Sailing alone can be quite daunting, especially if it’s the first time you’ve travelled by yourself. To help diminish those first time solo cruiser nerves, we’ve pulled together a complete guide to solo cruises, answering some of the most commonly asked questions and offering handy hints and tips so you can make the most of your next cruise adventure.

Take a look at all our cruises

Group of solo travellers dining together

What is a single supplement and will I have to pay one?

When booking a solo cruise, one of the main questions you’ll have is “Will I have to pay a single supplement?” But what does it mean? In short, a single supplement is a surcharge paid by a passenger to cover the cost of double occupancy for your cabin. Most cruise line cabins are sold based on a price per person for double/family occupancy, so if you are a single traveller, the cruise line will normally add on a surcharge, which can range from 10% to 100% so that they don’t lose too much money.

There are a handful of cruise lines who offer specific sailings with ‘No single supplement’, or, have a selection of ‘singles cabins’ ranging from inside to suites, where the sole intention is to accommodate singles and therefore offer them at lower prices than those lines which have only double or family cabins.

If you have a specific cruise line or itinerary in mind which doesn’t offer a tailored single package, it may be worth looking at the possibility of sailing with a friend and sharing a twin cabin to eliminate the need to pay the solo supplement yourself. In addition, there are a number of online cruise forums which provide solo cruisers with a platform to ‘meet’ fellow singles and plan a cruise together to share the cabin.

Dining options for solo cruisers

The prospect of dining on your own can be quite daunting, particularly if you’ve never actually stepped foot on a cruise ship before. The sheer size of some cruise liners is enough to make even the hardiest of individuals a bit overwhelmed, so factor in having to arrange a table for yourself in a dining hall full of over 1000 other passengers and we understand your trepidation . Thankfully, solo cruisers aren’t the black sheep of the family that you may think! With more and more cruise liners now offering specialist solo packages, people are starting to accept solo cruisers as ‘the norm, and rightly so!

 

First thing’s first - before you embark, take a look around the ship’s deck plan online or in any paperwork sent to you prior to your embarkation. All on board restaurants will be listed within your itinerary pack, so you’ll be able to plan where you want to eat in advance, meaning you have a clear plan of which, if any, will need to be booked in advance. The majority of restaurants on board will likely be on a first come first served basis, so if you’re happy to just rock up every lunchtime and evening and take your chances and aren’t fussed on who with or where you sit, then that’s pretty much all you need to do.

 

If, however, you are looking for a table for one or would like to meet new people, head to the restaurant and ask them if they can seat you with other fellow solo cruisers or arrange a single table for you. The likelihood is that they will be more than happy to accommodate your needs.

 

A lot of cruise lines now have an app service for you to make reservations from, meaning you can do so before you even embark. While this does guarantee you a table (providing everyone else hasn’t already booked in advance), it may not allow you to make specific requests, i.e. please sit me with a group of fellow solo cruises. In this event, we recommend heading to the restaurant yourself. However you choose to dine while on your cruise, we guarantee there’ll be something for you.

Do any cruise lines offer single cabins?

In short, yes! And a large proportion of new liners coming into service have increased the capacity for solo cruisers by adding even more dedicated single cabins, thus reducing the single supplement that you have to pay. Here’s a comprehensive list of what each cruise line we work with offers solo cruise passengers:

 

  • Ambassador Cruise Lines - 89 dedicated single cabins available for a special single supplement

  • Azamara - No dedicated solo cabins. Singles pay the double occupancy fare plus 50%

  • Carnival Cruise Lines - No dedicated solo cabins. Singles pay the double occupancy fare plus an additional % (cruise dependant) 

  • Celebrity Cruises - Selection of dedicated single cabins (varies on each ship) with reduced supplement

  • Cunard - Selection of dedicated single cabins in all grades available on all Cunard ships - Queen Mary 2 (15) and Queen Elizabeth & Queen Victoria (9) 

  • Fred. Olsen - 190 dedicated single cabins in all grades available for reduced/zero supplement

  • Holland America Cruise Lines - Single cabins available on two of Holland America’s ships - Koningsdam(12) and Prinsendam (3)

  • Hurtigruten Coastal Expeditions - No dedicated single cabins but selected cruises offer no single supplement on standard cabin grades

