River cruising is particularly well suited to solo travellers: ships are small, so it’s easy to mix and mingle; the atmosphere is relaxed and you’re bound to meet other like-minded passengers, whether they’re also travelling alone or part of couples or groups; and shore excursions are included in the fare.

But – and it’s a big but – the single supplement can make river cruising prohibitively expensive.

Riviera Travel, a UK-based river cruise that’s relatively new to the Australian market, is tackling the problem head-on.

Riviera has 11 new ships operating 300 cruises across 12 different itineraries in Europe and offers solo cabins with no single supplement on every departure. The company specialises in no-frills fares (drinks and automatic gratuities are not included) and says its fares are up to 50 per cent cheaper than other operators’. It also runs singles-only cruises; three seven-night European itineraries are coming up in November this year, and there are more in 2019.

If you can book in the next few weeks, there are some good deals around.

Evergreen Tours is waiving the single supplement on select departures of its 2019 eight-day ‘Sensations of Southern France’ itinerary and is offering savings of up to $7,295 off its category A suites on select Europe and France cruises.

Sister company Scenic is knocking 50 per cent off the single supplement on 2019 cruises of 11 days or longer – both offers end on August 31. It’s worth signing up for Evergreen’s Solo Explorers Club to get the first look at special deals, as they tend to be snapped up very quickly.

Until September 3, Avalon is waiving the single supplement on its 2019 Europe cruises; based on its 17-day ‘Jewels of Central Europe’ itinerary, departing September 24, 2019, you could save up to $6,726. And if you can jet off this year, Uniworld is waiving the single supplement on five upcoming itineraries.*

Maybe one of the big lines could do a U by Uniworld type ship expressly for solo travellers on a budget; bunk beds, single cabins and rooftop camping aren’t just for millennials.

  • Scenic and Evergreen offers expire Aug 31, Avalon Sept 3