We’re huge advocates for cruising solo, be it on the oceans of the world or on the rivers. It’s nice to cruise with friends, family and loved ones, but some of you need — or want — to sail somewhere by yourself.
People cruise solo for many reasons, and doing so doesn’t always imply that they’re single. Many are happily married individuals, or people in long-term relationships, who have massive circles of friends. Others are widowed, divorced, or indeed single travellers who don’t see the point to waiting around for someone to do the same things they’d like to do.
Booking a solo cruise, however, can be a trying experience. Increased fares, raised with the introduction of what feels like a punitive “single supplement,” can make it seem like you’re paying for two full guests when you’re only sailing for one – and indeed, some supplements do just that.
But cruise lines are growing more accustomed (and informed) about the increasing number of guests who want to sail solo – and lines are answering the call in a number of different ways. Here’s what you should look for if you’re planning a solo river cruise (or, frankly, ocean cruise) in the upcoming months.
Single Occupancy Staterooms
Possibly the best invention for the solo traveller, Single Occupancy Staterooms are just that: smaller rooms designed for one. Sure, you’re trading off some space for a lower fare, but isn’t that the point? And let’s be frank: While small, these rooms offer everything their larger counterparts do in terms of amenities.
Many newer river cruise ships feature at least a handful of solo occupancy staterooms, although their sizes and availability will vary from line to line. It’s best to take a look at some brochures and deck plans to see which lines offer what.
Single Supplement Sales
So you looked, and your river cruise line of choice offers no Single Occupancy Staterooms. Look to see if the company is offering something called a Single Supplement Sale, or waiver.
Essentially, this makes certain stateroom categories (typically lower-level accommodations) more palatable to the solo cruiser. The cruise companies either reduce — or altogether eliminate — the onerous Solo Supplement fare.
Now, that’s not to say that if you’re travelling solo that you have to book one of these staterooms; you can go ahead and book the biggest suite on the ship, if you’d like. Just be forewarned that nearly all upper-level accommodations will have a single supplement fare pegged at 200 percent, so you’re essentially doling out the equivalent of two full-paying guests.
If you want to get onboard for a reduced cost, a Single Supplement sale or waiver may be just the answer.
Although it doesn’t get around the single supplement, travelling during off-peak months can seem like you’re saving a bundle – because you are. For the solo traveller looking to see Europe and maximize their Euros, traveling off-peak has a number of advantages.
Firstly, your airfare will typically cost less than during the high-season summer months. That goes for hotels as well, which regularly offer discounts to lure travelers during the off-season. Museums are less crowded, bike paths are less busy, and the experience on the whole is generally more pleasant. And, you’re saving money at the same time; who doesn’t love that?
The golden ticket, of course, is a solo supplement sale or waiver during off-peak season – which does happen. So keep an eye out for those deals.
Also see Single Supplements for a company-by-company rundown on which cruise lines offer savings for single travelers.
Check out 2019 solo sailings on Riviera. See Riviera River Cruises Expands 2019 Solo Traveler Program