Cruising has changed in the last five years.
The cruise lines have woken up to the potential of the solo cruise market. They've made huge capital investments in ships with solo cabins which can make it less expensive to take a solo cruise than in the past.
It's an improvement but buyer beware.
Yes, a solo cabin on a full ship is a better deal than a standard cabin with the single supplement. But it's not unusual for last minute deals for unsold standard cabins to be less expensive than solo cabins. As a general rule, the more flexible you are in terms of dates and routes, the more likely you are to get a good deal on a standard cabin. The less flexible you are, the earlier you should book to get one of the solo cabins – the number available is usually small.
Cruise Lines and Ships with Solo Cabins
There are a couple of ships with solo cabins that are well known like the Norwegian Epic and P&O Azura. But there are more options. To give you a more complete list of ships that cater to solo cruisers I went to Gary Bembridge, author of The Cruise Traveler's Handbook. Here he gives us the lay of the land (so to speak) of solo cruising.
Gary says that “all new ships coming on stream seem to have solo cabins as standard – the future is bright.” In the meanwhile the following ships are the ones that have solo cabins:
- Cunard: Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 (From June 2016)
- Norwegian Cruise Line: Epic, Breakaway, Escape and Getaway ships. They also have a specific solo guest haven on their newer and larger ships.
- P&O Cruises: Azura, Ventura, Arcadia, Aurora, Oriana and Britannia.
- Fred Olsen: All their ships offer solo cabins.
- Costa Cruises: They have some single cabins, both inside and outside, on half of their ships.
- Royal Caribbean: Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, have solo “studio” cabins on each ship. They are starting to offer more options.
As there are new ships coming on line all the time please let us know if you know of other ships with solo cabins in the comments below.
The Roommate Option
The two cruise lines that are noticeably absent from the above list have partnering programs to help solo travelers get around the single supplement. They are:
- Holland America. In the spring of 2016 they're launching a new ship with single cabins called Koningsdam.
- Princess Cruises
Gary also recommends…
- Consider river cruising. River cruising as the river cruise lines usually offer more deals for solo travelers than their ocean counterparts. I've just returned from a river cruise with Grand Circle Cruise Line from the Black Sea to the Budapest. I've published one post on it so far and will be writing much more about the experience over the next few weeks.
- Sign up for your preferred cruise lines newsletters. Whether you want an ocean or river cruise, it's absolutely worth signing up for the cruise lines' emails newsletters so that you are among the first to be notified of solo deals as they become available. And check out the Solo Traveler Deals page or sign up for our Solo Traveler Advisory.
Gary's book has lots of valuable advice for cruising in general and for solo cruisers. One section describes what each cruise line is like so that you can choose one that fits your personality. He also shares lots of advice that will save you money, ensure that you get what you think you're buying when you book your cruise and help you get the most of your time on board and on shore.