Carole asked Tips For Travellers: “What suggestions do you have for solo travellers to avoid the double down payment on cruises or even all-inclusive vacations?As the population increases with age there are many people who have to travel solo or prefer to due to health reasons. Are any companies taking this into consideration?”
Here is the Tips For Traveller reply
Carole, the good news is that the cruising industry is increasingly paying attention to solo cruisers and trying to make it financially more attractive as well as simply providing a more welcome environment on board. The long-established lines, like Cunard and Holland America, and the ultra-luxury lines, such as Seabourn and Crystal, are used to having many solo guests – and cater for them with activities, meet-ups and arranging for them to share tables with other guests or be hosted by the crew at dinner. However, for too long solo travellers have had to pay between a minimum of 25% and up to 100% surcharge to stay in cabins designed for twin occupancy. This makes travelling extremely costly for most.
There are five main things that I recommend to solo travellers wanting to go cruising:
1. Cruise on a line that has dedicated solo cabins.
There are a number of lines that now offer solo cabins on some of their ships, with many more coming on stream. New ships coming on stream seem to be having solo cabins as standard and so when considering a cruise look at the newest ships in any fleet.
At this stage the following are best known for their solo cabins:
- Cunard (Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria).
- Norwegian Cruise Line. They have created a specific solo guest haven on their newer and larger ships such as Norwegian Epic, Breakaway and Getaway. They offer studio cabins and a lounge and bar area. Unfortunately they are all inside cabins but are within a secure access controlled area.
- P&O Cruises. They have solo cabins on all of their newer ships including Azura, Ventura, Arcadia, Aurora, Oriana and Britannia.
- Fred Olsen. All their ships, Balmoral, Boudicca, Braemar and Black Watch offer solo cabins, ranging from 40 on Braemar to 64 on the Balmoral.
- Costa Cruises have some single cabins, both inside and outside, on half of its ships, including its newest vessels, Costa Favolosa and Costa Fascinosa, which have 17 solo cabins each.
- Royal Caribbean are starting to offer more options. The new ships, Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, have solo “studio” cabins on each ship. They also have just three single-occupancy interior cabins on the Radiance of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas.
2. Consider European river cruising.
Many of the river cruising lines, including Tauck and Uniworld, operating in Europe waive surcharges on many of their cruises through the year. This form of cruising usually offer more deals for solo guests than their ocean counterparts. It is with asking your travel agent to check which are offering deals when you want to travel, or signing up for the email newsletters of lines that appeal so you get alerts when they are providing this arrangement.
3. Cruise on lines that have programs to partner up solo travellers.
Lines like Holland America and Princess have a matching program where solo travellers can sign up to be partnered up with another guest to share a cabin. Your travel agent or the line can manage this. You do, however, risk sharing with someone who you do not get on with.
4. Sign-up for solo travel site newsletters.
There are a number of sites that focus on finding and promoting deals for solo travellers which they send out in their eMail newsletters. They are a great resource for finding the best options. I recommend http://solotravelerblog.com which has become one of the largest online resources for solo travel advice and deals. Sites like http://www.singlestravelintl.com and Solosholidays.co.uk arrange solo group cruises as well offering individual bookings and deals.
5. Set up a Google alert for solo travel deals.
If you google “cruise deals for single travellers” or “cruise deals for solo travellers” you will find the latest deals. If you set up an alert and define how often you want to receive them (e.g. Weekly, daily etc) you will be alerted when lines are offering lower surcharges, or waiving them all together, on specific sailings or over a certain period.
To set up an alert go to https://www.google.com/alerts (USA) or https://www.google.co.uk/alerts (UK) and type in the search term and it will prompt you to set up an alert to be sent to your email address.
I hope that these tips help, and if anyone has any more please email them or add to the post in the comments