May 24, 2024

Solo Passengers

Solo passengers can feel comfortable anywhere on a cruise ship.

Women have long paired up with female friends for companionship and security while travelling. Cruise ships provide a sociable and safe setting for single travellers, so the main reason to pair up is to avoid paying the dreaded single supplement.

A friend recently wrote to me about a fare she was quoted for a stateroom on a premium ship sailing a seven-day Alaska cruise from Vancouver. “I’ve been told that the cost of the cruise (about US$2,600) is the cost of the cabin and I’m having to pay the fare of a non-existent travelling companion! T’was ever thus as a single traveller, “ she added, “although it seems a reasonable amount to pay.”

A lot of solo passengers don’t mind paying the single supplement for a stateroom. Often they have no choice because the majority of cruise ships contain no single-occupancy staterooms. However, the British cruise lines P&O and Fred.Olsen Cruises do have some single staterooms on their ships, and this trend is starting to take off with North American-based cruise lines. For instance, the new megaships being launched by Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and Royal Caribbean International (RCI) feature a limited number of studio cabins. Other ships, such as Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth and NCL’s Pride of America, have been retrofitted with a small number of single staterooms. These studio cabins tend to sell out quickly, so there appears to be a healthy demand for them.

Up until now, the growing family market has driven much of the increase in variety of staterooms in order to accommodate families and family groups. Ironically, the increased popularity of multi-generational travel could also spur cruise lines to install more single cabins that will accommodate, for instance, a grandmother travelling with adult children and grandchildren who prefers to have her own cabin rather than sharing with a member of the extended family.

The cruise lines responded to the needs of family travellers by providing expanded children’s facilities, flexible dining options, interconnecting staterooms and family suites. It seems inevitable they will respond to the growing demand for single cabins to appeal to solo passengers who desire their own cabin without paying for a phantom roommate.

Avatar photo About Anne Vipond

Anne Vipond is the author of several guidebooks to cruising destinations around the world. She draws on an extensive sailing background to impart her enthusiasm for cruise travel. From her home port of Vancouver, she travels by cruise ship to a wide range of destinations to keep her books current and useful for her cruise readers. Her cruising articles have been published in magazines and newspapers throughout North America and over seas.