If you’re a single traveller who wants to go on a cruise ship, booking your holiday can be a frustrating time. The vast majority of cabins and staterooms on all cruise lines are designed for two guests, and while prices are generally advertised as a per-person rate, this usually only applies when it is based on two sharing.
The problem comes about because cruise lines expect every stateroom to feature two guests – and therefore they expect to have two people buying excursions, two people paying for drinks, two people booking excursions…you get the idea. If cruise lines allowed one person to book a double stateroom without a supplemental charge, they don’t just lose out on the cruise fare but all of the extra money they’d gain from these additional charges.
So for that reason, you’ll find that trying to book a cruise just for yourself can be tricky, as you can sometimes have to pay the full double occupancy amount despite travelling on your own. But all is not lost – the singles market is an important one, and there are a number of cruise lines who are making efforts to help.
Sometimes it may just be a reduced supplement, such as with Hurtigruten Cruises who only charge an extra 10% on top of your standard fare, or Crystal Cruises who have some stateroom categories available for just 25% more. But there are three cruise lines that have gone the extra mile to build dedicated rooms for solo guests, with no extra supplement.
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has four ships, all of which have single cabins which vary to include balcony cabins, rather than simply being a collection of inside rooms, and care has been paid to decorate the rooms appropriately – there isn’t simply a gap where a second bed would be, but extra seating to make the room more comfortable.
Norwegian Cruise Line has started implementing studio cabins on the newer ships, beginning with the Norwegian Epic and carried on with the fantastic Norwegian Breakaway. These stylish rooms are a modern solution for the solo guests, and to make up for the compact space there is an exclusive shared Studio Complex and Lounge where singles can relax and mingle, with a big-screen TV and self-serve wine.
Finally there’s P&O Cruises, which in 2010 launched the Azura with single inside and outside cabins. Since then, single cabins have been added to other ships in the fleet including the first Single Balcony Cabins on the Arcadia, which will be ready for the 2014 cruise season. Inside and Outside options are also available.
So there are a few options out there for single travellers and it’s a change which is slowly catching on. Expect more cruise lines to recognise this growing market and start looking at implementing more options to cater for those who wish to cruise alone.
By Ian Lewis