Meeting like-minded people and making new friends is easy for solo travellers to do on a cruise ship. Here are the best restaurants and public areas in which to do just that

Your solo cruise is booked, you’ve met a few fellow cruisers ahead of time via a ‘roll call’ thread online, and the gangway is in view. Now let’s meet some like-minded people on board.

Where do you go to make new friends on your solo cruise? Here’s a checklist.

  1. The first evening is THE night to stop by the piano bar. While it might seem a bit ‘tired’, this is still a great place to enjoy a cocktail, see some new faces, and find out who’s on board. Solo travellers are known to gather here early in the voyage, so join the informal meet and greet.
  2. Check your daily bulletin (announcements you can access from your cabin) to find the roll call get together. All ships have these for everyone to get acquainted during the first couple of days at sea. There’s usually a complimentary adult beverage provided.
  3. Another popular activity for solo travellers that involves several onboard locations is the ‘pub crawl’. It’s a bit like bar hopping, but with a group of new friends. You might also have the chance to meet for a singles’ informal cocktail hour at different locations around the ship.
  4. Many solo cruises today come with private access to a singles’ lounge area of some type. You can use your key card, and join other solos for drinks, games, TV, or just relaxing in a common room.
  5. Cruise lines offer the solo traveller a lot of flexibility for dining. If you choose RCL’s My Time Dining, Carnival’s Your Time Dining, or the other cruise line options, then you could be eating alone. The solution? Ask the maître d’ for reservations at the ‘singles table’ during regular hours in the main dining rooms. This will put you at a large table with meal companions who are also travelling alone.
  6. If you would like to meet other cruisers with similar activity interests, sign up for some classes or workshops. This can be a fantastic way to make friends. Every cruise line has a wide variety of opportunities to gather together and learn something new. Wine tasting. Cooking. Languages. Local culture. Art. Finance. Photography. You can even take acting classes (with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) and stargaze (with the Royal Astronomical Society) on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2.
  7. The final suggestion for the best places to make new friends on your solo cruise is to attend those goofy ship’s competitions. Think karaoke, trivia, swimming, dancing, and other activities that require you to let your hair down and simply have fun. All ships have these; you can find them listed on your daily bulletins.

Ultimately, however, the best way to meet like-minded people on your cruise is to choose a themed voyage. Do you love fitness? Food? Wine? Classical music (yes, there’s a cruise for that)? Want to meet and interact with local cultures? Booking a cruise based on your interests will guarantee that you have a lot in common with almost everyone on board, making those getting-to-know-you moments as smooth as a clear and calm day at sea.