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Your guide to a solo cruise holiday

Travelling by yourself means no compromising. It means you can choose your own adventure and fly by the seat of your pants. What better way to do that than on a cruise?

Remember, cruises can be the perfect melting pot of sweet solitude and group action, but you want to be well-informed before you book your trip. Keep reading for a roundup of tricks, tips and know-how to help you get the most out of solo cruising.

 

 

 

What is a ‘single supplement’ on a cruise?

This is a fee that the cruise liner places on a solo traveller. It ensures the cruise liner isn’t out of pocket due to the lack of another body in a double-occupancy room, as the majority of cabins on cruise ships are designed to accommodate two people. If you want to avoid the single supplement, you can find ships that cater to solo travellers with solo cabins, get on the mailing lists for cruise liners so you can scope out any last-minute distress rates or find a friend to share a stateroom with (or see if your cruise ship can match you with another solo guest).

Which ships have solo cabins?

Before Norwegian Cruise Line introduced solo cabins to the industry in 2010, solo cruisers were forced to pay the ‘single supplement.’ Now there’s a slow but steady revolution as solo cabins (also known as ‘studios’) are on the rise. Here’s a quick look at which cruise ships offer solo cabins.

Solo cruises: Choose your adventure

Cruises across the board are great conduits for humans to connect and create experiences together, but these ones take that extra step for solo travellers.

 

Royal Caribbean Cruises

Royal Caribbean cruises have a My Time Dining policy which will seat solo diners at larger tables upon request. They also have a bundle of group activities to ensure you’re in good company.

 

Holland America Line cruises

The Holland America Line, which won the Australian Cruise Critic’s Editor’s Choice Award in 2017 for the Solo Traveller category, has a Single Partners Program. Part of this program is a Solo Travellers Party that allows all the solo folk to mingle and get to know each other. There are also over 40 activities to help build connections between fellow solo travellers including wine tasting, cooking demos, exercise classes and team trivia. 

Norwegian Cruise Lines

Norwegian Cruise Lines introduced the first solo cabins to the industry and some of their ships with solo cabins have the Studio Complex and Lounge where single travellers can chill out together. Various activities also help single travellers connect with like-minded folk.

 

UnCruises

UnCruises are smaller, more intimate affairs that are ideal for solo travellers. The group activities and special treatment from the crew make everyone’s time onboard special (but they’re not ideal for those seeking anonymity and solitude).

U by uniWorld Cruises

U by UniWorld are designed as river cruises for millennials. They have dinners that are designed to share and no solo traveller gets left behind. As added perks, there’s a silent disco, a late brunch, a WhatsApp group instead of printed itineraries, and special rates for solo cruisers who are willing to share a room with fellow solo explorer.

Crystal Cruises

Crystal Cruises have Ambassador Hosts who’ll accompany solo cruisers on the dancefloor. Solo travellers can also request to be seated with other singles at dinner.

 

Tips for solo cruise travellers

Tip #1: Board with an open mind
Be open to any group activities that will help you mingle with fellow solo, and otherwise, travellers. You never know who you'll meet.

Tip #2: Book Early

This isn't thetype of holiday you want to leave to the last minute. Single cabins are limited on cruise ships, so they can book out quite quickly. 

Tip #3: Read the Fine Print
Make sure there’s no single supplement fee. And if you're trying to dodge it by opting for a cruise that requires you to fly to another destination to embark, make sure it adds up. You’ll likely be better off staying local and paying more for a double-occupancy cabin.

Tip #4: Do your homework
Make sure your chosen cruise is right for you. Check out the size of the solo cabins, the activities on board, the division of sea days to on-shore days, the people it’s targeting (you'll be sharing the cruise with these people) and how big the ship is.

Tip #5: Go bargain hunting
Join cruise line mailing lists to find out about upcoming no-single-supplement cruises. Some liners also have distress rates for cabins close to the boarding date, so you could score a discounted double-occupancy room, if you have a flexible schedule. 

Tip #6: Don’t completely discount double-occupancy rooms.
The single supplement fee could be worth the extra space they provide, especially if you’re a tad claustrophobic.

Tip #7: Get to know the crew (including the bartender)
You’ll have your local bar set up in no time, friendly faces you feel comfortable with and who know the lay of the land.

Tip #8: Let the cruise director know that you’re travelling solo
No, not as a pick-up line - they can help you map out ways to help you meet fellow solo cruisers.

Tip #9: Over 60 and Cruising solo?
Have a look at our Over-60s Guide to Cruising page for some extra morsels of info.

Tip #10: A room with a view
Get in early and try to nab a solo cabin with an ocean view. There may not be many on offer, so get in there.

Tip #11: Get covered
Taking care of yourself when you’re on your own is vitally important, so find out about our Cruise Pack here.

 

 

 

Common insurance questions for solo cruise travellers

  • Do I really need travel insurance? I’m on a budget.
  • What happens if I get so sick or injured that I can’t contact you?
  • I want to extend my trip - can I extend my cruise travel insurance policy?
 

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