What Solo Cruisers Should Know About a Single Supplement

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While planning your next solo vacation, you decide you want to try taking a cruise. With popular sailings to places like the Mediterranean, Alaska, and Caribbean, there’s many fantastic itineraries to choose from. 

Cruises are a great way for solo travelers to explore a variety of different destinations. They also offer the convenience of providing transportation between destinations, the accommodations, as well as a level of safety.

What is a Single Supplement?

Solo travelers interested in taking a cruise might be surprised to learn that many cruise lines charge a single supplement. This means that if you’re traveling by yourself, you could find yourself paying twice as much.

The single supplement is essentially a premium that is added to the cruise fare to recover lost revenue from when a solo traveler books a room just for one person. This is because cruise ship cabins are designed and priced based on the assumption that each room will be occupied by two people.

When browsing rates for cruises, the price that is displayed for a cabin is based on double occupancy. Therefore the cruise fare that you see listed is often the fare per person, based on at least two people staying in the room.

While the single supplement varies depending on the cruise line and specific itinerary, it is common for it to be an additional 100%, which is essentially double the cost of the standard cruise fare.

 

How to Avoid or Find a Low Single Supplement Fare

1. Look for dedicated solo cabins on specific cruise lines.

More and more cruise lines are adding solo cabins to their new ships. Some cruise lines currently do offer cabins for single travelers. On select ships, there are studio cabins that are designed and priced for one passenger. These studio cabins are usually a bit smaller than the standard cabin, and can be a little more difficult to find availability for as there is often only a small quantity of them on the ship.

Several mainstream cruise lines do offer a selection of solo cabins, with Norwegian Cruise Line offering the largest quantity.

 

2. Keep an eye out for special offers that waive or reduce the single supplement.

Cruise lines run different promotions, and from time-to-time, there can be special offers that either waive the single supplement or offer a lower single supplement for those traveling alone. During these promotions, you can find offers for a lower single supplement, typically ranging from 25% – 50%, instead of the usual 100%. Occasionally, you may also find special offers that waive the single supplement entirely for specific itineraries or dates. 

Cruise promotions typically appear on the company’s website either on the main page or on a dedicated page for special offers. Special offers are also generally sent out by the companies via email if you sign up to receive them.

 

3. Shop around and consider whether you can be flexible.

There are similar itineraries offered between the various mainstream cruise lines. If there’s not a specific company that you would like to book with, it’s a good idea to browse the different cruise lines and destinations that are being offered. You might find the single supplement is an additional 50% at one company, versus 100% at another. 

By comparing the cabin fare of just one passenger to the fare based on two passengers, the difference in price can tell you how much more you are paying to book a room by yourself.

There’s a variety of factors to consider when searching for vacations and cruises with no single supplement. If you have the opportunity to be flexible, even with the dates and itineraries, there’s likely to be more options for you to compare and choose from.

 
Cruising for Solo Travelers 

While solo travelers might not be able to avoid a single supplement, being aware of the additional surcharge can help you make a decision as to what cruise you would like to book.

Cruise lines regularly offer deals and packages, and with a lower promotional cruise fare, solo travelers may decide it’s still worthwhile to book a cruise, despite paying extra for a single supplement.

See our Solo Cruise Guide to read more about the best cruises to take by yourself.

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