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Words: Alarna Haigh.

While cruising with your partner or family can be an overwhelmingly economical way to travel, cruising by yourself can become extremely expensive, especially if you’re slugged with an exorbitant “single supplement”, as the cruise lines like to call it.

Singles supplements, the bane of solo cruisers, are charged to make up for loss of revenue from having a double cabin booked but only one bed filled – one less person to spend money on drinks sales, casino use, shore excursions, spa treatments and alternative dining charges.

Most cruise lines make up for this loss in revenue by charging the solo cruiser up to 200 per cent of the original fare – equating to double the advertised price – and often the only way around this is to share a cabin with a stranger.

But not all cruise lines and ships are like this and some are, most definitely, better than others at accommodating cruise passengers without a travelling partner.

Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Norwegian Epic

Priced for single travellers; no supplement charged.

Launched in 2010, Norwegian Cruise Lines’ innovative 5,400-passenger Norwegian Epic was designed to attract more solo travellers. Norwegian Epic has 128 studio cabins featuring 9.3 square metres of space, a full-sized bed, a flat screen television, ample storage, a desk and bathroom. Many also have interconnecting doors making the studios perfect for friends travelling together but the biggest perk is that all passengers travelling in these cabins have access to an exclusive lounge and bar.

P&O Cruises UK’s Azura

Priced for single travellers; no supplement charged.

P&O Cruises UK’s newest liner, Azura, was also built with 18 single cabins on board – recognition that there is, indeed, a market for the cabin type, although the 3,574-passenger ship could easily fill more than 18 since the cabins are renowned for selling out fast.

At 12 square metres, there are inside and outside cabin options as 12 have a window. Each has a single bed, a flat screen television, a vanity/desk, ample storage and a private bathroom, plus complimentary water and a pamper pack on arrival.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

All four of Fred Olsen Cruise Lines ships are single-friendly, featuring single inside and outside cabins – Balmoral has 63, Black Watch and Boudicca each have 42 and Braemar has 27 – and some of Black Watch and Boudicca’s are expansive balcony cabins of approximately 18.6 square metres. For single women there are also gentleman hosts at night.

Holland America Line

No single cabins; single supplement from 150 to 200 per cent.

If you’re planning on cruising solo aboard a Holland America Line ship, then you have the option of taking part in the Single Partner Program to avoid paying the very high singles supplement.

The Single Partner Program is good for two reasons – the first is that the cruise line actively searches for a good companion (non-smoking, same sex) for you and so you’ll both pay the per person, double occupancy rate. The second reason is that if Holland America Line can’t find a suitable person for you, you will only pay the “agreed-upon double-occupancy fare,” says the cruise line.

There is a solo travellers gathering at the beginning of every cruise, gentleman hosts on cruises 30 days or longer, and a range of activities that will suit the solo travellers needs.

Costa Cruises

Some singles cabins priced for solo travellers; supplements from 30 to 100 per cent.

On board most ships in the Costa Cruises fleet there are between 6 and 21 dedicated singles cabins that can be booked with a supplement of 30 to 100 per cent, although these cabins are not available outside of Europe.

Voyages of Discovery, Voyages to Antiquity, Saga Holidays and Viking River Cruises all have a limited number of dedicated singles cabins.

Other cruise lines with low singles supplements:

 

Silversea currently has singles supplements for as little as 10 per cent of the original fare although on Grand Transoceanic Adventures it is advertising the supplement at 25 per cent of the original fare.

Crystal Cruises adds 25 per cent for lower cabin grades and 35 per cent for higher cabin grades.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises often has special deals for solo travellers on certain cruises. Some current European itineraries waive the entire supplement.

How much have you paid for singles supplements on cruises? We’re keen to know who has paid the highest!