Offering an easy and safe way to visit multiple destinations in comfort, cruising is a fabulous option for those travelling alone, especially for beginner solo travellers. However, brutal single supplements have placed solo cruising beyond the budget of many travellers.
I know because I have several solo cruises, many of which were not kind on my pocket.
The good news is that cruise lines are slowly recognising the growing solo traveller market and are introducing solo staterooms. But are these single cruise cabins good value?
Bottom line: don’t expect the price of a single cabin to be half that of a regular cabin and always compare the cost of a solo cruise stateroom to that of sole occupancy of an equivalent cabin.
To help you decide, I’ve reviewed the single cruise cabins offered by six of the most popular operators and what they offer to solo travellers.
Is a Single Cruise Cabin Worth it?
The higher costs associated with travelling alone are one of the reported key concerns of solo travellers. To help reduce this unfair solo travel “tax”, it is worth considering a single cabin as a solo traveller, but it is not your only option.
As a (very) general rule of thumb, expect your single cruise cabin to cost 125 to 160% more than that of someone who is sharing an equivalent cabin class. However, this may still be a good deal compared to typical cruise single occupancy supplements of between 125 and 200 per cent.
When you are planning a cruise, it pays to book as early as possible and this is more important if you are looking for a single room. Single cruise cabins are limited and coveted by solo travellers. Therefore, they can get booked up quickly. If you have your heart set on a single cabin, don’t delay.
You may find that there is not much of a difference and the regular cabin is in a better location. As it is impossible to provide a general comparison between the prices of single cabins and sole occupancy of regular ones, you will need to do this on a case-by-case basis.
My Experience of Booking a Solo Cruise
I’ll give you a real-life example. When I did my Norway fjords cruise on MS Britannia as a solo traveller in 2018, I booked a regular balcony cabin.
P&O’s Britannia has single balcony cabins, which is commendable. However, these cabins have smaller beds and are clustered together on the Lido deck in the corridor leading to one of the ship’s bars from the pool. This is an area that has a lot of footfall and can be noisy.
When I compared the prices of this single cabin with that of sole occupancy of a regular balcony cabin, the difference was marginal. Rejecting the single cabin was, therefore, a no-brainer.
It is encouraging that cruise lines are doing more to accommodate solo travellers. However, this is not as rosy as it appears on the surface, and solo cruisers continue to be unfairly penalised.
As the business model of cruising is predicated on generating profit through the onboard spend of their captive group of passengers, reduced ship occupancy is not desirable. Therefore, I don’t envisage this unfair taxation for solo cruise passengers ending anytime soon.
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) Single Cabins
Norwegian Cruise Line’s introduction of single cabins was marketing genius. Rebranding them as ‘Studio Cabins’, they are clustered together and include an exclusive lounge.
New for 2024, NCL has added Solo Oceanview and Solo Balcony staterooms. They promise that solo traveller pricing is less than a traditional double occupancy room.
What are NCL studio cabins like?
Measuring approximately 100 sq. ft., Norwegian’s studio cabins are compact. Whilst they are all interior, their (shaded) windows look out onto the corridor.
They have a full-size bed, hip multi-coloured lighting and a clean modern style.
At the time of updating this post (December 2023), information on the new Solo Oceanview and Solo Balcony staterooms was not available.
What extra amenities can solo travellers expect on NCL?
- Access to an exclusive singles’ lounge
- Meet-ups for solo travellers
Royal Caribbean Single Cruise Cabins
Although solo cabins do not have penetration across Royal Caribbean’s entire fleet, they do offer balcony staterooms.
What are Royal Caribbean’s single cabins like?
Royal Caribbean offers three types of single cruise cabins. Availability will depend on which ship you are sailing.
- Inside studio stateroom – similar in size to the studio cabins on NCL
- Virtual balcony stateroom – these innovative interior staterooms feature a floor-to-ceiling LED screen displaying real-time ocean (or port) views.
- Super studio balcony stateroom – Super studios are 199 sq. ft. with a 55 sq. ft. balcony and full-size beds.
What extra amenities can solo travellers expect on Royal Caribbean?
Meet and mingle events can usually be arranged in advance via Cruise Critic.
