cabins if there's been a cancellation, as long as you're flexible about ships and itineraries.

While it may be easier for singles to grab the last show ticket, kayak tour or go-kart spot, you might not want to leave that to chance (or face the long lines at the reservations desks once you board). Consider pre-booking dinner and show reservations in advance, too, along with shore excursions -- all of which get snatched up quickly by large groups.

2. Christmas Cruises for Singles and Other Holidays Are Typically More Expensive

Ornament at the Christmas market in Prague (Photo: Ekaterina Kondratova/
Ornament at the Christmas market in Prague (Photo: Ekaterina Kondratova/

Sailing dates that coincide with school holiday breaks tend to sell briskly and at top dollar, so cruise lines generally don't need to entice passengers with tantalizing promotions.

While solo travelers can sometimes find a promotion in the shoulder season that waives the single supplement, don't count on that happening on a New Year's cruise when ticket prices are soaring.

Plane tickets also creep up in price during the holiday season. The closer you get to your travel dates, the more expensive they will get. Solo travel on Christmas or other holidays will increase a standard cruise fare, along with fees like the single supplement. We recommend setting aside extra money so you can go all out on your holiday cruise.

3. Solo Holiday Cruises Are More Fun for Singles on Social Ships

Singles looking to have a festive time onboard a holiday cruise will enjoy ships that facilitate fun. For example, Carnival's Fun Ships are known for the many social events taking place day and night, including silly pool games and deck parties.

Many cruise lines host a Singles Welcome Aboard party on the first night, where solo passengers can meet and mingle and even make plans to join each other for dinner. These events are a great way to expand your social circle while finding camaraderie during solo travel on Christmas (and other holidays).

Singles can also take advantage of the classes offered by many cruise lines -- everything from cooking to fencing and photography. It's a great way to meet like-minded fellow passengers and pick up a few new skills along the way.

Wine and cocktail-tasting workshops are another good way to make friends. You can also request to be seated with other solo travelers in the cruise ship's dining areas.

4. There Will Likely Be Lots of Families and Kids on Your Solo Holiday Cruise

If you sail on a holiday cruise, be aware that singles won't be the only ones onboard. Families who don't want to pull their kids out of school have probably booked that sailing, too. Some of the popular mega-ships can host 1,400 children or teens at once.

Thankfully, most cruise lines offer many ways to escape the screaming, ice-cream-smeared faces of those little ones running wild on deck. Kids clubs are a great way to keep kids entertained and out of trouble. There are kid-free events and activities for single adults to enjoy onboard.

Splurge on a thermal spa pass for the week, park yourself on one of the adults-only sun decks or take your chances at the casino if you're yearning for a kid-free vacation. You might want to book later dining reservations, too, when most families are long gone. Cruise holidays for singles often include late nights at the best dance clubs or bars onboard, so don’t leave your dancing shoes at home.

5. Opt for Kid-Free Cruise Holidays for Singles by Booking an Adults-Only Cruise Line

More cruise lines are going adults-only, and this can be a great way to have an adult-focused cruise where you can meet other single travelers. Virgin Voyages is a perfect line for people who love to be out late, either at the onboard nightclub or at the special-themed Scarlet Night pool parties.

Conversely, singles seeking a more intellectual and calmer cruise should check out Viking's ocean-going ships, which are also adults-only. Spa time is key here, although you'll still find plenty of opportunities to meet other solo cruisers at enrichment lectures and on shore excursions.

If you’re interested in a single Christmas cruise but don’t want to put up with the loud nature of kids and families, an adults-only cruise is a great way to get in the holiday spirit.

6. Sample Special Menus and Enjoy Unique Holiday Activities With Other Solo Travelers

Craving a traditional holiday dinner like roast turkey, duck or goose with all the trimmings, but without all the shopping, chopping and cleanup? A holiday cruise is the perfect solution for singles.

Many cruise lines, especially those catering to solo Christmas travel, go all-out over Christmas with a seven-course extravaganza that includes Italian and Caribbean delicacies.

Regent Seven Seas doles out fancy foods and yummy snacks at its New Year's parties. In addition to festive decor -- think giant gingerbread villages and special effects, such as Princess Cruises' faux snowmaking machines that transform their atriums into winter wonderlands -- many ships organize lots of fun events ideal for singles.

Royal Caribbean's ugly sweater party is a fun place to mingle with others on a single Christmas cruise, while Celebrity sets up pop-up entertainment, holiday-themed shows at their theater and Christmas carolers.

7. River Cruises Have Great Holiday Options for Singles

From silent discos to morning yoga and paint-and-sip classes, river cruises are increasingly catering to fun-loving solo travelers. Smaller numbers of passengers onboard, coupled with communal dining and included tours, are conducive to socializing with other passengers.

River cruises may be pricey -- and few offer solo supplement deals during the busiest holiday sailings -- but solo travelers are more likely to feel included on more intimate ships. It’s easier to get to know fellow passengers when there are fewer guests on board.

More river cruise lines have also been adding rooms just for singles, no supplement required. Bear in mind that most lines just waive the single supplement fee, like Avalon Waterways, while some river cruise lines, like Tauck, don’t charge the fee for certain cabins (on European river cruises).

8. Consider Taking Hosted Solo Holiday Cruises

Several companies offer hosted Thanksgiving, New Year's and Christmas solo holiday cruises. For example, the SinglesCruise agency offers Caribbean sailings aboard various Carnival, Royal, Norwegian and Virgin ships for 100 to 400 passengers at a time. There is also a tab that shows you each cruise by age group, too.

Activities onboard these Christmas cruises for singles (and other fun holidays) include cocktail mixers and theme nights -- perfect for getting to know the other folks on your cruise -- along with optional roommate matching.

No matter which holiday singles cruise you choose, solo travel during Christmas doesn’t have to be lonely. Make sure you've got everything you need on your packing list, especially the willingness to try something new and fun.

Publish date September 15, 2022
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