Cruises are perfect vacations for solo travelers. You don’t have to worry about getting lost in an unfamiliar destination or eating alone (unless you want to), and since you’ll be seeing the same people throughout your trip, you’ll have plenty of chances to make friends.
Unfortunately, there’s one thing that makes cruises financially out of reach for many single travelers—the dreaded single supplement. Since most cruise cabins are designed to hold two people, many cruise lines penalize solo travelers with a surcharge of up to 200 percent.
As demand for solo cruising rises, some cruise lines have adapted and begun offering single cabins—smaller rooms designed for just one person that don’t come with a pricey single supplement.
How to Avoid the Single Supplement on a Cruise
Booking a solo cabin on a cruise is the best way to avoid the single supplement on a cruise. Ships offer a very limited number of solo cabins on most sailings, so book early if you want to snag one.
You can book a solo cabin on select ships within these cruise lines:
- Norwegian Cruise Line
- Royal Caribbean
- Virgin Voyages
- Holland America
- Celebrity Cruises
Some cruise lines will occasionally offer sales waiving or discounting the single supplement on double cabins—sign up for sale alerts from your favorite ships to be notified. For example, Costa Cruises is currently running a promotion waiving the single supplement on a large selection of cruises.
The 6 Best Cruise Lines for Solo Travelers
These cruise lines offer amenities and activities designed for the single traveler.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line started the single cabin trend by being the first cruise line to offer rooms for one. At under 100 sq. ft, Norwegian’s studio cabins are definitely small, but solo cruisers will get exclusive access to the Studio Lounge, a shared space designed for socializing. Many sailings also offer singles meet-ups to help you get to know your fellow solo travelers.
It’s rare to find a sailing in Europe without a single supplement, but Tauck doesn’t charge one on any of their European river cruises (for Category 1 cabins). Want to upgrade? Tauck offers $1,000 off the single supplement on other cabin categories on select sailings.
Tauck CEO Dan Mahar says their cruises are perfect for solo travelers, because “All of the advance planning and other tasks that would normally fall squarely on the shoulders of a solo traveler—all of the choreography, all of the hotel and restaurant reservations, all of the on-site transportation, navigation and more—they’re all expertly handled by Tauck.”
How can you be a solo traveler and travel with your best friend simultaneously? When you’re cruising on Cunard with your pet. Guests sailing transatlantic on Queen Mary 2 can bring their cat or dog along for the journey. Furry friends must stay in the kennel, but you can visit any time you want.
Cunard offers some of the largest single staterooms at sea—a single Britannia Oceanview room ranges from 133-201 sq. ft.
Don’t worry about being lonely on Cunard—the cruise line hosts coffee mornings and drinks receptions for solo travelers and offers shared tables for people who don’t want to dine alone.
Don’t want to be surrounded by families on your solo cruise? Book a trip on Virgin Voyages, one of the few cruise lines that doesn’t allow anyone under 18 onboard. Virgin cruises offer plenty of chances to meet other travelers, like organized “grog walks” (better known as pub crawls) and restaurants with shared seating.
Solo cabins are available in both insider and sea view stateroom categories.
Many cruise ships limit solo cabins to tiny inside rooms, but Royal Caribbean believes that single travelers deserve nice rooms too. The cruise line offers inside studio staterooms for solo travelers on a budget, as well as super studio ocean view staterooms with balconies for those who want to splurge.
The single cabins are offered on the following Royal Caribbean ships: Brilliance of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Spectrum of the Seas.
Celebrity Cruises offers single staterooms on the Apex, Edge, Silhouette, Beyond, and Ascent ships. To have the best chance of nabbing one, book on the Beyond or Ascent, both of which have 32 single staterooms.
Celebrity frequently runs promotions in which they waive the single supplement for solo travelers, so keep an eye out if you can’t reserve a single cabin.
Tips for Cruising Alone
Worried about feeling lonely when cruising by yourself? These tips can help you make new friends on your next trip.
Opt for an Assigned Seating Time for Dinner
Many cruise ships offer the option to select an assigned seating time for dinner. If you choose an assigned time, you’ll sit at the same table and have the same tablemates and servers each night, so you’re guaranteed to see familiar faces at least once a day.
Take Shore Excursions
Engaging in an activity, especially if it’s something social like a wine tasting on a European river cruise or something adventurous like ziplining in Costa Rica is a great conversation starter.
If you book your excursion through the cruise line, you’ll be in the same tour group as people from your ship, so you’ll be able to make plans later on to hang out again with any new friends you make.
Participate in Activities
There’s always something going on aboard a cruise ship, whether it’s a trivia night or a karaoke competition. These activities are designed to get guests socializing, so try to join at least one every day. Look for events geared toward solo travelers to find your fellow singletons (who may be more open to making new friends than couples or groups).
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