A PIECE OF GREECE
The Greek islands are an ideal place to explore by charter boat. Pretty whitewashed villages, incredible blue water, weather and the local food all make for a special holiday.
The best months are between May and October, with July and August being busiest and the hottest.
You can choose from itineraries ranging from three nights to three weeks. A longer stay will give you time to experience some of the lesserknown villages and islands, indulge in more of the local culture, night-life and history and relax in some of the hidden anchorages.
Beginning in Athens you could spend a few days sailing the islands of Paros, Syros and Kea. These islands are less frequented by ferries so retain their authentic Greek charm, then head to popular Mykonos for a dose of busy bars, clubs and restaurants.
Move on to Naxos, then Sifnos (good walking trails) and Ios for lively entertainment and a pretty harbour.
You could finish up at Santorini, where you can visit the crater of the million-year-old dormant volcano by donkey or gondola and the hot springs. Sunsail (sunsail.com.au) can assist with a skippered vessel for you.
Australian passport holders need a valid passport and a return ticket to be eligible for a stay of up to 31 days in the Cook Islands. An Australian passport will be considered valid if it expires more than seven days beyond the intended period of stay.
A few ocean-going cruise lines cater to the solo traveller.
Norwegian Cruise Line (ncl.com) provides studio accommodation particularly designed and priced for solo travellers. Being a guest in one of these studios also provides you with access to an exclusive lounge where there is a big-screen TV, drinks, room service and other solo guests. NCL has tours departing from Sydney in November this year, one a five-day round-trip to Tasmania and another a 13-day round-trip to New Zealand.
Cunard (cunardline.com.au) offers inside and ocean-view single staterooms on the Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. There are at least 15 dedicated single cabins on the Queen Mary 2, so have a look at one of their departures from Fremantle, Adelaide or Sydney.
Fred Olsen (fredolsencruises.com) features a cruise with single cabins departing from Sydney. Over 18 nights you will make your way up the east coast of Australia, then on to Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia.
Royal Caribbean (royalcaribbean .com.au) also has dedicated solo rooms on quite a few ships including Radiance of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas with itineraries departing from Australia.
If you are interested in river cruising through Europe, have a look at Uniworld (uniworld.com), Tauck (tauck.com.au) and Avalon Waterways (avalonwaterways.com). These and other river cruise companies often waive the single supplement on many of their itineraries. Africa (November-March). Instead have a look at the possibilities for the shoulder seasons of April, May, September and October.
This will lead to fewer crowds, lower prices and temperate weather.