Best Cruise Lines for Women Solo Travellers (and 4 That the Experts Have Forgotten)
Being a solo traveller has its own set of unique challenges, especially when it comes to cruising. It is really the only form of travel that charges a single traveller a supplement. Logically it makes sense because cruise ships have historically been designed for couples – the only demographic the cruise lines thought would ever be cruising.
Cruise lines charge per person and ‘double occupancy’ is the model they have built their business around. So, if there is just one person staying in a room designed (and costed) for 2, the dreaded single supplement makes sense – kind of!
Single Cruisers are Making Waves
There is a growing community of solo woman travellers who just want to cruise by themselves! They are interested in River Cruises, Ocean Cruises and a growing number want to travel solo on a World Cruise! Some cruise lines don’t make any real provisions for solo travellers at all, but in the last few years there have been some breakthroughs. This year, in many cases, the single supplement is often reduced and cruise lines are actively marketing to the single traveller market.
The Cruise Industry is Responding to the Demands of Solo Travellers
Some cruise lines like Norwegian offer single studio rooms. Others are adding single rooms to new ships. There is a lot of positive momentum. Side note. I swear the first cruise line to spend a few billion dollars designing and launching an exclusively solo cruise ship with 1000’s of single rooms will make an absolute fortune! Shall we start a crowdfunding initiative?
But there has been real progress! In her most recent refit last year, Cunard Line added a total of 15 staterooms designed for cruisers sailing on their own to Queen Mary 2. They carved out of space that formerly made up part of the ship’s casino and Art Gallery. I imagine every one of those single rooms is booked for the next 2 years!
Single Rooms are Not Rare Breeds Anymore
More cruise lines are offering single cabins, perfect for just one person; some may also have an exclusive solo traveller lounge, so you can relax more easily in a dedicated space. Cunard and Royal Caribbean are examples of cruise lines with solo cabins. River cruise lines that offer solo cabins include American Queen Steamboat Company, Ama Waterways, and Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours.
So, in the meantime creative and persistent research is the name of the game. There are several cruise travel agencies like Passion for Cruises, Mundy Cruising, Solo Traveller, Singles Travels International and Vacations to Go that are rising to meet the opportunity of solo travellers. The list is evolving every day but here are a few cruise lines that offer affordable solo cruises.
Cruise Lines That Appreciate Solo Travellers
When I say “appreciate” solo travellers, I mean cruise lines that understand the opportunity and offer on board activities and reduced or no single supplements for select cruises. They are still working with ships that were designed for couples, so making accommodations for solo cruisers in a measured way. Cruise Critic have listed the following the top cruise lines they consider being great for solo travellers.
- Norwegian Cruise Line
- Holland America
- Royal Caribbean International
- Silversea Cruises
- Crystal Cruises
- Seabourn Cruise Line
- Cunard Line
In addition, there are four other cruise lines that I would personally recommend.
Touring specialist Riviera Travel offers a selection of river trips exclusively for solo travellers as part of their Solo Traveller Collection. If this is your first river cruise, you can opt for a classic itinerary such as the eight-day Blue Danube, which starts and ends in Budapest. Highlights include a classical music recital on board and include tours of Vienna and Salzburg.
For cruise guests travelling on their own, Fred. Olsen offers several single occupancy rooms on each of their cruise ships. Select cruises offer travel with no single supplement. For example, to mark the launch of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ programme of European River Cruises for 2019, they are offering guests a choice of fantastic benefits, including a ‘No Single Supplement’ offer available on a wide selection of 2019 Brabant river cruises.
Tauck River Cruises
Tauck takes a special interest in solo travellers and do not charge a single supplement for category 1 cabins on any of their European river cruises, Their Danube Cruise in July 2019 for example, includes a two-night stay in stunning Prague before sailing east through Germany, Austria and Slovakia. The cruise includes the stunning Wachau Valley and stops in Vienna, Salzburg, and Budapest.
French cruise line Ponant have waived the single supplement on a number of cruises on board their stylish yachts including a cruise from Lisbon to Tenerife with stops at Málaga, Cádiz and Casablanca on the way to Madeira and the Canary Islands. Here is a link to information on all their selected no single supplement cruises.
Avalon, Ama Waterways, Quark Expeditions, Azamara and Silversea are also mentioned on this great list of cruises with no single supplement from Cruise Specialist.
So, 2019 promises all kinds of wonderful single supplement free cruise opportunities. It does take some research time. But if your passion for solo cruising can motivate you enough to do a little investigation and find the financial way to make it happen, it is well worth the effort!
Which cruise lines have you found are reducing their single supplement and offering fabulous cruises for solo cruisers? Please share your solo cruise experiences – we want to hear from you! Let’s start a conversation.