Solo travel is taking off in a big way -- and not just on the mega-ships. River cruises are quickly becoming a popular destination for those who travel by themselves. River cruises are a great choice for solo travelers, thanks to their convivial atmosphere and relatively small number of passengers. As a single traveler, it is easier to get to know a few hundred people rather than a few thousand.
If you're traveling as a single on a river cruise, the atmosphere is generally gracious and welcoming. Expect fellow passengers to go out of their way to be inclusive when it comes to dinners -- perhaps the only awkward moment on a river cruise as a single traveler, due to the open-seating nature of most onboard dinners. For those who are shy, try grabbing a seat at a large table and let your fellow cruisers make the introductions.
Traveling solo by river has never been easier. Many river cruise lines now offer solo traveler discounts on selected sailings throughout the year that can reduce or even eliminate the dreaded "single supplement" that a normal booking would entail.
And while there is no "wrong" itinerary for solo travelers, it might be a good idea to stay away from barge cruises through the canals of France, unless you are incredibly social and outgoing. Most barges only hold between six and 12 people per vessel, and a few families traveling together can make a solo passenger feel like a bit of an outsider.
Here are a few river cruise lines that stand out among the crowd as being the best river cruises for single or solo travelers: