Solo sailors become part of the family on a Maine Windjammer Association cruise
One of the biggest trends for 2020 is that solo travel on the rise. Single travelers are seeking adventures where it’s easy to fit in and they won’t feel alone along the Maine Coast on a historic windjammer cruise. A Maine Windjammer Association cruise comes with a made-to-order group of friends. As soon as the boat leaves the dock, the sense of community begins and an immediate sense of camaraderie develops between fellow shipmates due to the small size of the sailing ships. The eight historic windjammers in the Maine Windjammer Association fleet leave from Rockland or Camden, Maine, and carry between 16 and 40 guests, so it’s easy to get to know everyone over the course of a three- to six-day cruise. Meals are served family-style, and from the get-go everyone’s included in the conversation. Sail handling, while optional, also gets guests working together in a fun and satisfying way, and conversation among fellow passengers happens easily and quickly.
While a windjammer cruise is a popular option for family and friends, it’s also a fabulous vacation where relaxation, reflection and kicking back on one’s own happens too. For those seeking solitude, there’s time to go for a run, take a stroll on the beach, enjoy a sunrise or rediscover the constellations at night. About 15-percent of the Maine Windjammer Association fleet’s Maine’s windjammer guests cruise solo. Like couples or families that sail together on board a windjammer, they seek to relax, meet interesting people, reconnect with the outdoors, to get off the beaten track and see and do something new…and of course, to eat well!
If the idea of cruising on a windjammer doesn’t appeal to the other in the couple, sometimes a spouse comes alone to feed their passionate for a sailing adventure or for a little “me” time. In other cases, a windjammer vacation can soothe the soul of passengers who’ve lost a loved one. Every guest will find windjamming a safe and comfortable way to travel, where they are welcomed into the family of windjamming that includes shipmates and crew members of all ages and from all walks of life. Many people sail as singles, but then end up returning year after year, often with other guests they’ve met on board, or even shared a cabin with in order to save money.
Boston native June Knowles, a veteran windjammer guest with 66 cruises under her belt, sums it up this way: “Sailing alone is safe, companionship is there for the taking—morning coffee, as well as lunch, and later in the day, happy hour on deck, dinner in the main saloon with new people, new thoughts, humor and exchanges. Best of all, you will find shipmates who echo your joy of windjamming, the splendor of the Coast of Maine, islands, graces and places to discover.”
Solo travelers have many options for accommodations and pricing. Cruise prices average $200 per person per day, with all meals and activities included. All of the windjammers offer single cabins, either at no extra charge or for an additional $25 per night. If single cabins are unavailable, guests can share a cabin at no additional charge with another solo passenger, whom they often become hard and fast friends with afterward…a throwback to the days of summer camp or college dorms. Cabins are simple, all with sinks and running water, comfortable mattresses, fresh linens and plenty of warm blankets. All of the vessels offer hot showers, and by all means, all passengers enjoy showers alone!
Unlike cruise ships with pre-arranged itineraries, shipboard life on a Maine windjammer is entirely unstructured. Each day’s voyage is based on the weather and captain’s whim. Since there are more than 2,000 islands along the Maine coast, there are seemingly unlimited overnight anchorages, coves and harbors to explore. Each day, there’s time to go ashore and stretch your legs or explore a small village or deserted island. At night, guests typically congregate on deck and tell stories, star-gaze, listen to music or go for a midnight row. No sailing experience is necessary—the captain and crew will literally show you the ropes! And if you’re single, you’ll have no trouble finding someone to go along with you.
Don’t be afraid to jump on a Maine Windjammer Association cruise as a solo sailor this year. You just might make the best friends you’ve ever met!