General

Singletons can now Choose to Cruise

With rare exception, a single or solo can expect to pay between 150 and 200 percent of a cruise fare. Why you may ask? The supplement is intended to cover the cost of a “non” passenger. A single passenger creates, in cruise-speak, “spoilage”; not only an empty bed that doesn’t add booking revenue, but also a non-passenger that does not add auxiliary revenue from drink sales, casino use, shore excursions and spa treatments.

If you are accustomed to travelling solo, you now have some affordable options. And no doubt you will be pleased. Cruise lines are beginning to recognize the importance of the singles market, or more to the point, the significant size of the market that travels solo.

So finally, you can consider a cruise without having to pay double; or at the minimum a single supplement (Three words dreaded by singletons who love to travel, or alternatively dread to travel because of the daunting costs)

‘Research shows that 35 million adults take solo vacations but only five per cent opt for cruises,’ said Courtney Recht, public relations manager for Norwegian Cruise Line. ‘There’s a sizable market out there, but there’s discontent around the single surcharge. Norwegian has now given the solo traveller the same opportunities as anyone else.’

When the 4,200-passenger Norwegian Epic begins sailing in July, the ship will feature 128 studio staterooms within a separate complex accessed by keycard. Each of the 100 sq ft studio staterooms will include a full-size bed, flat screen TV, storage spaces and colour-changing mood lighting. Since many of the studio staterooms are connecting, they allow friends to travel together while providing each passenger their own private space.

The staterooms will be off a private interior corridor along the mid- ship on two decks. The studio complex will also include a private two-storey lounge called The Living Room. Spanning both decks, and located mid-ship, the Living Room will be where studio guests can enjoy morning coffees and evening cocktails, and socialize.

This past April, P&O Cruises launched the Azura and like the Epic will feature a number of single cabins that can be booked without paying a single supplement. The Azura will accommodate a maximum 3,597 passengers.

P&O’s Azura will feature 18 single cabins with a Pullman berth in 12 outside cabins and six inside cabins. Larger in size than the Epic’s studios, these single cabins will be 130 sq ft and all of the cabins will be located on the same deck.

The Norwegian Epic will spend this summer in the Mediterranean and then reposition to the Caribbean for the winter. The P&O Azura will begin her inaugural season in Europe, and then cruise the Caribbean for the winter.

Many other cruise line companies are currently charging single supplements ranging between 125 and 200 percent. But, as many ships and cruise fares are capacity controlled and subject to availability, you can watch for early or mid-season booking sales which may reduce a supplement fee to as low as 110 percent.

All in all, given the myriad of ships, cruise line single supplement policies, where in the world you want to travel, early booking incentives, airfare credits and last-minute sales, finding an affordable cruise aboard a ship that is appealing has become somewhat of a daunting task. But isn’t part of the fun and adventure of travelling in the planning and anticipation of finally arriving!? Hence, to save yourself weeks of attempting to compare ships, on-board singles activities and securing the best possible fares and cabin choices, consult a travel agent that is a cruise expert!

One program you may want to consider, which is offered by a few cruise lines, is a Single or Find a Partner Share Program. Although this may intimidate some, the programs attempt to match solo passengers of the same sex to share a cabin, which means of course no single supplement charges. Some lines will even guaranty that if no partner can is found, you’ll pay just the double occupancy price.

So, since the cruise are now recognizing the importance of you!, you can now choose to cruise, and you have a myriad of choices to consider. So, consult a knowledgeable travel agent, book your dream and then shop for an appropriate cruise wardrobe. Half the fun is in the planning!

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