If you are a solo cruiser, then Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is the cruise line for you, followed by Royal Caribbean and Cunard Line.
A study by CruiseAway ranking 19 international cruise lines by their service for solo travellers revealed NCL shows the best performance in the three main criteria: accommodation, price and activities on board.
This is how the study came to the results by analysing data across a range of cruise lines, then weighted to fairly reflect their overall performance: Aida, Azamara Club Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, P&O International, Ponant, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, TUI Cruises and Windstar Cruise.
The breakdown then came to rankings in accommodation, price and activities on board.
While still not very common, all the top 3 cruise lines offer a certain number of single cabins on their ships. On the Norwegian Epic, single cruisers can choose from 128 cabins designed for their needs. These “Studio” cabins are around 9 square meters and are specifically designed for the needs of solo travellers. NCL builds so called Studio Lounges next to these cabins, accessible exclusively for “Studio” passengers. These areas give plenty opportunity to meet other solo cruisers.
On all ships of the “Quantum-class” and several more, Royal Caribbean also provides single cabins – about the same size of NCL. Some of these interior cabins have so called Virtual View of real-time scenery through a flat-screen television. Cunard Line offers a limited number of single cabins on many of their ships. Additionally, solo cruisers can always book a double cabin for solo occupancy. But this comes with a price.
When it comes to the price, travelling alone is always more expensive than travelling as a couple. To measure the price policy of the cruise lines, CruiseAway by Dreamlines checked ten trips per cruise line in 2018, preferably 7 nights on board in the Mediterranean or Caribbean. Three different prices were checked: single cabin, double cabin with double occupancy and a double cabin with single occupancy.
Single cabins on NCL cost average 25 percent more than a double cabin per person. The single supplement lies at around an additional 45 percent when passengers book a double cabin for only one person. On Cunard, single cabins cost more than a third more than double cabins per person, while Royal Caribbean charge over 50 per cent more. But single cabins are always less expensive than booking a double cabin for one. The single supplement varies a lot, also depending on travel date and itinerary, however, they average 69 percent for Royal Caribbean and 71 percent for Cunard.
Activities on board
NCL offer special welcome drinks, parties and meet-and-greets for solo cruisers to get together and make new friends. Additionally, NCL’s Studio Lounge concept gives many opportunities to find partners for shore excursions and drinks at night. Cunard – the classic cruise line – bring gentlemen on board to give solo cruisers an opportunity to easily find a dancing and dining partner. Additionally, on Royal Caribbean, solo cruisers can choose big tables for dining to avoid eating by themselves.
In general, cruising alone is usually more expensive, but there are plenty possibilities for comfortable accommodation. The opportunities to meet new people on board differ from cruise line to cruise line, depending on the respective target groups. NCL, which has a broad customer age range, offers the most advanced concept for solo cruisers. Royal Caribbean count on their casual atmosphere onboard and wide target group to arrange a comfortable atmosphere for solo travellers. In addition, Cunard knows that their target group is fond of gentlemen hosts to accompany them on their cruise.
Have you done a cruise solo? Tell us about your experience and which cruise line it was with.