Cruise Vacations

Cruise (holidays) Vacations are in my experience one of the best options for the solo traveller as they offer everything in one place in a safe environment and I have found that they also offer a good chance of meeting other singles, as cruising is becoming ever more popular within the single market. The biggest problem with going alone on a solo cruise is the cost, generally speaking not too many cruise lines offer good deals for a solo guest as they will normally charge on a double occupancy basis, which would mean because the room is based on two sharing they will charge a single up to 100% extra on top. Basically you’re paying for two, which is just not fair in my opinion (why should singles get penalized for being single). The good news is that the cruise industry is finally waking up to the fact that there is a growing demand out there for single people and at least one cruise line (Norwegian Cruise Lines) has started to cater for the solo guest. With now three of its ships; the mighty Epic based in the Mediterranean in the summer and Caribbean in winter which has 128 studio cabins designed especially for the solo guest and now it's two new ships the "Breakaway" based out of New York and the brand new “Getaway" which will be based out of Miami Florida which also have the studio cabins “although these two ships only have 59 cabins each compared to the Epic’s 128. These cabins are specifically designed for a single guest, rather small 100 square foot but are well laid out with corner shower large flat screen TV, phone room safe and plenty of storage space and a really comfortable double bed. The design gives the room a really funky kind of feeling (not to mention the cool mood lighting you have four different buttons with completely different colours), although this is only available on the Epic for some strange reason the Breakaway and Getaway do not have it which is a real shame as it is one of the best features on board. I have been in these rooms on four occasions now and to be honest would choose them over an inside cabin any day because it feels really exclusive in the studios as you have to have a key card to get in so only people staying in these cabins can access them, kind of cool. The added benefit of these cabins is the studio lounge which is a private meeting area with a bar (only manned at certain times of the day) with coffee and tea making facilities along with some snacks and drinks, which means at any time of the day or night you can pop down there (one little tip is to choose a cabin near the lounge as very convenient and great place to socialize). There is one downside to the studios and that is, there is no daylight as the cabins run through the spine of the ship so you do get a bit nocturnal as day and night become one of the same with the lights off in your cabin. As far as cost goes the studios are still not cheap generally speaking you pay about 40 percent more than someone sharing in a double occupancy room however I have recently managed to get a great deal where I paid about the same as somebody with double occupancy so you can get a deal if you book early enough. Waiting till last minute is a bit of a risk due to the fact there are only 128 cabins on Epic and half that on the others. As far as other cruise lines go they are still playing catch up to NCL with lots of talk from Royal Caribbean on adding singles cabins but still nothing concrete. Holland and America have specially designed package called the “singles partner program” and Fred Olson have a program where they try to pair up guests of the same sex to share a cabin so they can offer the double occupancy price and Holland and America will even give a solo a room at the double occupancy rate if they cannot find a suitable match which is a pretty good deal. Luxury line Silversea has reduced its single supplements to 25 percent above the double occupancy rate on select 2013 sailings to worldwide destinations including Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. Solo travellers, who make up a significant 10 percent of the cruise line’s clientele, seem to flock largely to port-intensive Baltic and Mediterranean itineraries. Upscale Crystal Cruises has recently expanded its offerings with single supplements of just 10 percent (in deluxe staterooms) on more than two dozen 2013 sailings to Europe, South America and more, aboard the Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. On-board, expect mingle-friendly events geared toward its more than 10 percent of guests As you can see there are options available to the solo guest and the future should be good with major cruise companies starting to become aware that this market is going to become a massive earner for them in the next few years.

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