Doing a river cruise alone was one of the most fulfilling travel experiences of my life. There is something about traveling solo that makes me feel fiercely independent and unstoppable. The only downside to traveling solo, however, is the cost. Well … sometimes.
Solo passengers often have to pay single supplements, meaning that they usually must dole out what a couple would pay for the same stateroom. Though single supplements can run high, some companies waive these fees. Some river cruise operators also have solo cabins, or, in Riviera’s case, a waived solo supplement for a certain amount of travelers on every departure. But more on that in a minute. First, let’s talk about what cruising alone is really like.
Nervous & Alone
Doing things alone can be intimidating – and this is coming from someone who has been flying solo since age 13. We are programmed to form relationships and share memories with companions. The thing that we often don’t think about when considering traveling solo, though, is that relationships will be made. I often joke that when I travel by myself I couldn’t eat alone even if I wanted to. Because river cruise vessels are so small, you are surrounded by other cruise guests most of the time when you are in public areas. Though I often travel alone, I find hard to get solitude unless it is in the comfort of my stateroom.
On my recent trip aboard AmaViola, I made many friends. Whether these friends were made over dinner or during excursions, I felt that I had a solid group at the end of the eight-day sailing. However, it didn’t start out that way. On my first day aboard, I was very nervous. Yes, I was traveling alone, but I was also significantly younger than the average river cruise passenger. As I waited for my room to be ready, I sat alone working and reading a book.
It wasn’t until the nightly social hour that I talked with fellow passengers. And even then, I sat tucked away in a corner. I was nervous, and I was scared to be alone in another country with groups of people that I didn’t know.
After sitting alone for a couple minutes, space began to become a bit tighter, and an older couple came to sit with me. We were instant friends, and ended up having dinner together our second night aboard. It was that simple. The first night aboard, and I already had two new friends.
One day I decided to go to lunch alone. I brought my book with me, fully expecting to have a bit of reading time while I waited for my daily cup of soup. In no less than five minutes, I was asked by two women if they could join me. That’s just how it works. So, while you may be nervous about traveling alone, there is plenty of opportunity to make connections with your fellow travelers.
Singles Often Pay More, But Not Always
Single supplements are not the only important thing to factor in to your cruise when traveling by yourself. They are also important when looking at traveling in groups. Some groups choose to bunk together, however if you want your own room while traveling with a group of friends, you should look to the reduced or waived single supplement programs that some cruise lines offer.
First, we will talk about Riviera since we mentioned them at the beginning. As stated, Riviera offers a select number of waived single supplements on every sailing. On each departure, Riviera offers between four and six cabins with no single supplement. Let me reiterate that that is on every departure that Riviera offers.
That is not the only solution that Riviera provides for solo travelers, though. The line also offers solo traveler cruises. On each of these sailings, all single supplements are waived. Not only are these sailings nice because of the ability to get many different solo travelers together, but they are also great for groups of travelers. If you are planning on taking a river cruise with a group of friends, everyone could book a cabin to themselves without having to pay anything extra.
Tauck is another cruise line that offers waived single supplements on every departure. When booking the lowest category stateroom, the single supplement is waived. Just keep in mind that there are a limited number of these category one cabins, so it is important to check availability.
Tauck and Riviera are the only two cruise lines that waive single supplements on each sailing offered. However, that doesn’t mean that other cruise lines charge single supplements on every sailing. Many cruise lines offer incentives for solo travelers on select itineraries.
Avalon Waterways is waiving the single supplement on select 2019 sailings. Bookings must be made by August 27, 2019. There is also a five-stateroom limit per sailing. So, if you are looking to book a solo cruise with Avalon, now is a great time to do it. Additional information can be found here.
Also offering savings for 2019 cruises is CroisiEurope. CroisiEurope has waived the single supplement on select July and August 2019 departures. Sailings vary in location from Portugal, to Spain, to France. There are also ships in CroisiEurope’s fleet with solo cabins which will, of course, not have a single supplement. More information on these itineraries can be found here.
Emerald Waterways is offering a waived single supplement on multiple sailings for 2019. These include the line’s popular Majestic Rhine, Danube Explorer, and Splendours of Europe itineraries, among others. See more about these sailings here.
Emerald Waterways’ sister company, Scenic, offers a similar deal for solo travelers with single supplements waived on select itineraries. These itineraries include Bordeaux Affair, Rhine Highlights, Jewels of Russia, and more. More on these sailings can be found here.
Last on our list of cruise lines offering reduced or waived single supplements is Uniworld. Uniworld is waiving single supplements on select 2019 sailings including the Enchanting Danube, Castles Along The Rhine, Magnificent Moselle & Rhine itineraries, and more. The full list of sailings can be found here.
AmaWaterways charges an additional single supplement for sailings; however, the popular river cruise company often has promotions that allow guests to save with either reduced or waived single supplements on select sailings. Though there are currently no promotions, promos run fairly frequently.
Like AmaWaterways, Viking also offers promotions for solo travelers. There are currently no active promotions. Single supplement fees range from 150 to 200 percent. Also offering an occasional promotion is American Queen Steamboat Company. Without a promotion, guests will be looking at a single supplement fee of 150 percent.
Lastly, Crystal River Cruises single supplement fees start low at 110 percent, but can go all the way up to the high end at 200 percent. These fees depend on stateroom category and availability.
|AmaWaterways||Additional single supplement fee.|
|Avalon Waterways||Single Supplement waived on select 2019 sailing booked by August 27, 2019.|
|American Queen Steamboat Company||150% single supplement fee.|
|CroisiEurope||No single supplement on select July and August 2019 departures.|
|Crystal River Cruises||Additional single supplement from 110 percent. |
|Emerald Waterways||Waived single supplement on multiple sailings.|
|Riviera||Between 4 and 6 cabins with no single supplement on every sailing. |
|Scenic||Single supplement waived on select 2019 sailings.|
|Tauck||No single supplement in all category one cabins.|
|Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection||Waived single supplement on select 2019 sailings.|
|Viking River Cruises||150-200% single supplement fee.|
Listen to the podcast, Avid Travel With Britton Frost – Single Supplements & Solo Travel
Read more about single supplements in the following articles: