A man standing next to a body of water

A solo traveler's guide to making friends on a cruise

Cruises are an ideal vacation option, both for traveling alone and for finding various opportunities to make connections with fellow passengers.

One of the best parts about traveling solo is that you get to decide what you want to do and when you want to do it, in effect creating your own personalized vacation that's exactly how you want it to be. However, that doesn't mean you have to explore by yourself the entire time. In fact, making friends while traveling is an amazing way to share the exciting and unfamiliar experiences with someone else - someone who's taking part in those same adventures. Who knows? You could even find yourself with a lifelong friend. 

Cruises are an ideal vacation option, both for traveling alone and for finding various opportunities to make connections with fellow passengers. Here's a guide for making friends on your next cruise trip:

Don't be shy

Although it may seem like a tip straight out of a kindergartner's guide to making friends, letting go of your shyness is crucial when making connections while traveling alone. You can't be afraid to strike up a conversation or ask to join in on a discussion between other travelers. The great part about finding friends on a cruise is that everyone on the boat is already open to new experiences - it's unlikely you'll discover someone who doesn't want to talk you. 

Find other solo passengers

Cruise travel attracts a wide array of people, from families to couples to fellow solo travelers like yourself. If you spot someone who seems to be traveling alone, see if you can start a conversation. Like you, they'll probably be interested in finding a companion to spend a little time with during the trip.

Make friends while dining

Between dinner each evening and the more casual snacks and drinks offered in cruise ship cafeterias, there are always plenty of opportunities to meet other travelers while dining on your trip. On Hurtigruten cruises, the seasonal menus and delicious meals made from fresh local ingredients also provide passengers with some interesting conversation-starters. Plus, who doesn't love to talk about food? 

Visit lounge areas

On most ships, there are also often small bars or cafes where people can go to relax with a drink or a cup of coffee. These provide the perfect relaxed and intimate atmosphere to start a conversation with other passengers. 

Plan excursions at each port

There are likely some ports along your voyage that you'll want to explore by yourself, but it may be worth it to check out some planned excursion options you could take part in. Many ports on Hurtigruten voyages offer guided tours, group hikes and even dog-sledding that cruise passengers can sign up for. This is an excellent opportunity to meet other passengers, especially because you'll probably be in a group of people with similar interests. Or, if you meet a traveler on the ship, invite him or her to go on an excursion with you. 

When you're traveling solo, you by no means should feel like you have to make friends. However, cruises present many opportunities to make connections, so don't feel pressured to spend the entire trip alone, either.