Here is a success story to celebrate.
About three years ago Jill Ashman Shackleton joined me on one of my first hosted cruises from Singapore to Bali. We all had so much fun and when I announced that Jack and I would be hosting on Seabourn from Athens to Istanbul and back around the Greek Islands Jill was desperate to come along.
But being an expensive six-star cruise she could only do so if she was able to find a cabin mate.
We turned to social media and Toni Mason popped up. They spoke on the phone a few times, and I believe met up once.
Short of the long, we all had an absolutely sensational cruise around the sublime Islands of Greece, including those featured in Mamma Mia and Shirley Valentine. They have become lifelong friends and catch up on a regular basis.
The moral of this story is that sharing a cabin with the right person, cannot merely be bearable, it can be, it should be, tremendous fun and add to the enjoyment of your cruise, not detract from it.
Join our Six Star Solo Facebook group for tips, advice, and great solo deals.
Solo Travelers. (And tips for sharing - not scaring - with strangers)
As there is huge demand for singles wanting to find great deals without the dreaded single supplements I intend to be more proactive in sourcing deals for singles from all main operators and tagging them here with #solocruisedeals
I will also be setting up a separate auxiliary group where you will be able to network and potentially even find someone to jump on the same cruise with in separate cabins. Or potentially even find someone you are prepared to share a cabin with.
I also understand that there are many other people who might be married or in relationships where their spouse has no interest in cruising, or perhaps can't get away from work. I want those people to be included as well.
Additionally, I know that the last thing most single people want is a Tinder on Sea situation. They want to cruise. Not to pick up. So we need a name to reflect that ethos. I was thinking along the lines of Solo Sailers. Six Star Cruisers. Any ideas?
Thinking about there are probably others who would like a Tinder on Sea. Maybe I should explore that separately... Let me know. The gays have been doing this for years in huge numbers with the extremely popular Atlantas Charters.
Jill Ashman Shackleton and I are currently sharing a cabin together - having never done so together before - and we thought other singles might be interested in some ground rules we established before we boarded. And other tips and tricks we have discovered since boarding.
First up the most important thing is to work out in your own mind your pet peeves and deal breakers.
It could be things like ...
Clothing or towels dropped on the floor
Loud music or watching TV when the other might have planned a nap
Phone calls at odd hours
Coming back to sleep and finding a movie has just started. Or the reverse just starting a movie and someone returns who doesn't want to watch it.
What ever. It's best to be clear about what would get on your nerves.
Once you've got that all sorted, make the time to call or meet up and go over each other's list so that there are no surprises.
We are fortunate on this cruise that it is an all-suite ship so we have a separate sitting area divided by a very heavy curtain. We have rearranged the furniture to effectively make two bedrooms.
Cabins on board ships all have very good soundproofing so you almost never hear noise from other rooms. And when the curtain is pulled across we have been surprised how little noise we have heard from each other.
The biggest deal breakers for us involved the bathroom. Eg not flushing or walking into unpleasant odors.
Toni Mason who shared with Jill on our Greek Island cruise came up with a BRILLIANT solution. It is called V.I.Poo
A little spray bottle you spray into the bowl before you use it. And again after if you wish. End result zero smells.
We also turn the music up if one of us needs to be a bit more vocal.
We have also taken one side of the bathroom each. Again is easier in a suite with a double basin. But regardless just allocate space and cupboards evenly.
We decided from day 1 on which hooks we would hand towels and bathrobes.
Again in the cabin, we have divided up cupboards, power points, shelves, and desk space.
Having the discussion of deal breakers before we got on board I am sure has made us both more attuned to being extra tidy than we might be with our family or partners. The end result had lead to a carefree and fun experience.
And as for the example of watching a movie. The simple solution for things like that might be to say, hey I'm thinking of watching a movie tonight. Or I am really going to need an early night.
Communication is key. It will head off most issues before they become problematic.
Jill and I decided to check in every few days to see how we were both feeling. So far all smooth sailing.
Funny things come up that you may not think about. Most guys would give no thought to sharing a bar of soap. Whereas when we talked about Jill thinks many women might get creeped out. I had never thought of that. But laughing over it we decided to make use of two different bars of soap in the shower.
It's a little crazy things like that which I'm going to add to a template for solo travelers.
Another bathroom hack.
If you're out an about consider using a public bathroom instead of making use if the cabin. All of that shows a consideration that is appreciated.
I will keep updating new tips here as others suggest below.
What are your tips for sharing?
Or your horror stories but only if you can share without identifying anyone.
NB I have someone looking to share their cabin on my Croatian charter 14 May. Dubrovnik to Split. Only 36 pax boat. Let me know if you are interested.
A note about pricing.
Our prices, like most online retailers, including VTG, are not live, only indicative.
We do everything possible to ensure pricing is accurate when they are uploaded every Sunday.
However, pricing in the cruise industry is no different from airfares. Prices can go up and down based on availability and can change, or indeed sell out, in the time it takes you to refresh your screen.
When you request a quote we have to get into the reservation system of the cruise line and verify current-day pricing, which can be different from prices on our website. Pricing in the industry is all communicated electronically and this can lead to corrupted data and errors which we may not pick up until we ask for a specific quote.
Until we place a firm hold on a cabin, prices can never be guaranteed. Failure to pay deposits by the set deadlines will void any quoted prices.