Unfortunately with a group visa in Russia, you have to stick with the group. That is the downside of the escorted group tours – you end up going at the speed of the group and having to listen to a commentary that may not cover the things you are interested in. They also take you to “all the gold and glitter in the palaces” as that is what the average punter wants and expects to see. They don’t want to see the other side of what life is like for ‘normal’ people.
I’ve not been to St Petersburg but have been to many of the Golden Ring towns as well as Irkutsk in Siberia. The difference between the haves and the have nots wasn’t so great but we were aware of many babushkas who were living in poor conditions. The people were all remarkably cheerful and all very friendly though, but maybe things have changed in that time.
St Petersburg. Went on a Baltic cruise Didn’t travel alone but went ashore in a group due to group visa control. I went to see specific places and found it very difficult to stay with the group in the escorted trips because of the pressure of people. in fact I disliked the difference between what you could see of the normal life there, and all the gold and glitter in the palaces. The tenements that looked deserted until you saw the plant in the window or someone leaving the building. The latest cars and others rusting away, even windscreen wipers rusted on. The grim ands tight- lipped people checking passports. Even the local guide.
I have seen the poor life elsewhere but nowhere have I felt so uncomfortable and unwelcome, very oppressive.
I was so disappointed . I will not be going there again.
I usually travel with a friend but we often go ashore separately and will do different excursions. If you travel with saga they do have singles meetings, and will also introduce you to another who maybe going ashore alone and would like to join you.
saga isn’t all old people , you have to be 50, and you do get some younger people travelling with a relative. in fact I have found that there are many active older people who use Saga In Norway a large number may set off to climb to the top of Pulpit Rock, or trek off for the day.
I also had to “take the bull by the horns” and started with a cruise and stay to the Med with Thompsons Celebration. That was just over 3 years ago and I have just come back from my 8th cruise. For all but one (when I was fortunate enough to take one of my sons with me) I have travelled alone. But I have made friends on practically every one of them, people I am still in touch with.
Fred Olsen are very good, indeed, and there is a nice friendly atmosphere but, as you are about the same age as me, you may often find your fellow passengers a good bit older than you (I often felt “20 years too young”). So, as somebody said, you may prefer the biggish ships such as P&O’s Azura and Ventura where they organise, not only a coffee morning for solo travellers, but also set out a table for afternoon tea for solos. And they also put you on a singles’ table that you can be removed from if you so wish.
You’ll soon get to know enough people at least to go to activities, shows or excursions for the duration of the cruise.
I won a competition a few years ago and decided to be brave and go on a cruise and stay holiday on my own. I was nervous at first,but made friends with a twin brother and sister on the plane to Cyprus who were going on the same cruise. I’ve never looked back. We meet up every 3 months or so and after 4 and a half years I am so glad I took the bull by the horns and went on that cruise and stay holiday. I’m 63, by the way xx
For a solo traveller I would without any hesitation recommend Fred Olsen. I travelled with them last year as a solo traveller and they certainly go the extra mile to make sure there are solo meets, dining and excursions together if you so wish. NCL also have great facilities for solo passengers even to the extent of having their own areas if they so wish. Saga are another company that are good for the solo traveller. If you travel on a ship and nothing is shown relating to solo travellers speak with the Cruise Director or one of their staff who organises all the activities and meets for solos and who will also take care of any dining arrangements for you. Here is a link to an article that you may find interesting: http://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/cruise/155106-review-boudicca
This may also be of interest: http://media.fredolsencruises.com/pressreleases/special-offers-for-solo-travellers-in-2016-17-with-fred-olsen-cruise-lines-1330296
I to am a 75 year old widow who started cruising some 9 years ago now, have done about six. Went to St. Petersburg if I remember it was on the Adonia with P & O, its a small ship compared to some of their fleet, my advice would be to go for the med. size ships are there is coffee morning meets for singles and usually you will find some one to talk to. I have not been on Fred Olsen but have been told by a widowed lady friend that the ships are very clicky and a lot older than me. Looking forward to my Christmas trip on the P&O Oceana.
Hi @Lorraine, I have done quite a few solo cruises and found everyone to be very friendly and welcoming. There are generally quite a few single people on every cruise and often the ship organises a ‘get-together’ for people travelling on their own, and the Maitre’ D usually seats single people together at dinner. Cruise Critic do a Roll Call of people who are booked on specific cruises, and I always join these and have ‘made friends’ with others before we even got on board. If I can help in any way, please feel free to ask. Gill
Hi @Lorraine There is a significant amount of information on this forum about members who have gone cruising alone. Have a browse around and you’ll find lots about successful solo travel. Have a look at this thread for example http://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/forums/cruising-for-single-travellers/4519
There are other related links at the bottom of the page.