Celebrity Cruises Single Staterooms
I have always had a fantastic experience with Celebrity, from the balmy beaches of the Western Caribbean to the bracing winds of the Baltic cities. However, they have been slow off the blocks when it comes to accommodating solo travellers.
What are Celebrity’s single cruise cabins like?
Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Apex, Celebrity Beyond and Celebrity Ascent offer the cruise line’s first cabin designed for the solo traveller, Single Stateroom with Infinite Veranda.
As the name suggests, this stateroom has a balcony, but this is a balcony with a difference. At the push of a button, the veranda doors slide into the sides of the room, transforming the entire stateroom into a large veranda.
At 142 sq feet, this is smaller than the regular Stateroom with Infinite Veranda but does feature a queen-sized bed.
Celebrity Silhouette features four Inside Single Staterooms. These measure up at 103 sq. ft.
What extra amenities can solo travellers expect on Celebrity?
The itineraries on most of Celebrity’s ships have events for solo cruisers. For example, on the first night of the cruise, there is typically a meet-and-mingle event for solo cruise passengers.
P&O Single Cruise Cabins
One of the grand old dames of traditional British cruising, P&O is usually more affordable than Celebrity.
What are P&O’s single cabins like?
Like Royal Caribbean, the type of solo cabin will depend on the ship.
- Single interior cabins.
- Single sea view cabins
- Single balcony cabins.
Note also that you will be sleeping in a single bed in these cabins. Arcadia and Aurora are adult-only ships, perfect for those looking for a child-free holiday.
What extra amenities can solo travellers expect on P&O?
There are coffee mornings for solo travellers on cruises over three nights duration.
Cunard Single Cruise Staterooms
Cunard is theepitome of elegant, traditional cruising. It offers single cabins across its fleet of three ships: Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.
What are Cunard’s single cabins like?
Cunard’s ships have Single Inside staterooms and Single Oceanview staterooms.
These are centrally located, close to the theatre and ballroom. However, this relatively busy location may not suit all passengers.
What extra amenities can solo travellers expect on Cunard?
Cunard hosts coffee mornings and dedicated daytime activities for solo travellers.
Holland America Line Single Cabins
The Seattle-based Holland America Line (HAL) is another cruise line in the premium mould. Much of its fleet is getting on in years but the company has recently invested in upgrading its ships.
What are HAL’s single cabins like?
All three ships offer roomy Single Ocean View Rooms (127 – 172 sq. ft) featuring a queen-sized bed.
What extra amenities can solo travellers expect on HAL?
Holland America Line usually excels at offering activities for solo travellers including cocktail parties, exercise classes, lectures, wine tasting and trivia contests.
Other Popular Operators Offering Single Cruise Cabins
Single cruise cabins aren’t restricted to these six operators. Let’s take a quick look at what’s on offer for solo travellers from other cruise lines.
This British-based cruise line for the over-50s has a decent number of single staterooms on offer.
Saga holds cocktail parties for solo cruisers and there are get-togethers before each port for those who aren’t keen on going ashore alone.
Several all-inclusive Marella ships offer inside and outside single staterooms.
Onboard Social Hostesses arrange meet-ups for single travellers and will arrange for those travelling alone the opportunity to dine together.
Virgin Voyages is the trendy new kid on the block and its two ships – Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady – have solo inside and outside cabins.
These adult-only ships include food from over 20 venues, wifi and group workouts as standard.
I hope that this review helps you determine if a single cruise cabin is good or bad for you
If you have found this review helpful, take a look at my guide to booking a cruise and which cruise cabins to avoid. For cruising inspiration, here are some of my favourite cruises to stoke your wanderlust:
- Western Mediterranean Cruise: Essential Tips, Ports & NCL Epic Review
- Baltic Capitals Cruise on Celebrity Silhouette: Review, Port Guides & Essential Tips
- Norwegian Fjords Cruise: Essential Tips, Review & Port Guides
- Highlights of a Western Caribbean Cruise
- The Ultimate Greek Islands & Adriatic Cruise Guide (on MSC Sinfonia)
Bridget Coleman has been a passionate traveller for more than 30 years. She has visited 70+ countries, most as a solo traveller.
Articles on this site reflect her first-hand experiences.
To get in touch, email her at email@example.com or follow her on social media.