River Cruising – the perfect holiday if you’re thinking of travelling alone.

My solo river cruise experience…

Several fellow passengers commented that I was very brave to be travelling alone, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and saw it as a great opportunity and a privilege. I felt comfortable and at ease.

One of the lovely things about travelling solo on a river cruise is that you immediately have something in common with your fellow passengers. Shared experiences give so many opportunities for interesting conversations and making new friends.

Making friends

Exploring and sharing experiences

The excursions provided a great way to explore, and the guides on my trips on the Douro and the Seine were outstanding. I think the limited numbers of guests on each cruise, means the excursions really are a shared experience, which is great when you’re travelling on your own.

I vividly remember sharing the experience of trying to describe the subtle fruity flavours during a wine tasting on the Douro and agreeing with my fellow shipmates that the accompanying fresh Portuguese bread, with its intoxicating aroma, was indescribably delicious.

I also enjoyed plenty of time on my own. The strange thing with a river cruise is however much time you spend on your own, you never seem to feel alone.

Sometimes I sat on deck or on my balcony watching the world go by. Those peaceful times were an opportunity to reflect and enjoy the solitude. On warmer evenings, I walked round the deck enjoying the night sky but still feeling perfectly safe.

For some meals, I chose to dine alone and for others I enjoyed varied and interesting company. On a couple of occasions, I chose room service – in the same way as I would in a hotel. The difference (when sailing) was having that incredible ever-changing view.

When I wanted to socialise, I would go to the bar before dinner and get talking to other guests who then invited me to join them for dinner. Meeting people is one of the things that I enjoy most about travelling solo and the intimacy of a river cruise, means it’s much easier to chat and get to know other guests.

Making new friends

I met a lovely couple from Dallas. They loved my accent and my travel stories and I found it really interesting to hear about their business and their family and how they think nothing of a 6 hour round trip to see their daughter.

I also met another solo traveller who had travelled extensively and said that the best thing about her experiences was the opportunity to chat to so many different people. She told me that her friends don’t like to travel but she has not let that hold her back and has had some amazing experiences.

She said she would highly recommend a solo river cruise to anyone new to travelling on their own because it’s so easy to meet people. To her, whole experience feels inclusive and safe as well as providing the opportunity to explore new places.

The staff were great and took the time to chat to me to make sure I had everything I needed. I couldn’t fault their kindness and professionalism. I actually made friends with two of the cruise directors, and we shared several meals together and have kept in touch since.

The additional cost of paying for a stateroom for yourself can be a consideration but I can usually find reduced solo supplement offers, so it’s always worth asking me.

Relaxing on deck with a cup of tea


If you’re thinking stepping out alone, I would definitely recommend a river cruise. It’s a great gentle introduction to the joys of solo travelling.

If you’re content with your own company but also happy to socialise, you’ll have a great time. Embrace the opportunity to meet staff, passengers and locals and to listen to their stories.

I can’t wait for my next adventure.

Jenny Cookman