Increasingly, we are seeing a trend towards people booking solo cruises. Following a survey we conducted, we’ve found that 1 in 10 Britons are now travelling solo on holiday*, and that cruise lines are adapting to intrepid individuals’ desires to go it alone.
With the help of cruise experts and industry insiders, we’ll delve into why cruise lines are welcoming the solo boon and what’s drawing cruisers to travel in a party of one.
People are becoming more adventurous
If you’re looking to tick off some locations from your travel wish-list, then solo travel could well be the way to go. The countries and cities that cruise lines sail to make far-flung travel a journey of exploration and adventure, allowing you to see some lesser-travelled locations in a wonderfully streamlined manner.
Solo travel is an adventure in itself. It opens you up to a whole new world of travel, one that you might not initially be used to, but first-time soloists soon find it easy to get into the groove. Depending on what you want out of your holiday, you’ll be meeting like-minded cruisers and enjoying each other’s company in no time. However you approach it, solo travel is a totally refreshing experience that’s custom made for adventurous types.
Holiday providers are making travel super easy
As we mentioned, cruise lines are catering to those cruising on their own more and more, making the prospect of solo travel both attractive and affordable. Of this trend, our own Simon Hoe – Global Head of Digital Marketing at Cruise1st – says: “We are not surprised to discover that more and more holidaymakers are travelling solo. There’s a greater infrastructure than ever for solo travellers to make the most of amazing destinations all around the world. From improved deals and packages for those travelling alone, to smartphone applications making solo journeys easier than ever – there’s never been a better time to book a holiday for one.”
Likewise, Adam Coulter, UK Managing Editor at Cruise Critic told us: “We’re not surprised that more Britons are cruising solo. Encouragingly, more cruise lines are already coming out with priced-for-one solo cruise cabins on both new and reconfigured ships to meet solo travellers’ needs.”
Indeed, the dreaded single supplement – the premium solo cruisers have to pay for one room – is fast becoming a thing of the past. Nick Wilkinson, Vice President and Managing Director for Norwegian Cruise Line, says: “Perhaps the most important step many cruise brands have taken recently is the introduction of dedicated sailing dates for single-supplement-free options, making it possible for guests to be solo travellers without a significant increase in cost. These new opportunities in cruising are part of a wider pattern we are seeing in travel that allows guests to enjoy the benefits of travelling solo.”
So, what are the best lines to cruise with if you’re in your own company? Adam has two that come to mind: “Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has offered solo cabins aboard its ships since the line debuted in 1988, and now has 190 solo cabins allotted across its fleet. However, solo traveller-favourite, Norwegian, undoubtedly remains at the forefront of solo cruise cabin offerings, with its high-design, single occupancy studio cabins”.
You can tailor things your way
Perhaps the greatest benefit of solo travel is that it affords you a freedom you simply don’t get when cruising with family and friends. You can go entirely at your own pace and do what you want to do when you want to. Additionally, cruise lines have plenty to do for the solo-inclined, so there’s never a dull moment onboard. As Simon puts it: “You never have to compromise or follow someone else’s lead – you’re free to do whatever you want, every minute of your holiday.”
From shore excursions, to dinner reservations, even when you want to go to bed in the evening, the choice to tailor your holiday your way is undoubtedly a huge selling point for those looking to venture abroad sans companions.
Adam says: “Today, solo cruisers can expect tailored activity programmes, dedicated cocktail parties for mingling, and dining companions hand-picked for compatibility. There are also lots of opportunities to be sociable, with classes, seminars and shore excursions, while Gentlemen Hosts ensure ladies travelling alone aren’t left with an empty dance card.”
Even if you start the journey on your own, there are plenty of opportunities to get to know fellow soloists.
Likewise, Nick notes: “Simple additions such as events for solo-cruisers and perfectly-sized accommodation make it possible to enjoy a holiday with some ‘me time’ whilst also meeting other like-minded travellers. New options such as interconnected single rooms which allow guests to travel with friends whilst enjoying their private space are also proving to be increasingly popular on our ships.”
Overseeing the results, Adam believes: “Although more cruise lines are [already]starting to increase their solo accommodations, I expect these survey results will ensure that the solo cruiser will continue to be an important consideration for cruise lines in the years to come.”
A more personal experience
Travelling without compromise, solo cruisers are free to get to know new people – including the crew – and do exactly as they please for the duration of their journey. Lisa Harris, Head of Communications at Saga Holidays, describes the experience a lone cruiser should expect:
“Solo travellers on our cruises really are treated like royalty. They’re picked up from home by a chauffeur driven vehicle and they don’t see their luggage again until they get to their cabin. And, it doesn’t take long for the onboard team to know all of our passengers by name and to make sure that they have as much, or as little support as they need to ensure they really do have a holiday of a lifetime. We also organise a number of events for independent travellers so if they want to go on a specific excursion but would like to do so with company, they can get to know who the other single travellers are.
“Travelling solo for the first time can be a little daunting, but it shouldn’t stop anyone. If people want to travel they really should keep doing the things they love… and once you’ve done it once it will open up a whole new world of travel possibilities.”
This royal treatment – combined with the luxurious surroundings of a cruise ship – is perfect for solo holidaymakers.
Do you prefer travelling solo, or with friends and family? Tweet us and let us know how you like to holiday.
*Survey data based on a sample size of 270 UK-based 270 M/F respondents, yielding a 90% confidence level and 6.1% margin of error.