When Robyne Armstrong’s marriage broke down, she decided to start holidaying by herself.
It was her first foray into solo cruising and since then, she has done six voyages on her own.
The vivacious and glamorous spa owner from Sydney has had good and bad experiences on her solo cruises – and even a marriage proposal.
Her tip – put yourself out there and be friendly, it’s as simple as it sounds.
“I never felt uncomfortable when I went on my first solo cruise. I used to run a big spa business and love to talk to anyone and everyone. I am always networking.
“You just have to get out there, get out of your comfort zone and engage with people. I also look amazing as I love to dress up and wear beautiful clothes,” she says.
Another key point she makes, is to get a bit dolled up to stand out as a solo cruiser.
“You can’t be a frump and expect other people to take notice of you.
“When I am at the bar on a cruise ship, I just introduce myself to new people and start chatting. You have to learn to engage with other people – and people love to talk about themselves,” she says.
The spa owner, though, also has had her own fair share of awkward stories and she says not every solo cruise is going to be a fairytale.
Last Christmas when she was sailing on Holland America’s Maasdam, Ms Armstrong, dressed to the nines, arrived at the main dining room for Christmas eve dinner.
She was led to a large table of eight and was sat down. She waited – and waited. But no one was seated with her and she was forced to dine alone.
“The ship was so disorganised, and it was just shocking that I was seated on a table for eight all by myself on Christmas Eve. There I was all dressed up and eating by myself. Never, ever again, will I go on that ship again.”
She is now planning to go on her next solo cruise on the Sun Princess to South Pacific, combining her holiday with a Ghan train experience.
Ms Armstrong, who is a grandmother, has met some wonderful people on her solo cruises including a charming 93-year-old man.
However, she has one major complaint – the single supplement for solo cruisers is “wrong” and too expensive.
“As a single passenger, I pay almost double the price for a cabin and it is wrong. Lines should make prices more competitive for solo travellers.”