I was one of the youngest guests on a luxury cruise
- In October, I was my first solo trip on the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship from Cunard.
- I was able to meet two 70-year-old passengers who have become my self-proclaimed âPassenger of the Yearâ âsurrogate grandmothersâ.
- The experience is highly recommended for solo travelers, especially women.
“Are your mother and father here?” A waiter asked me after having dinner alone on the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship from Cunard in October.
It was the last day of the luxury cruise line’s five-night trip to Western Europe. Wasn’t surprised by the question – I’m 25, although I’ve been told I look younger – and I was one of the youngest solo passengers on board. . The Cunard press team later informed me that the average age of their guests was 61.
Even though my parents weren’t with me, I had my self-proclaimed parents. “Surrogate grandmothers” Janet Russell (70) and Celia Steele (78), my new friends, who were on their way to meet me for breakfast.
Russell and Steele met me at a solo traveler meetup that Cunard’s animation team hosted on day one. They had known each other from their previous trip to Cunard in January 2020. They were delighted to welcome a new member of their group to their reunion cruise.
I recommend this experience to solo travelers, especially women.
Russell and Steele became my friends and we spent a lot of time together on the ship, as well as in the port of Amsterdam.
We signed up for the same city walking tour together. It was a good thing, because we didn’t know each other. She asked if they were together when the guide began to divide people into different walking groups. They said yes without hesitation, even though they had only met me a day earlier.
Russell laughed after the visit and said other tourists thought I was on vacation with my grandmothers. She called Steele herself and herself her “ma”. “Surrogate grandmothers” is what I found charming.
It was a surprise to me to have formed such a strong bond so early in the cruise. It made me feel safer than if I had just explored Amsterdam on my own.
âEven if you travel alone, you don’t necessarily feel alone,â Sally Sagoe was Cunard’s director of entertainment. âI am delighted that we have a solo traveler program as it would be one of the few vacations you could have as a solo traveler and immediately feel at home.â
Sagoe said the cruise ship provides a safe environment for solo travelers. “especially for women” She said people who talk to strangers on board are more comfortable than those who meet them in hotels or bars ashore.
It wasn’t just the safety that was worth it
Philly, who was another guest, shared her experience on board with me. She said she was recommended by her travel agent to go on a cruise following a divorce twenty years ago. She said her travel agent advised her to go on a cruise because it’s safer for single women and more social. âBecause no one wants to be alone at dinner. “
My trip was not crowded with lone travelers, but there were.
My travel companions noticed this and asked me why I had not chosen another cruise company aimed at the younger ones. Some of the cruise lines recommended to me included Carnival Cruises in the US and P&O Cruises in the UK.
It was rewarding spending time with guests older than me, even though they had different experiences.
My new friends Russell and I shared stories about the places we had visited and the people we had met. Their most recent travelogue was from the January 2020 cruise where they met.
The women claimed to have met at an event for solo travelers on Cunard’s Queen Mary ship. However, they found out that they had been together halfway through the trip. âTriggeredâ Due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The ship was believed to have been in Australia for two weeks so the virus could be controlled. Passengers were not allowed to board the ship until the virus was cleared. They returned home by plane.
âYou have to remember that no one was wearing masks at the time,â Steele expressed concern about the situation at the airport. âAnd by the time we got home, the supermarkets were empty. It was really scary.
Because both women are in their 70s, they are more likely to contract cancer. COVID-19 can make you seriously ill My score was much higher. It was inspiring to see that they returned to the cruise after their trip to Australia.
The two women reminded me of the importance of traveling when I was young after this conversation. But I found myself hoping for something more – that, like Russell and Steele, I still travel and make new friends when I’m 70.