Do you cruise solo? Are you part of a group where some of you prefer to have your own space? Perhaps you travel with a parent or another family member and find it better to have your own staterooms? Then you'll be pleased to know that we've just rounded up every cruise lines approach to solo cruisers and it makes for interesting reading.
It would seem there are 2 options available to a solo cruiser when trying to book a stateroom:
Pay the Single Supplement for sole occupancy of a double stateroom:
NB: Cruise Lines will only sell a limited number of double staterooms for sole occupancy, it varies per cruise line, per ship, per itinerary.
Pay for a dedicated solo / single stateroom
NB: While the number of dedicated solo / single staterooms are growing you do need to book early to avoid disappointment in our opinion.
Pricing Policy - Frustrating lack of transparency
Historically the approach would be to allow a solo cruiser to occupy a double stateroom and charge a supplement - with the supplement historically another 100% or in plain English (which is always good) double the amount you see advertised when 2 people share the room. This has begun to change a little and some cruise lines such as Azamara & Silversea will offer this stateroom for just another 25% on select voyages and Crystal Cruises go even lower to an additional 15% and they are to be commended for this.
Other cruise lines hover somewhere between these figures and 100% without any transparency whatsoever and this is very frustrating. Costa Cruises pricing structure is far too confusing and shrouded in mystery and we throw this accusation not just when it comes to solo cruisers but also with drinks packages & gratuities far too vague. Pricing seems to completely depend on time of the year, the ship, what way the wind is blowing...it's not possible to plan what you might pay and that's not really good enough.
While others bring clarity such as Princess, Carnival and Disney the clarity is that they offer no incentive, no help whatsoever with no incentives to solo cruisers, no solo staterooms, 100% supplements. You know where you stand but it's not very supportive to those travelling on their own. We're sure all can do more and would urge them to do so.
NCL solo offering is Epic
It quickly became clear in our research that Norwegian Cruise Line were far and away the most progressive of all cruise lines when it came to their approach to solo cruisers. Not only do they offer some reduction on single supplement (albeit not entirely clear) but they have by far the highest proportion of solo staterooms across the cruise industry with just under 500 when NCL Bliss launches this week. it doesn't stop there - they go further by offering unique exclusive solo lounges where solo cruisers can meet, have a coffee or a drink at their own bar and more. With a dedicated solo social hostess ensuring there are events every day there's opportunities to be as involved as you'd like to be! Having experienced this approach first hand on the Epic in 2017 we are huge fans and would definitely recommend this to any solo cruiser.
(See our blog on NCL's solo experience)
Others also deserve credit - Fred Olsen has 190 solo staterooms across the fleet and they range from Inside to Outside, even Balcony staterooms. In fact Fred are very proud of their solo offering with just under 10% of their fleet made available to solo cruisers. Royal Caribbean also have some solo staterooms but small enough considering the size of the fleet, Symphony added another 15 with 12 of those being Ocean View but us being greedy we'd have liked a few more! If a balcony is important then P&O also have some solo balcony's with flagship Britannia having 15 to enjoy!
If you want to book a solo stateroom it's crucially important to book early...really early! Cruise Lines already have 2020 on sale so these staterooms are already available to book. If you're more like us then that's tricky. It's hard to plan so far in advance but unfortunately if you don't then you may be disappointed! Last minute, spontaneity rarely comes cheap...
With Royal adding just 15 with Symphony despite her size (although we welcome them) it would seem like things are not going to change radically any time soon! For cruise lines they still see a difficult balance between catering for solo cruisers and income....with solo staterooms taking a similar size to a double they potentially lose income from the lack of a second person booking drinks packages, using the casino, paying gratuities, shore excursions, speciality dining etc etc. All we can do is keep shouting, keep highlighting and keep campaigning for better... like NCL would be nice!
Norwegian Cruise Line solo cruisers salute you!
Check our solo cruisers page here: