Cruising isn’t just for couples and families. A growing number of solo travelers are cruising every year, and cruise lines are adapting to the trend. A solo cruise is a great form of solo travel. You can see the world, meet new people, and take advantage of all the fun activities and entertainment onboard.
Although solo passengers are welcome on every cruise line, some companies have particularly embraced them. Things like single-occupancy staterooms, reduced single supplements, and specific activities or spaces for solo passengers all make a cruise line more attractive – and affordable – for solo travelers.
We’ve gathered a list of the best cruise lines for singles to help you navigate the sea of options as you plan your dream vacation.
- Norwegian Cruise Line
- Virgin Voyages
- Royal Caribbean
- Holland America Line
- Princess Cruises
- Luxury cruise lines
- River cruise lines
Norwegian Cruise Line is the true pioneer of solo cruising. The company introduced single-occupancy interior staterooms, known as studio staterooms, with the launch of the Norwegian Epic in 2010. Since then, they have built them on every following ship.
Not only that, Norwegian is the only cruise line to have a dedicated space onboard for single passengers to mix and mingle. The Studio Lounge is a private keycard-access space reserved just for studio guests, and passengers can watch TV, set up dining options with others, enjoy light refreshments, and socialize with their fellow single cruisers. No other cruise line comes close to having such a comprehensive concept for solo cruisers.
Norwegian Cruise Line typically charges a 150-200% single supplement for solo guests staying in double-occupancy cabins. This fee is sometimes waived in case of a special promotion or last-minute deal.
A new player in the cruise industry, Virgin Voyages has also already established itself as a top player in the world of solo cruising. Its debut ship, the Scarlet Lady, will feature both interior and ocean view staterooms for solo passengers. Plus, the single supplement is minimal – so if you choose to book a standard stateroom, you won’t pay much more than if you were sharing the room with someone else.
The Scarlet Lady is launching in spring 2020, so it’s hard to say for sure how single-friendly the onboard environment will be. But from what Virgin has revealed so far, it sounds like the ship will be a non-stop party – perfect for meeting people. Paired with the fact that the ship is adults-only, who knows what could happen onboard?
For solo passengers who prefer a more traditional cruise experience, Cunard is a tough act to top. With single staterooms on all three ships, if you book early you’ll never have to worry about paying the dreaded single supplement – which can be up to 175-200%, depending on the stateroom category you book. And for those who like dancing, Cunard offers an added perk: Gentlemen hosts are available in the evenings for ballroom dancing, so single ladies need not fear being left out of the festivities for want of a dance partner.
Another line which caters to solo travelers is Crystal Cruises. They offer reduced single supplements on all sailings, including their world voyages. All sailings offer gentlemen hosts as dancing and dining companions, and solos can also request dining with an officer for formal nights in the dining room. Additionally, Crystal offers an option for “solo tables” in their specialty dining restaurants on selected nights where solo travelers can meet and dine together.
Royal Caribbean has also jumped on the solo stateroom trend. Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, and Symphony of the Seas all have several interior and ocean view staterooms available for single passengers, and a handful of additional ships have also been outfitted with interior studios during refurbishment. Royal Caribbean’s unique “virtual balconies” can also give the illusion of more space in otherwise cramped quarters.
If you’d prefer to have a regular-sized room to yourself, keep an eye out for hot cruise deals – Royal Caribbean frequently reduces or waives the single supplement on some sailings.
MSC has also expanded its options for solo passengers with the introduction of single cabins on the MSC Meraviglia and MSC Bellissima. But if you don’t manage to snag one of these coveted staterooms, you might be stuck facing up to a 200% single supplement – unless of course you find a great special offer or deal. The variety of activities onboard also makes MSC an attractive choice for solo passengers, but keep in mind that it also draws an international passenger base, particularly on Mediterranean cruises, so not everyone will speak your language.
Europe’s leading budget cruise line, Costa offers single staterooms on about one-third of its ships. Single-occupancy cabins come in both interior and ocean view varieties, and they’re located throughout the ship. Even if you book a standard cabin, the single supplement is sometimes as low as 150%, even on standard voyages, so cruising solo doesn’t necessarily mean breaking the bank.
Celebrity Cruises also deserves mention due to the introduction of single-occupancy staterooms on its newest ship, the Celebrity Edge. Launched in 2018, the Edge will be joined by her sister ship, the Celebrity Apex, in April 2020. These ships are twins, with only minor differences between them, so it’s safe to assume the Apex will offer single staterooms as well. Though with Celebrity, 200% single supplements are the norm, you may be able to find some last-minute deals for as low as 125-150%.
Just two cruise ships by Holland America Line feature solo staterooms: the Prinsendam and the Koningsdam. An added perk of cruising solo with Holland America is the cruise line’s Single Partners Program, available on all ships. In this program, single passengers are paired with other cruisers of the same sex with whom they will share a stateroom, so the two guests will pay the standard double-occupancy cruise fare. (Single passengers in standard rooms pay the usual 150-200% of cruise fare). Additionally, a variety of activities, competitions, and meet-and-greets are organized throughout the cruise to make it even easier to meet your fellow guests. And Social Hosts are also available on select sailings to accompany single women to dinner and dancing.
A little-known secret: If you book a Holland America Line cruise early, you can often get a single supplement as low as 50%. On the other hand, if you book late, the chances are greater that you’ll pay the standard 200%.
Princess doesn’t have any single staterooms or special programs for solo cruisers available, but it’s worth mentioning that they, too, often offer just a 50% single supplement if you book early.
Luxury cruise lines have a lower single supplement than standard cruise lines. Regent Seven Seas Cruises has single fares starting from just 25% more than the standard per-person fare, and Silversea Cruises offers single supplements on some sailings as low as 10%. Seabourn additionally offers reduced single fares on select voyages for Diamond Elite Seabourn Club passengers.
River cruise lines deserve an honorable mention for leading the pack on singles-friendly cruising. AmaWaterways, American Cruise Lines, and American Queen Steamboat Company all offer single-occupancy cabins on some of their ships. Some river cruise lines even offer several cruises a year targeted to solo travelers in which the single supplement is waived ship-wide.
In addition, Viking River Cruises, Avalon Waterways, CroisiEurope, Scenic, and Uniworld all frequently offer reduced or waived single supplements. River cruising lends itself especially well to solo cruising, because the intimate onboard environment and adventurous shore excursions make it the perfect way to meet like-minded passengers. If you like the idea of knowing all your fellow passengers by first name, taking your journey at a leisurely pace, and deeply experiencing each destination, a solo river cruise could be just the thing for you.
Thinking about cruising on your own? Search solo cruises or call your cruise expert at 1-888-403-1425 today!