For those times you want to get away from everything and everyone, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line now allows single passengers to book their own stateroom without paying a double occupancy surcharge.
The new solo traveler rate began Wednesday and starts as low as $149, plus the usual taxes and fees, for the budget cruise line’s signature two-night Bahamas cruises. Bahamas Paradise, which introduced its second ship in April, sails daily out of the Port of Palm Beach to Grand Bahama Island.
Bahamas Cruise Line said it is the only cruise line to offer staterooms with ocean views with no single supplemental fee on all of its sailings. Solo rates are available on cruises departing every day of the week for travelers who book through the cruise line’s website, bahamasparadisecruise.com.
The cruise line said it decided to offer the solo rate to serve a rising interest in solo travel. The news release cited a Booking.com study stating that the number of Google searches for solo travel has increased 40 percent since 2015, and that 40 percent of baby boomers have taken a solo trip in the last year. Twenty-one percent said they plan to take one over the next year, and 34 percent counted a solo vacation as among the “top five trips they’ve already been on and would like to go on again.”
Two-night Bahamas cruise line welcomes second ship to Port of Palm Beach | Photo gallery
In an interview by email, Chris Gray Faust, managing editor of the industry watchdog site CruiseCritic.com, said, “Solo travel has become much more prevalent within the industry. Adults of all ages are traveling more often by themselves, and [solo pricing] is a great way for the cruise lines to make cruising a viable option for this type of traveler.”
A spot check of available dates on the cruise line’s website shows the discount is available for immediate travel: A two-night cruise beginning June 22 is available for $209, plus $67.52 in taxes and fees. That price drops to $149, plus $67.52, for cruises sailing on June 24 and each day after that through June 28. The rate increases to $189, plus taxes and fees, for sailings beginning June 29 or June 30. For some dates, the weekend before Christmas, the rate climbs as high as $229, plus taxes and fees.
Bahamas Paradise’s solo rates are only available for the ship’s ocean view cabins, which measure the same size as interior cabins that have no outside views. Generally, cruise lines charge higher prices for ocean view rooms and relegate interior cabins to their lowest-price categories.
Asked why the cruise line decided to offer the solo rate in a higher-category cabin, Bahamas Paradise CEO Oneil Khosa said by email, “We wanted to provide a very attractive offering to invite solo travelers to experience our cruise. In many instances, cruise lines only provide solo travelers with smaller-size staterooms and/or with single supplement fees. We wanted to provide them with something better that stands apart in the industry.”
While some mainstream cruise lines have been catering to solo traveler by creating solo cabins that require no additional fee, waiving supplemental fees for solo travelers who book regular cabins isn’t prevalent among larger cruise lines, Faust said.
Carnival Cruise Line does not offer a solo rate, and all of its rates are based on double occupancy, brand spokesman Vance Gulliksen said Thursday.
Solo cruise rates are found more frequently on river cruises, Faust said. “That’s really what’s making the deal from Bahamas Paradise stand out — it’s a bigger-sized cruise ship offering waived supplements for solo travelers. Because the sailings are only two nights, it’s not a huge loss to the line, and a good way to entice travelers to possibly return again in the future.”
Khosa said the pricing will be available indefinitely but declined to say how many oceanfront rooms would be available at solo travel rates on each cruise. “Given that we have just launched, we plan to monitor interest closely and will adjust allocations based on demand and overall availability for individual sailings,” he said.
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line began sailing from the Port of Palm Beach in 2015. It consists of just two ships: the Grand Celebration, a former Carnival Cruise Line ship, and Grand Classica, formerly owned by Carnival subsidiary Costa Cruises.
By Ron Hurtibise, Sun Sentinel
Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more
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