Expert Tips for Singles on Cruises
Cruise pricing is pretty straightforward, but because most companies price cabins assuming they will be occupied by two people, you’ll find yourself paying a hefty single supplement if you’re sailing single. While a few lines (including Holland America Line) offer singles the opportunity to share a cabin with a same-sex roommate (whom they don't know) and pay the regular double-occupancy rate, others cringe at the thought. The typical strategy is to book a cheap inside cabin guarantee on the cheapest cruise you can find and hope to get an upgrade to a cabin with a window, but that can be risky. Many singles may instead wish to focus their search on several lines that do a better job than most at dealing with the needs of single cruisers, regardless of whether they charge the typical single supplement.
For the Budget-Minded
While Norwegian Cruise Line is fairly family-oriented, it's also known for its high-quality entertainment offerings. The New York–themed Norwegian Breakaway and Miami–themed Norwegian Getaway are both particularly well-suited to singles, featuring extensive casinos, a comedy club, blues club, dueling pianos lounge, a wide variety of bars, and an adult-only pool club. Norwegian Epic has a somewhat different entertainment line-up, including the Blue Man Group, but perhaps the biggest draw for singles is the inexpensive studio cabins on all three ships that carry no supplement and allow access to a shared lounge space. Granted, these are cozy cabins at 100 square feet, but they do have porthole windows to the interior corridor and are exceptionally well-designed.
For Cruisers Who Love the Ship
Most Royal Caribbean ships have features that appeal to younger, more active travelers (they were the first cruise line to offer climbing walls and surfing pools), but the company has also made great strides to improving regular food offerings on its ships. Shore excursions with Royal Caribbean are often more thrilling than usual, but the line’s two behemoths, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas, have the widest array of features in the fleet. The incredible size of these ships allows adults ample opportunities to escape the kids on board. Younger adults are also likely to appreciate the forthcoming Quantam of the Seas, which sails this fall from New Jersey. Just be aware that all these ships charge premium prices for their cabins, so the 100% single supplement can really sting if you want anything more than the most basic cabin.
For Partiers and Music Lovers
Though single cruisers won’t find a discount here, Carnival Cruise Line's shorter itineraries are known for their party atmosphere and singles scene. Concerts, now offered on many three-to-five day cruises out of Florida, Charleston, and Los Angeles, are yet another perk. You’ll have to pay to attend ($20–$40) and you should book tickets in advance. While many of the bands will appeal to an older crowd (Kansas, Foreigner, REO Speedwagon), some younger, hipper acts are also included (Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson, and Lady Antebellum). Since these cruises are often pretty cheap (and regularly discounted), they are already a bargain, even with a single supplement, and often end up being no more expensive than a land-based vacation for a single traveler.
For Those Seeking Luxury
You can't escape the single supplement on Silversea entirely, but if you're looking a luxurious cruise experience on a classy ship with interesting itineraries and port calls, you can't beat this line's offerings.Though not cheap, Silversea cruise costs are not astronomical and a 25% single supplement is offered on select cruises throughout the year. For a high-end experience, this is definitely one to consider.
For Mature Singles
Vantage Deluxe World Travel, a company that serves travelers over the age of 50, generally charges low or no single supplements for its river and ocean cruises, while some of the newer ships even have single cabins. The camaraderie on these kinds of trips is another perk that allows you to travel alone while enjoying the experience with others.
Photo Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line (Norwegian Epic, studio cabin); Royal Caribbean (Allure of the Seas); © Ruth Peterkin | Dreamstime.com (Carnival Freedom); Silversea (Silver Cloud)
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