A lot of people like to go on cruises to meet people – there are loads of great options for singles cruises, and even on a regular sailing, there are often solo travellers hoping to make connections with like-minded people.
But the world of dating on land has been revolutionised by apps like Tinder. So, do they also work at sea, and can you use Tinder to meet other singles on a cruise, either to start new relationships or for a casual hookup?
Can You Use Tinder on a Cruise?
It’s possible to use Tinder on a cruise ship, but it can be unreliable. Tinder needs both an internet connection and a GPS signal – often, your phone will struggle to pinpoint your location while you’re at sea.
You can’t use Tinder offline. You need to be able to log into your account, so an internet connection is essential. If you’re close enough to shore, you might be able to use your mobile data, but be careful – this can be really expensive if you’re not in your home country and you don’t have a roaming package.
It’s sometimes possible to use data while at sea, too, but I’d never recommend this – the roaming charges are huge, and you could rack up a huge bill. No matter how many dates you get, it wouldn’t be worth it!
So instead, you’d need to pay for a cruise ship’s WiFi package. The price of these varies by cruise line, but in most cases, you’ll need to pay for it for the duration of your cruise – only a very small number of cruise lines, such as Marella, let you pay for occasional hours or days.
Then, once you have the internet connection set up, you need to hope that you get a strong GPS signal, so that the satellites can locate you and Tinder can match you with others.
When you’re below deck, this is unlikely – ships are built with a metal frame, and so there’s a lot of signal interference. It also impacts people who like to use walkie talkies on ships to communicate – indoor use can be limited.
When you’re on the open decks, relaxing by the pool, it should work a little more reliably. GPS satellites have global coverage, though it can sometimes struggle when you’re far out at sea. But some people have reported that it works quite well.
Here’s the critical thing to remember, though – it’s not just you that needs a working internet connection and strong GPS signal – you need other people on the ship to also be using Tinder, and to have paid for the internet. And then you need to hope they’re using the app where they can be picked up by satellites.
Otherwise, there’s going to be nobody you can swipe on.
Can You Use Tinder in Cruise Ports?
You can use Tinder when you’re in port on a cruise, and the app should be much more accurate. However, you still need to be careful of roaming charges if you connect to the internet via your phone data.
Tinder is a lot more reliable when your cruise ship reaches a port – the GPS signal is a lot stronger, so you won’t have any trouble finding people to match with.
Still, bear in mind you only have a limited window of time – if you want to meet people for dates or to hookup, you’ll need to cut the small talk on the app – otherwise, by the time you’ve set a meeting time, the ship will be ready to depart.
It’s also important to be even more careful than usual when meeting people in a cruise port. Meet with people near the cruise ship, so you aren’t travelling so far that you could get lost.
If you’re late back to the ship, it will leave without you, and you’ll have to incur some hefty costs to either meet up with the ship in the next port or to get home, and get your belongings shipped back to you.
Alternatives to Tinder on a Cruise Ship
Rather than trying to get Tinder to work on a cruise ship, there are some other ways you could meet single folk looking for a good time:
- Look out for singles events on your ship – often, there will be special parties or get-togethers for solo travellers, where you can enjoy a drink and get chatting with others who may have similar intentions
- Book a dedicated singles cruise with a company that runs larger events, so you’re guaranteed to meet other single people
- Just talk to people! You’d be surprised how many people travel solo on a cruise, or with groups of friends, and as long as you aren’t pushy or creepy then you can relax, have some fun conversations and see where things lead
- If you’re only interested in hooking up, consider wearing clothes or accessories with an upside down pineapple, provided you understand the context…
Tinder can work on a cruise ship but it’s typically too unreliable. Plus even if you can get it working, you need to consider how many others will actually be using the app on the ship – out of the 3,000 or so passengers on an average ship, how many will be adults, who are single, and who’ve thought to use Tinder while at sea? It’s a limited pool…
Plus, there’s a risk that you might get chatting to someone who you may not like, and then things could get awkward, especially on a longer cruise… So just be careful. And if anyone acts creepy with you (via Tinder or just in general), make sure you report them to the crew.
If you’re looking to meet people on a cruise for conversation, sex or long-term love, I’d recommend sticking to singles events or singles cruises instead.
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Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.