Adventure and expedition cruise lines are targeting solo sailors with special supplement deals – and pointing out their smaller ships are just perfect for forming friendships.
Expedition cruising is expanding quickly, but high prices and supplements have put off many single travellers. But now cruise lines, which have increased their capacity, are looking to this growing demographic to fill their ships.
Supplements have been slashed – or even removed altogether, making bucket list destinations far more appealing.
“We have seen a building interest and demand from solo travellers in the expedition sector in recent years,” says Jeff Gillies, Commercial Director of Coral Expeditions.
Expedition ships are often smaller, taking in exotic destinations. They are also more intimate, offering the friendship of a small community.
“Our ships hold no more than 120 passengers at one time, which is a deliberate decision to ensure the experience is intimate and the on board atmosphere is warm and welcoming,” says Mr Gillies.
“We’ve had many instances where travellers have initially met on an expedition voyage and now choose to cruise together every year. That shows us true friendships and bonds can be made on our adventures.”
Most lines offer itineraries to a range of destinations but they also specialise in specific regions. For example, Australian line Coral Expedition mostly sail itineraries close to home. Hurtigruten, which is known for their Norwegian coast itineraries, also has expeditions in the Polar regions.
See which expedition lines are running solo offers.
The Australian expedition line is removing single supplements on all Great Barrier Reef departures year-round as well as a range of selected itineraries in Raja Ampat and the Spice Island, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon’s and South Pacific.
The line has five itineraries ranging three to seven nights, exploring the Great Barrier Reef on Coral Expeditions II, while their newest ship the Coral Adventurer sails itineraries in Papua New Guinea.
Itineraries for 2019 include:
New Guinea Circle
The 25-night itinerary sailing from Cairns to Darwin departs November 25. Shorter segments of 12-nights and 13-nights departing December 7 are also available on the Coral Adventurer.
The 22-night itinerary from Darwin to Cairns departs October 8. Half segments are also available on the Coral Adventurer. Sole use occupancy is available for bridge deck balcony stateroom onwards for $23,440.
The 12-night itinerary on the Coral Adventurer departs Darwin December 21. Sole use occupancy is available for bridge deck balcony stateroom onwards for $13,740.
The luxury line has 11 expedition itineraries that currently offer low single supplements starting from 10 to 25 per cent. Most itineraries depart in 2019, with three departing in 2020. Itineraries in 2019 with 10 per cent single supplement include 17-day sailing from Fort Lauderdale to Puntarenas, which departs October 12. Prices for this itinerary start at $13,300 for an Adventurer Suite.
Coming up in November is a South America cruise. The 14-day itinerary on the Silver Explorer sails from Guayaquil to Valparaiso and it is going at $11,430 for the View Suite. There is also a Japan sailing from Apra to Kobe offered with 25 per cent single supplement in May 2020. The 11-day itinerary on the Silver Explorer starts at $8,910 for an Adventurer Suite.
The Norwegian line that is most famous for their Norwegian coast itineraries, is offering its 2019 Norwegian classic voyages to solo travellers with no single supplement.
The itineraries include the 12-day Classic Round Voyage that sails Bergen to Kirkenes and back as well as the 11-day Voyage of Discovery from Bergen to Trondheim. The Classic Voyage is also offered in shorter six or seven-day one-way cruises. Prices for a six-day Classic Voyage South start from $1003 for an inside cabin on an October departure and up to $9,948 for and expedition suite.
The luxury French line has removed the single supplement on 11 itineraries. Most of the itineraries depart in 2020 and three depart in 2019. The include sailings to Central America, the Bijagos Archipelago, Seychelles and the Gulf of California. The itineraries range from eight to 15-nights. Fares to the Bijagos Archipelago start from $5,240 for 11-nights and 15-night to the scattered islands and the Seychelles start from $10,130.
Lindblad Expeditions is waiving solo supplements on select itineraries in Alaska, the Pacific Coast, Costa Rica, Panama, British Columbia and the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest.
Itineraries include ‘Treasures of the Inside Passage’. The 14-day sailing has departures in August and September on small ships that carry only 100 guests. The sailing starts from Seattle, heads north and concludes in Sitka. Prices start from $12,490 and go up to $20,550. An eight-day itinerary of Costa Rica and Panama Canal on the National Geographic Quest starts from $7,720.