  • Hurtigruten Expeditions - No dedicated single cabins but selected cruises offer no single supplement on standard cabin grades

  • MSC - Several MSC ships, including MSC Virtuosa, MSC Grandiosa, MSC Meraviglia and MSC Bellissima offer dedicated inside single cabins

  • Norwegian Cruise Lines - Six of the line's 16 ships offer single-occupancy "studio" cabins: Norwegian Escape (82), Norwegian Epic (128), Norwegian Breakaway (59), Norwegian Getaway (59) and Norwegian Bliss (82) all available for a reduced single supplement

  • P&O Cruises - Selection of dedicated single cabins (varies on each ship) 

  • Princess Cruises - No dedicated solo cabins but a 50% single supplement on standard cabins if you book early

  • Royal Caribbean - Selection of dedicated single cabins in all grades (varies on each ship) with reduced/zero supplement

  • Seabourn Cruises - No dedicated solo cabins but a 50% single supplement on standard cabins on selected voyages

  • Trade Wind Voyages - Selection of dedicated outside single cabins available for a single supplement (varies by voyage)

  • Virgin Voyages - No dedicated solo cabins but a selection of cabins (those which are able to sleep 1-4) are available for solo cruisers for a single supplement.

Will I make friends on a solo cruise?

There are some things in life we can’t be sure of, but this, we are! With most cruise lines now offering dedicated solo packages, many now put on a selection of events specifically for singles. Saga Cruises and Fred. Olsen, for example, offer a ‘Singles Mingle’ cocktail party during the first few days at sea, giving you the opportunity to meet fellow solo passengers. In addition, you’ll find dance hosts, for those singles who want to set the dance floor alight and a selection of dedicated singles shore excursions. 

 

It’s worth noting as well that certain cruise lines offer dedicated solo cruises, where all on board will literally be in the same boat. We know from speaking to previous solo guests that have sailed with us that they have met friends for life while on board a solo cruise, with some even ditching their solo cabin for a twin and exploring more of the world with friends they’ve met previously while on board.

What are the best cruise lines for solo travellers?

As more and more cruise guests want solo options, the selection to choose from continues to grow. However, here’s just a few of our solo cruise favourites.

Saga Cruises

If you’re travelling on your own, Saga Cruises need to be considered as one of the best cruise lines for solo travellers, especially following the launch of their two brand new ships, Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure, where you’ll find over 100 cabins designed just for solo cruisers spread across all cabin grades, from standard to suite. 

 

As well as having your very own cabin, complete with balcony (as all cabins on board Saga cruise ships have them as standard), you’ll also have the chance to meet fellow solo travellers at the ‘Singles Mingle’ drinks party or the exclusive singles lunch, each of which take place early on in every cruise. In addition, you’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy evening entertainment with on board dance hosts, so if you love a boogie but are there alone, they’ll be a smiling staff member ready to help you strut your stuff.

 

While single supplements are an unfortunate side effect of travelling on your own, Saga’s are far lower than the majority of other cruise lines, and coupled with the other amazing extra value inclusions such as the VIP chauffeur service, included gratuities, 24-hr room service and included beers and wines with meals, you’ll actually be surprised at how reasonable a solo cruise with Saga is. 

 

View all Saga Cruises

Fred.Olsen

As with Saga Cruises, Fred. Olsen also offers a wide selection of benefits for solo cruisers, from meet and greet events just for singles to single tables at meal times so you can enjoy the company of fellow travellers who are cruising on their own. 

 

The cruise line also offers a number of solo cabins and dance hosts for those looking to enjoy every aspect of a cruise and as well as these benefits, also run deals throughout the year offering customers a selection of cruises with no single supplement, meaning you can avoid the additional costs normally associated with single travel.

View all Fred. Olsen cruises

Norwegian Cruise Lines

By their own admission, Norwegian made solo cruising cool! As well as being one of the first major players to offer a dedicated solo cruise option, they did it with style and panache! As well as offering dedicated single cabins, NCL offers those travelling alone access to a special lounge just for them, making it incredibly easy to meet fellow solo travellers.

In addition, you’ll be able to request specific dining with fellow solo cruisers, enjoy dedicated singles events and offer reduced single supplements.

Find out more 

If you’d like to find out more about the cruises we offer, take a look around our website or call our knowledgeable team on 01737 646412.