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Cruising Solo? How to Avoid the Dreaded "Single Supplement"

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For some, the idea of cruising alone can be a bit scary. Let's face it. The majority of passengers arrive to the ship on embarkation day in pairs, entire families and huge groups. Some people, however, may find themselves cruising alone for a number of reasons. Some may be looking for friendship or romance. Others may have lost a spouse or partner. More often than not, though, a person may just prefer to travel solo. Whatever the reason, traveling solo carries a big price - the dreaded "single supplement". A single passenger in a double-occupancy cabin pays more to make up for the revenue lost by the lack of a second person in the cabin. For example, a superior ocean-view room on a 7-night Alaska cruise on Royal Caribbean carries a price tag of, say, $1,539 per person. A single passenger in that same cabin will pay an additional $1,304, or a whopping $2,843. Sounds more like a punishment than a supplement, doesn't it! While I used RCI as an example, they are not alone. The practice of single supplements is widespread across cruise and land vacations alike, and as any solo traveler will tell you, hardly seems fair.

Are there ways around the single supplement? You'll have to do your homework.

Find a cabin mate. If you can't find a friend or relative to join you, and if you're comfortable rooming with a stranger, some tour operators or on-line cruise communities will assist you in finding a new buddy to room with.

Join a group. Companies like singlecruise.com, singlestravelintl.com and singlesatsea.com organize groups of single travelers — often by demographic (like 20s and 30s, and 50s and older) or theme — and then escort them on larger cruises. Tour operators and travel agents reserve rooms for participants and help match them with roommates if they request one.

Join a cruise community forum. Start chatting up about your cruise and you're bound to find a friend just like you who is looking for a cabin mate.

Look for supplement discounts. Sev­er­al lines, in­clud­ing Crystal, Cunard, Holland America, Regent Seaven Seas, Seabourn and Silversea, have low­ered their sin­gle sup­ple­ments to 25% or less, but many oth­er lines still charge sup­ple­ments of 50% to 100%. Spe­cial pro­mo­tions may waive the sup­ple­ment al­to­geth­er, but they are rare.

Seek out cabins for one. Fortunately, there have been positive changes in the industry in cabins de­signed specif­ical­ly for so­lo trav­el­ers. While most ships don't have them, Norwegian Cruise Line in­tro­duced "The Stu­dios", a whole com­plex of in­side cab­ins de­signed for one and with a shared lounge on Nor­we­gian Epic in 2010 and Norwegian Breakaway in 2013. The cab­ins have proved so pop­ular the line is adding a sim­ilar set up on two ships it has un­der con­struc­tion. Some river cruise lines also have special cabins with one twin bed for solo travelers.

For more about solo cruising, visit today's article (courtesy of The New York Times): How to Cruise Solo

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Norwegian Getaway, to be homeported in Miami, will also have studio cabins like Breakaway.

And Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas will also have them. Those can be booked for 1 or 2 people. It will have a full size bed. The first person pays a 1st/2nd person rate, and the 2nd person, if there is one, pays the 3rd/4th person rate. Would be great for a single parent and child. Rooms will also have a live video window of what is going on outside.

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