As solo travel becomes more popular, cruise lines have changed to cater to solo cruisers.
Many people think that traveling alone is a boring way to travel. In reality, solo travel is a great way to experience the world your way. Traveling solo can be more fun and less stressful than traveling with a partner or group.
There’s a special kind of freedom that comes with traveling alone. And cruising is no different.
When you are alone, you have the opportunity to go beyond your comfort zone and take part in new experiences. Plus, on a cruise ship, you are rarely ever alone.
When you are solo cruising, the cruise line you select can make a big difference in the quality of your vacation.
To help you make the most of your solo cruise, we’ve narrowed down the seven best cruise lines for solo travelers.
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The “Single Supplement”
Cruise lines specifically design most of their cabins for two passengers. The cruise fares you see advertised are typically the per person rate, based on double occupancy.
When you add more than two passengers to a cabin or occupy a cabin alone, you may pay a different rate than the advertised price.
If you want to travel solo in one of these cabins, you’ll be paying a premium. This premium is known as the “single supplement.”
The dreaded single supplement is often 100%. In other words, even if you are the only guest in the cabin, you’ll be paying the same fare as if you were sharing the cabin with another person.
Still, the single supplement shouldn’t deter you from looking to cruise solo.
With the increasing popularity of solo travel, cruise lines are adding single staterooms for solo cruisers. These solo cabins are priced based on single occupancy, so you won’t need to worry about the dreaded single supplement.
Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America, and the new Virgin Voyages have been at the forefront of this trend. But, they are by no means the only options. Many cruise lines have expanded their offerings for single cruisers.
7 Best Cruise Lines for Solo Travelers
Below, you’ll find the seven best cruise lines for solo travelers. We’ve chosen the best cruise lines based on the number of single cabins, the social atmosphere onboard, and the number of onboard group activities.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line kicked off the trend in catering to solo cruisers when they became the first cruise line to offer solo cabins. The cruise line first debuted an entire zone of 128 studio cabins for solo travelers in 2010 during the launch of the Norwegian Epic.
At a meager 100 square feet, the studio cabins are not spacious. However, Norwegian designed the solo staterooms to maximize storage space.
The biggest perk of booking Norwegian Cruise Line’s single rooms is access to the exclusive Studio Complex and Lounge. The shared social space features a bar, tv, and lots of room for passengers to mingle and meet other solo travelers.
Norwegian has since added similar single cabins and exclusive lounges to many of its other cruise ships. Norwegian Bliss and Escape features 82 single cabins, while the smaller Norwegian Getaway and Breakaway have solo areas with 59 single staterooms.
Norwegian has even added a few solo cabins on Pride of America. Perfect for solo travelers looking for a cruise to Hawaii.
A big caveat is that these single cabins are so popular they often sell out far in advance of other cabin categories. If you have your heart set on one of the studio cabins, book early in advance to secure your spot.
Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean has taken a page out of Norwegian’s book by adding solo cabins to its new and old vessels.
When Royal Caribbean debuted the Quantum-class cruise ships in 2014, they announced 28 studio cabins dedicated to solo travelers.
Unlike the studio cabins on Norwegian Cruise Line, passengers can choose between a balcony stateroom or a virtual balcony. The virtual balconies are actually interior cabins with a digital screen projecting a real-time view of the outside. It sounds tacky, but the effect works surprisingly well.
Additionally, Royal Caribbean charges a full 100% supplement charge on standard, non-studio staterooms. But, you may be able to snag a solo-friendly cruise fare when you book closer to the sail date.
Solo travelers will have plenty of opportunities to socialize and mingle with fellow passengers. Royal Caribbean cruises offer a wide variety of onboard group activities, such as group fitness classes, cooking classes, wine tastings, and live game shows. And, the fan-favorite belly flop competition always draws a large crowd.
Virgin Voyages may be a new cruise line, but it is already considered one of the best cruises for young adults.
Richard Branson’s Virgin Group backs the cruise line. As you might expect, they know how to throw a party!
Their vessels boast 46 cabins specifically designed for passengers traveling solo. That may not sound like much, but on a cruise ship of only 1,330 cabins, it’s a lot.
