Offering an easy and safe way to visit multiple destinations in comfort, cruising is a fabulous option for those travelling alone. It’s a shame then that an absence of single cruise cabins and single supplements approaching 100 per cent have penalised solo travellers.
Here’s the thing; it has not been in cruise lines’ interests to include single cabins.
Traditionally, cruise operators have worked on a financial model based on double occupancy of a cabin or stateroom. Whilst single cabins take up almost as much square footage as twin cabins, they generate half the revenue.
However, the tide is turning.
Cruise lines are slowly recognising the growing and lucrative solo traveller market, and are designing their ships accordingly. With the introduction of their stylish single cabins, Norwegian Cruise Line has led the charge, and other operators are following suit.
But do these shiny new single cruise cabins represent good value to the solo traveller? To help you decide, let’s take a look at what six of the most popular cruise lines are offering solo travellers.
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.
Which NCL ships have studio cabins?
Studio cabins are available on the following NCL ships:
• Norwegian Bliss
• Norwegian Breakaway
• Norwegian Encore
• Norwegian Epic
• Norwegian Escape
• Norwegian Getaway
• Norwegian Prima (from August 2022)
• Norwegian Viva (from summer 2023)
• Pride of America.
What are NCL’s 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 boast a full-size bed, hip multi-coloured lighting and a clean modern style.
What extra amenities can solo travellers expect on NCL?
- Access to an exclusive singles’ lounge
- Meet-ups and bar crawls for solo travellers
Royal Caribbean Single Cabins
Although solo cabins do not have penetration across Royal Caribbean’s entire fleet, they do offer balcony staterooms.
Which Royal Caribbean ships have single cabins?
These Royal Caribbean ships offer cabins for single occupancy:
• Quantum of the Seas
• Anthem of the Seas
• Ovation of the Seas
• Spectrum of the Seas
• Harmony of the Seas
• Brilliance of the Seas
• Adventure of the Seas
• Jewel of the Seas,
• Mariner of the Seas
• Radiance of the Seas
• Serenade of the Seas
• Odyssey of the Seas
• Wonder of the Seas
What are Royal Caribbean’s single cabins like?
The type of stateroom will depend on which ship you are sailing on.
Let’s take a look at their Quantum Class ships – Quantum, Anthem, Ovation and Spectrum – first. These ships offer two types of solo cabins for those travelling alone:
- Studio interior stateroom with a virtual view – similar in size to the studio cabins on NCL, these innovative 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.
Harmony of the Seas and Wonder of the Seas (launching in 2022) feature Studio Interior and Studio Ocean View cabins.
Adventure of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas and Odyssey of the Seas (launching in 2022) feature Studio Interior staterooms only. The availability of these solo cabins is limited to 2 -5 per ship.
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 Cabins
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.
Which Celebrity ships have single cabins?
Celebrity Apex and Edge have single cabins. Celebrity Silhouette will also have four inside single staterooms for solo travellers.
What are Celebrity’s single cruise cabins like?
Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Apex feature their 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.
There are only 16 of these single cabins on Celebrity Edge; 24 on Celebrity Apex.
These solo balcony cabins will also be available on Celebrity Beyond (launching Summer 2022) and Celebrity Ascent (launching Autumn 2023).
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 Cabins
One of the grand old dames of traditional British cruising, P&O is usually more affordable than Celebrity.
Do P&O Cruises have single cabins?
The following P&O ships have single cabins for solo travellers:
What are P&O’s single cabins like?
Like Royal Caribbean, the type of solo cabin will depend on the ship.
Arcadia, Azura, Britannia, Iona and Ventura have a small number of single interior cabins.
Aurora, Azura and Ventura have single sea view cabins
Arcadia, Aurora, Iona and Britannia have single balcony cabins.
Arvia (launching Juanuary 2023) has both single interior cabins and single balcony cabins.
Note also that you will be sleeping in a single bed in all of 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 Cabins
Cunard is the epitome of elegant, traditional cruising.
Does Cunard have single cabins?
Cunard 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.
Which Holland America ships have single cabins?
The Koningsdam, Prisendam and Nieuw Statendam have single cruise cabins.
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 dedicated single staterooms on offer. Cabins for solo travellers are available on the following ships:
- Saga Sapphire
- Saga Pearl II
- Spirit of Discovery
- Spirit of Adventure
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.
These all-inclusive Marella ships offer inside and outside single staterooms:
- Marella Dream
- Marella Celebration
- Marella Spirit
- Marella Majesty
- Marella Discovery
- Marella Discovery 2
- Marella Explorer
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.
Is a Single Cruise Cabin Good Value? Tips for Booking Cruises with Single Cabins
The higher costs associated with travelling alone is 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.
First and foremost, don’t expect the price of a single cabin to be half that of a regular cabin.
As a (very) general rule of thumb, expect your fare to be 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 more important is 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.
It pays to compare the cost of a single cabin to that of sole occupancy of an equivalent cabin.
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.
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.