Question of the Week: How can we get some alone time when traveling with friends on a cruise?

Trisha asks: 

  We are cruising with friends from home and are nervous about being so close together for a week. How can we have some private time away from each other? It's our first cruise and aren't sure what to expect.  


Trisha, Cruise ships are big enough and have enough activities that you won't have to spend every waking minute with your friends. You didn't mention if you're sharing a cabin. If you are, it makes it a bit more difficult to find some private time, but open communication and a little flexibility will go a long way toward making the arrangement work. If you're not sharing a cabin, there's no reason you have to see your friends any more than you both desire:  

It's fun traveling with friends, but you'll still want to plan some alone time

(photo courtesy Celebrity Cruises)


Here are some tips to get some alone time:


  1. Plan dinner in a specialty restaurant  one night near the middle of the cruise; don't tell your friends in advance, just let them know the day of or the day before that you won't be joining them for dinner that night


  2. When you do dine as a group, there's no need to spend the evening together. After dinner, go your own separate ways unless you all want to have a drink together or both intend to see the show


  3. Book an excursion or two together if you have shared interests, but otherwise make your own plans for touring ashore. If you each do something different, it gives you something to talk about over dinner!


4. If your ship offers an adults-only retreat, book into it for one of the sea days. You'll have some privacy and be able to relax in peace and quiet


It's so easy to make new friends on a cruise that you should allow yourself the opportunity to do so. Break free of your friends for at least a portion of each day... chances are, they want some alone time too!  


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3 Answers

Great advice Simon. Last cruise, there were 6 of us. We scheduled our dinners and meet-ups on the first day of the cruise, along with shore excursions and Happy hours.

I would strongly suggest that you get together in whatever way you can and have each of the group present the one thing they want to do or see. If you all like one of the venues go as a group. Pre planning makes a big difference. Good luck and have a lot of fun.

Great points. We cruised with 2 other couples and long before we set sail we had a frank and open discussion. It started with "You know we love you guys but..." Humour worked for us! And it opened the conversation because EVERYONE had similar concerns about getting on each others nerves. Basically we agreed we would "try" to meet for breakfast. Onshore it was each to their own even though we did get together for a couple of excursions that we all had wanted to do. (We had decided privately on activities and when we discussed our plans as a group we found we had some commonalities), And finally we met for dinner every evening. Because we spent our days apart it meant dinner was never a chore because we all had adventures and experiences to share so dinner was a real riot hearing everyone's stories from the day. That meant that on sea days we were able to enjoy the ship as a group and did not feel compelled to hide from one another.

We usually travel with others. Talking ahead of time avoids hurt feelings. Mostly we dine together but arrange to book shore excursions separately. We are pool people and walkers so we let our companions know where we are during the day. If we all agree on certain activities during the day, we agree to meet there. We keep in touch over the phone leaving messages. Doing different things gives us things to discuss when we reconnect. Even my husband & I do different things. I like to shop & he hates it. He'll play miniature golf while I shop. Communication is the key. We try to travel with people who are independent and have their own ideas on how to entertain themselves. I really don't want to travel with people who let me decide everything and just go along with my plans.


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