If you travel alone, whether by choice or by circumstance, you know one of the biggest impediments to getting a good deal can be the single supplement every travel provider seems to charge. It’s an annoying obstacle, especially when you consider it seems as though the cruise lines are actually saving money by not having another person onboard, yet it’s a charge they will continue to impose for as long as night follows day. But believe it or not, there are ways around this imposition.
We have taken a look at some of the most popular ways you can reduce or remove the single supplement on your next cruise.
Look for ships that offer solo cabins
One of the hot trends for many cruise ships right now is for staterooms specifically designed for one – which mean no single supplement! Ships like Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Epic (pictured above), Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas and even Cunard’s famed Queen Mary 2 either already do or will soon feature solo staterooms of varying standard.
These can range from inside studios on Norwegian’s Pride of America to solo balcony staterooms on Queen Mary 2, there is now a single supplement free option for every budget on many of the world’s most popular cruise brands.
Norwegian Cruise Line even takes the concept one step further by offering guests in single studio staterooms the opportunity to mingle with their fellow solo travellers in an exclusive lounge area with bar service and an oversized movie screen. Great way to make new friends!
Luxury cruises often work out better value
Although they’re almost always more expensive than mainstream lines, ocean brands such as Ponant, Crystal and Regent Seven Seas offer significantly reduced single supplements and on many sailings don’t charge one at all. Due to the all-inclusive nature of these cruise lines, you may actually come out ahead if you enjoy your beverages or specialty dining.
The same notion can often apply with river cruise brands if you keep your eyes peeled for ads trying to catch your attention. As these brands are on a push for bookings, extra charges such as single supplements are often the first things to disappear.
Consider cruising in the off-season
Quite often cruise lines will adopt a reduced single supplement, or remove it entirely, to fill ships that aren’t selling fast, so keep an eye on repositioning sailings with extended periods at sea, as well as shoulder season voyages. Cruises that are generally reduced for twin share guests may also have significant savings for singles too, so always check each time cruise lines release their latest promotions.
Seek out singles cruiser groups on social media
If you have a look on social media, you will quickly unearth many social groups dedicated to singles that enjoy cruising and meeting new people. In these groups, people post a variety of specials and offers they have already taken advantage of, so check these out when you’re shopping for your next cruise as it might not only inspire you to visit a new part of the world, but may introduce you to some new friends who share this interest.
Compare prices with a single supplement against a fare for two people
Always check what the price of your cruise might be as if you were travelling with a second person. Quite often, it can be cheaper to do this than to pay the single supplement. Even if two people don’t end up sailing, you have saved money and can even change the name of the phantom guest you booked right up until a few days before sailing, so if a friend or family member can actually sail at the last minute you can take them for free!
Look to river cruising as an alternative
If you can’t find an ocean cruise to suit your needs, consider your river cruising options. Last-minute deals in Asia and Europe often see the single supplement removed on river cruises, while some earlybird booking deals carry greatly reduced single surcharges. The small intimate nature of river cruising also invites singles to mix with people much easier than on large ocean sized vessels.
Sign up to travel agent mailing lists
If you already have a favourite travel agent, he or she may be aware you generally travel by yourself and will have their finger on the pulse whenever a travel opportunity comes up which may be of interest to you. If not, get on the mailing list of some of your local agents as their newsletters may present these opportunities to you.
If a particular ocean, river or even expedition cruise brand is running a special voyage or if a retail travel group is promoting a charter or an itinerary it has put together itself, you may find single supplements have been significantly reduced or eliminated altogether.
Do you cruise solo? Tell us your favourite cruising solo experience in the comments below!