Virgin’s solo staterooms feature a sleek design with full-sized beds and large, flat-screen TVs.
It’s important to note that while the solo cabins on Virgin’s cruise ships are slightly larger compared to other cruise lines, their location at the front of the vessel isn’t ideal. Seasoned cruisers know that cabins located at the front of the ship can result in a bumpier ride. If avoiding seasickness is a priority, you might want to avoid choosing a single cabin and opt for one in the vessel’s center.
The cruise line makes it a breeze to book a solo cabin. Every interior and sea view cabin fits one to three or four “sailors.”
When you book a cruise through the Virgin Voyages website, simply choose “1 sailor” at the beginning of your search. The website automatically converts the prices to their solo fares rather than the typical double cabin pricing.
Cabin specifics aside, Virgin Voyages provides passengers with opportunities to socialize and make new friends. From group yoga to late-night parties with live DJs and the first tattoo parlor at sea, their ships provide plenty of spaces to socialize or indulge.
Holland America Line
Holland America has catered to solo travelers for decades. One of their most popular promotions is their Single Parner’s Program, available on most voyages.
The Single Partner’s Program offers events for solo travelers like a cocktail reception, mixers, games, and more. The cruise line offers over 40 onboard activities to meet other solo cruisers, including exercise classes, lectures (select departures), line dance classes, wine tasting, cooking demonstrations, Team Trivia contests, and the daily quiz.
Additionally, The Single Partner’s Program allows solo cruise guests to share a cabin with another solo passenger. Guests who agree to be matched with a roommate are matched with a same-sex, non-smoking solo traveler.
What’s more, they guarantee a double occupancy rate, even when they can’t find you a partner.
Solo travelers who prefer not to share a stateroom can book a standard double cabin for 150 to 200 percent of the double occupancy fare.
Finally, on cruises of 30 days or longer, onboard Social Hosts welcome single women to dinner and dancing. If passengers make a special request, Holland America will try to seat single passengers with other single travelers at dinner.
Silversea Cruises might not have specific solo traveler cabins; they do have a large portion of solo cruisers.
Silversea caters to solo cruisers by offering one of the lowest supplements in the industry. The cruise line offers a single supplement of only 10% to 25% on some sailings. Further, the cruise line will even waive the supplement during select promotions.
Silversea welcomes solo travelers with a special welcome promotion at the start of every voyage. The welcome party is your chance to meet and mingle with other solo passengers.
Silversea is unlike today’s mainstream mega cruise lines. They operate small, intimate vessels that carry only a few hundred passengers.
Due to the smaller number of passengers, solo cruisers find it easier to feel at home. And, if you need company, male Social Ambassadors are available as dance partners or shore excursions escorts.
The cruise line draws a diverse group of social passengers who love to mix and mingle.
The main dining room is a particularly social spot on Silversea cruise ships. Just before dinner on a Silversea cruise, there’s a good chance you’ll be pulled into a conversation with a group of strangers who welcome you to their table.
Cunard Line is a long-time favorite among solo cruisers.
Solo travelers particularly love the cruise line’s focus on traditional cruising and the social onboard atmosphere. Cunard Line generally places solo travelers at dinner tabes with other solo cruisers, making it easy to mingle and make friends.
Since 2014, the cruise line has added single cabins to their cruise ships, accomodating the growing solo travel market.
Occasionally, you can find additional discounts for solo travelers.
Tauck isn’t a household name when it comes to cruise lines. But, if you plan on solo cruising, it should be on your radar.
Tauck is a high-end tour operator that offers river cruises around the world. The cruise operator has unique relationships that offer passengers experience you simply won’t find with any other company.
River cruise lines are an attractive choice for solo travelers. The small ships, intimate atmosphere, and unique destinations create a perfect cruise environment for mingling and making new friends. Tauck is highly regarded for their cruises’ friendly and social atmosphere.
So what makes Tauck our top choice for solo cruisers?
Simple. Tauck often eliminates its single supplement on its least expensive cabin category. Additionally, they often reduce the single supplement on the higher-tier cabin categories, saving solo cruisers more money.