Jane Archer offers some useful advice for those travelling alone on cruise ships. There has never been a better time for people who like to cruise alone. A bold statement maybe, and one with which those who hanker for the tiny single cabins on the old QE2 will doubtless disagree – but it’s true.
Two years ago if you wanted a single cabin you had a choice between Saga Cruises and Fred Olsen, the one for the over-50s, the other loved by the over-60s, and a handful of other cruise lines that attracted those of a similar age.
Today, those in their 20s can travel alone – and have a ball – on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Epic, a lively family-friendly cruise ship. and the first new vessel for years with a substantial number of single cabins.
And, as noted by Which? Travel in a report this week, more cruise lines are offering either low single supplements or none at all, in recognition of the fact that more people are choosing to live and take their holidays alone.
These can hurt – up to 100% more than the twin share per person price so you are paying for yourself and another non-existent, person. But keep an eye out for several cruise lines that have no single supplement offers now and then. Saga, Hurtigruten, Voyages to Antiquity and MSC Cruises are ones to watch.
Single cabins vary from being pokey inside rooms to reasonably spacious balcony staterooms. It pays to shop around. Fred Olsen has everything from inside to balcony cabins, Swan Hellenic has just nine inside single cabins, Norwegian Cruise Line’s 128 studio cabins are all inside and just 100 square feet – but you do get the singles lounge for socializing.
Holland America Line, Fred Olsen and Avalon Waterways have single share schemes, where they pair solo passengers with another same sex lone traveler. If they can’t find anyone, you get a double cabin to yourself without paying a supplement.
Some cruise lines have fixed dining, where you eat at the same time on a pre-allocated table each night. Others have open dining, allowing you to eat when and with whom you want. Single-friendly lines – Fred Olsen, Swan Hellenic, P&O; Cruises – have cocktail parties and coffee mornings so solo travelers can meet others.