On my voyages I meet many women (and some men) who travel alone. On our latest cruise on the “Norwegian Jewel” from Honolulu to Sydney I met a lively, small Argentinian woman in her early 50s, Claudia. On the first day, during a conversation with Claudia, I learned that this was her tenth cruise by herself since taking an early retirement. Claudia had become an expert in finding inexpensive flight and cruise ship tickets. She was also quite adept at planning her land travels in between the cruises.
For her first cruise, Claudia flew from Buenos Aires to Kiel in Germany in July 2016. It was a two-week journey with the “Costa Cruises”. On that cruise she visited some ports in the Baltic countries. A two-day stop in St. Petersburg followed by stops in Finland and Sweden before the cruise ended in Kiel. Before returning to Buenos Aires she took time to visit her eldest son and daughter-in-law in Paris, where these were house- and dog-sitting.
The second cruise followed in September the same year: from Italy to Mauritius. After that she went cruising in Asia and in between cruises visited her home country and her four children. The children are of course grownups and no longer dependent on their mother. The father died in an accident six years ago. And in the same fall Claudia had been diagnosed with an eye disease and had to retire from her employment.
Fortunately Claudia has a natural inclination for healthy living that facilitates her frequent travelling on a retirement income. She does not gamble, smoke, drink alcohol or indulge in shopping sprees. This results in big savings for her because these habits are expensive onboard. Just a single drink on a cruise ships costs typically over 10 dollars.
Instead Claudia, just like I, enjoys the daily dancing lessons. This week we have been learning line dance, groovy, show dance, cha-cha-cha and many other forms of dancing together. She also enjoys the daily trivia competitions, where people from different countries form groups of up to six persons who compete against each other. On this ship the largest group, about one thousand, is from the US, while the second largest group, about 400 persons, is from Australia, and the third largest group is from Canada. This was not surprising since the ship started in Vancouver and was heading to Sydney…
How does Claudia find inexpensive cruises? Typically by waiting until the last few days before the cruise starts. Cruise lines tend to lower their prices until departure if they have vacant staterooms. And in that situation some of them give big discounts, to solo travelers too. Claudia has also found out that the same cruise may have very different prices depending on which service provider is used. Therefore it pays to check prices on various websites.
Claudia’s best advice to women who want to start travelling alone is always to plan one step ahead. In that way you will look confident wherever you are heading.