Meeting people on a cruise and making friends

Cruise ships are notoriously vast, with some of the world’s largest holding more than 6,000 guests. That’s not to mention a maze of entertainment and dining venues, plus a huge selection of spacious cabins. Meeting someone on a cruise and making friends amid all the excitement can be a little intimidating, especially when you’re onboard giants like Harmony of the Seas or Queen Mary 2.

But whether you’re travelling solo or just looking to break away from your group for a few hours, there are tonnes of cruise activities that were made for fostering new friendships. To get you ready for your next greatest cruise adventure, here are a few tips on ways to make friends on a cruise ship.

BEFORE YOU GO – choose the right cruise and ship for you

While this idea might be a no brainer for most, it’s important to make sure that your cruise ship meets your needs. If you’re cruising solo and opt for a family cruise ship, meeting new people could be a little more challenging as you and your fellow cruisers might not have the same priorities.

If you’re specifically looking for a cruise with other singles, ships like Norwegian Epic have single studio cabins that join one another and a lounge exclusively for studio guests. Similarly, you can choose ships that offer activities you know you’ll want to partake in. We know you can’t exactly plan to make friends while on holiday, but you can, at the very least, set yourself up with a full deck.

Join activities and shore excursions

There’s no better way to make friends onboard a cruise than by joining activities both on the ship and off. Cruise lines offer a host of activities onboard, ranging from the expected – spa treatments and play areas for kids – to unusual options like cooking classes with Oceania Cruises or Cunard’s acting classes. Joining activities like these are a guaranteed way to meet cruisers with similar interests – you’ve already got one thing in common!

The same goes for offshore excursions. From hiking across local landscapes to sightseeing tours in the city, wine tasting experiences to archaeological investigations, the majority of cruise lines run shore excursions at each port of call. Booking shore excursions on your cruise holiday will allow you to take advantage of organised activities with experts, while at the same time enabling you to meet other guests who share similar interests.

Eat dinner in the dining room

Dining is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the cruising experience, not least because it provides the opportunity to enjoy a social evening. The traditional approach to dining on your cruise ship – especially at dinner – is to dine in the dining room, where you’ll have a set table at a set time each night. This means you’ll be dining with the same guests every day, ensuring that you get to know them well.

If you do opt for a more flexible approach, you can still use this opportunity for meeting someone on a cruise. If you’ve met someone at an activity during the day, arrange a set time to meet in the dining area. Or, if you arrive alone and see someone else sitting by themselves, ask if you can join them. Odds are, they’ll probably appreciate the company.

Opt for social settings

If you’re hoping to meet some new people on your cruise, you can make it easier on yourself by heading to settings in which socialising is the main game.

Great spots to start are in your ship’s bar and lounge, while many cruises will offer events and activities specifically geared toward getting single cruisers talking to one another. This could range from anything to a single traveller’s lunch to a meet and greet at the bar. These situations are particularly great for meeting new people, as everyone there is presumably going in with the same intentions.

Strike up a conversation

You’ll be spending several hours a day onboard your ship, whether you choose to take a short mini cruise or an epic fortnight-long adventure. Either way, you’ll find that many passengers are looking to meet others, too.

Our best tip is the most obvious one – don’t be shy. If you’re lounging by the pool, strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you. If you see your cabin neighbours in the corridor, say hello each morning. Being friendly doesn’t cost a thing, and will almost certainly go a long way in the friend-making business.

Above all, it’s best to remember to just be confident and put yourself out there. Cruises are meant to be adventures, albeit incredibly relaxing ones. Take a look at our full list of cruise lines to discover the perfect itinerary for you.

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