The Solo Traveler
Mingle with new friends and discover intriguing destinations
while vacationing on your own
By Michelle Chumbley
Amanda Marsalis/Norwegian Cruise Line
Cruise cabin prices usually are broken down into a per-person rate based on double occupancy, leaving those traveling on their own to pay an added 50 to 100 percent on their fare to have a room to themselves. This is known as a single supplement. However, a new generation of cruise ships has added accommodations designed and priced for one occupant.
Quantum of the Seas, sailing Bahamian and Caribbean islands through April, and Anthem of the Seas, making its inaugural voyage on April 22, are Royal Caribbean International ships featuring 28 single cabins: 12 ocean-view rooms with balconies and 16 inside rooms with "virtual balconies," which are giant flat-screen TVs displaying real-time scenery. Norwegian Cruise Line offers interior studio staterooms with access to a private lounge on ships like the 4,200-passenger Norwegian Escape, launching from Southampton, England, this October. P&O Cruises' largest ship to date, the Britannia, will debut in March with 27 studio cabins, several with balconies. Holland America Line, meanwhile, will introduce its first solo accommodations on the Koningsdam, debuting in 2016.
Sail away on hosted singles cruises
Arranged by travel discounter Vacations To Go, singles cruises are an ideal choice for the social set. An onboard host organizes exclusive activities like trivia games and theme parties -- you might need a poodle skirt for a 1950s throwback, or add sparkle to your getup for a gold-rush bash. Single-mingle dining introduces you to many of your fellow travelers, and group shore excursions allow you to explore exciting destinations with newfound friends.
These hosted cruises are open to guests of all ages, but some itineraries cater to specific crowds. A weeklong Caribbean trip departing San Juan, Puerto Rico, on April 5 is for participants in their 20s, 30s and 40s, while an April 25 jaunt to the Virgin Islands and the Bahamas skews to cruisers 40 and older. You can have a cabin to yourself, but splitting the room with a friend or utilizing a roommate-matching program can greatly reduce your fare. On a seven-night sailing aboard the Norwegian Jade, departing Venice on Sept. 12 to see Greece, Turkey and the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, prices start at $1,164 for shared, double-occupancy cabins and $2,213 for private cabins.
Look for rate reductions
Solo vacationers can reduce supplemental fees on select tours and river cruises through shared lodging programs. Companies like Natural Habitat Adventures, Trafalgar, Collette and Avalon Waterways will attempt to pair you with a roommate of the same gender to save you a little money on your journey. NatHab, a popular wildlife-watching outfit, will charge only 50 percent of the singles supplement if they are unable to arrange a match before your departure.
You also can take advantage of the latest discounts. At press time, Abercrombie & Kent, Alexander+Roberts and Tauck were offering between $200 and $900 off certain departures. The 12-day "Canadian Maritimes," skimming the coasts of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, slashes $300 off the single supplement for tours leaving June 28 and Aug. 30. Among river cruise operators, single supplements were waived for the July 12 edition of "Danube Discovery," eight days in Austria and Germany with Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, and for select cabins on the July 3 and Oct. 10 departures of "Rhine Metropolises," six days with A-ROSA.
The information in this story was accurate at the time it was published in January/February 2015. Please visit Vacations To Go or call (800) 338-4962 for current rates and details.