Exciting destinations, fabulous facilities and non-stop fun. It's easy to see what makes cruising appealing to the single among us. Whether you're looking to get away from it all or get amongst the action, a cruise offers solo travellers a holiday like no other.
Companies have slowly begun to respond to the single cruising market demand with new studio cabins, dining requests and single-friendly activities. It still may take a bit of extra research to find the best single cruise deal, but with our helpful tips you'll be able to make the most of this incredible experience - and avoid exorbitant prices. Read on as we dish out the latest industry updates for cruising single.
The truth, the challenge and the opportunity
Cruise lines want to maximise the number of guests due to limited space aboard a floating vessel. Most cabins on standard ships sleep at least two people, and therefore a single occupant essentially costs the cruise line one passenger fare. To account for this, solo travellers might pay up to double the cruise price to attribute for the lost fare of the would-be second passenger with what is known as the single supplement fee.
Further to the matter, solo cruising currently only makes up a small percentage of total cruisers on the water. Cruise lines therefore do not have a broad incentive to vastly change cabin layouts and/or policies, despite a growing number of vocal advocates.
In spite of these realities, single holiday-seekers are far from forgotten. Cruise lines are still making an effort to meet solo cruisers requests by accommodating with single staterooms and/or making it easier to get around steep fares. Not all lines are created equal in this regard, so take note of the companies who do it better as your read through our tips.
How to avoid those single supplement fees
One of the major issues with cruising solo is the price. Cruise lines tend to charge more for single occupancy than if you were to share a cabin. It's possible to avoid or at the least cut down on these fees using one of three methods.
1.Get in early and book a studio cabin.
There are a few cruise lines who offer studio staterooms. These are in high demand and often booked out well in advance, so it pays to book early to secure your single space.
Royal Caribbean offers studio staterooms on its newest vessels. Enjoy your own full size bed, bathroom and flat-screen TV. You might also opt for a virtual balcony!
- Reserve your studio room on Ovation of the Seas.
Cunard offers a limited number of studio staterooms on all three of its ships.
- Enjoy an ocean-view to yourself or select an inside stateroom on Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria or Queen Mary 2.
P&O UK provide a limited number of single occupancy twin cabins at an additional supplement cost. The rooms include a twin bed, private shower and toilet, a TV and toiletries pack.
- Choose an inside or balcony single cabin on P&O UK's Arcadia.
Norwegian Cruise Line stands out with their new studio cabin offerings. Each room includes a full-size bed, TV and private bathroom - all features of the standard double cabin - plus exclusive access to the Studio Lounge.
This hangout social area is for solo cruisers only and comes with a personal bartender at certain times of day. Meet up for a pre-dinner gathering to mingle with other singles onboard.
Learn more about the different types of staterooms to help you decide which is right for your cruise.
Pro tip: Sometimes it pays to book a room on a luxury line rather than paying a hefty supplement tax on a cheaper cruise. The price may be comparable or slightly higher but the amenities on a luxury line will far exceed those of a regular cruise ship.
2. Find a roommate matching service.
Another option to avoid the single supplement fee is to share your cabin. Holland America Line offers a roommate matching service, which pairs you up with a passenger of the same sex who is also travelling solo. The cruise line will guarantee the price if they cannot find a partner to share the room.
3. Find a last minute deal.
As the sailing date approaches, cruise lines often reduce prices for single rooms to try to fill the ship. Keep an eye out for last minute cruise deals.
Once you're aboard
Single-friendly events and activities
Join in on one of many onboard activities to meet and engage with other cruisers.
- Holland America Line offers the Single Partners Program that hosts cocktail mixers and games.
- Silversea throws a welcome reception with bubbles on each voyage.
- Partake in a theatre workshop, attend lectures, join trivia night or relax at the spa on Cunard's Queen Mary 2.
- Try a cooking class, a wine tasting session or head to the casino on the Pacific Princess, a smaller vessel known for its personalised service.
Every cruise ship offers an expansive activity list, the choice is yours if you care to join in.
Don't dine alone, make friends at the dinner table
Worried you'll be the odd elephant in the room, eating alone while everyone's staring? No need to fret, dining options these days are designed to allow passengers to meet new people at dinner. Request to dine with other singles on Holland America Line or try Royal Caribbean's “My Time Dining” which allows guests to request to sit with larger parties. If you do prefer to dine alone, Cunard will accommodate solo passengers as long as there is room.
Ready to give solo cruising a go? Check out these single cruise options for your next adventure!