Anyone traveling the cruise ship circuit knows there is a distinct difference between a 'single' cruiser and a 'solo' cruiser. Those fitting into the category of single cruiser are looking to find like minded people to socialize and party with. Solo cruisers on the other hand are those who prefer to travel alone and are not seeking out a 'singles lifestyle'. Solo travelers vacation on their own terms and interact with others when,where and in a style that suits them.
Cruise ship holidays are a popular choice no matter if you are a single traveler, solo traveler, couple or family. Unfortunately though in the past there has been little opportunity for the solo traveler to find their 'sea legs' due to the financial penalties imposed by cruise ship companies, with some solo passengers paying up to twice as much as the published price in order to secure a cabin on board.
Thankfully times are changing, with some cruise lines now offering solo travelers a chance to cruise the world without being penalized. More and more cruise lines are now offering solo travelers 'priced for one cabin' configurations doing away with the heavy penalties which applied previously in the area of cruising.
Some solo travelers may feel a large cruise ship experience to be a little overwhelming when in fact, a number of cruise lines have built smaller ships with a dedicated number of cabins specifically designed and built to accommodate the solo traveler. Once such company is Norwegian Cruise Line.
The company has recognized the ageing population has an ever increasing appetite for travel which is slowly filtering into the profile of a 'typical' cruise passenger. For couples and families cruising represents great value for money, now solo travelers can share in this same experience also.
By choosing a smaller ship for your cruise a solo traveler can feel comfortable in a more intimate environment where the atmosphere is more relaxed, making it easier to connect with other solo travelers on board. Many cruise ships offer a host of activities and events where solo's can visit lounge bars or poolside locations to make new friends and enjoy the company of others. Some cruises even offer up 'solo or single's nights' for those looking to meet other like minded passengers on board.
In all, there are a number of major companies in the cruise market vying for the solo traveler dollar. Solo cabins are usually snapped up early, so my advice is to do you homework well ahead to lock in the best package for your solo cruise travel adventure.
Solo Cruise Cabins Reviewed
1. Norwegian Cruise Line
Ships: Norwegian Cruise Line is miles ahead of its competitors in the cruising space with a range of offerings for passengers traveling solo. 5 of the cruise line's 15 ships offer a range of contemporary single-occupancy studio cabins including the Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway and Pride of America.
Cabins: Norwegian Epic boasts 128 solo studio cabins on board, with its sister ship, Norwegian Escape offering 82 studio cabins. Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway offer 59 studio staterooms respectively.
Norwegian Cruise Lines boast the most single cabins of any cruise line going far above and beyond when catering to solo passengers, with its 'keycard access only Studio Complex' (situated on Deck 12 for Breakaway, Getaway and Epic, and Deck 11 for Escape).
These areas not only cluster together a range of studio staterooms, the area also contains a Studio Lounge. The Studio Lounge is an exclusive social hub with a bar and television viewing area where studio guests can connect at anytime to socialize over complimentary coffee and snacks or by attending the daily hosted happy hour meet ups.
The cabins themselves reflect stylishly designed contemporary staterooms fitted with ambient mood lighting, a flat-screen television and full-sized beds. Each inside unit features a window looking out to the corridor with the cabin measuring up at a snug but well-designed 100 square feet. In comparision, standard double occupancy rooms on Norwegian begin at 135 square feet. In addition the Hawaii-based Pride of America has been retrofitted with four similarly designed studio cabins located on Deck 13 of the ship.
2. Royal Caribbean International
Ships: At the time of writing, Royal Caribbean's fleet of almost 24 ships including Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas offer state rooms for solo travelers.
Cabins: On board the Royal Caribbean Quantum Class ships, are two cabin categories which are available for solo travelers with both offering standard amenities and European sized double beds. Studio interior staterooms measure 101 square feet and boast an industry-first virtual balcony, an 80-inch-high floor-to-ceiling LED screen that projects real-time views of the ocean and ports.
Studio balcony staterooms measure in at 119 square feet and come with a 55 square-foot open-air veranda. Its worth noting standard rooms on the same ships measure approximately 160 to 180 square feet. Each of the Quantum-class ships feature 16 studio interior staterooms and 12 balcony staterooms.
The cabins are located midship and are spread out between Decks 6 through 13. Its possible to connect two adjoining staterooms for any solo's traveling together. Harmony of the Seas have a handful of studio interior staterooms featuring virtual balconies but unlike Quantum-class vessels, the ship does not have any studio balcony staterooms.
3. P&O Cruises
Ships: British line P&O Cruises have a range of single cabins on six of their seven ships including Azura, Arcadia, Aurora, Britannia, Oriana and Ventura.
Cabins: Solo cruise cabin configurations do vary by ship, with all featuring an over sized single bed and standard amenities. Their ship, Britannia features the most dedicated single occupancy cabins in the fleet, with 15 solo balcony cabins measuring 164 square feet including the balcony, and 12 solo inside cabins coming in at 134 square feet.
Azura was the first of the line's newly built ships to debut with single cabins 2010, offering solo passengers 18 single cabins including 12 outside cabins and 6 inside cabins all measuring in at 130 square feet. Retrofitted sister ship Ventura offers the same range of cabin style.
Arcadia was retrofitted in 2013 to accommodate two solo balcony cabins measuring 206 square feet, and four solo inside cabins sized at 189 square feet, situated on Deck 10. Aurora has also undergone a retrofit and now features four outside solo cabins measuring 150 square feet, located on decks 9 and 11. When retrofitted, the Oriana made provision for two inside solo cabins measuring 118 square feet which are located on Deck 8 of the ship.
P&O's solo cruise cabins range in size from 118 to 206 square feet which is a generous size considering standard cabins are slightly larger from between 137 to 237 square feet.
4. Holland America Line
Ships: Holland America Line offers only two ships with single cabins. Koningsdam features 12 dedicated solo cabins with ocean views and Prinsendam has three single-occupancy cabins.
Cabins: The cabins on board Koningsdam feature ocean views and are located on Deck 1, ranging in size from 127 to 172 square feet. All cabins feature the same amenities of a dual occupancy cabin with the exception of a single twin bed. On board Prinsendam a trio of solo cabins, two of which feature as outside cabins which are located on Deck 9 and one inside on Deck 5. The cabins measure between 156 to 205 square feet.
5. Costa Cruises
Ships: Costa Cruises boast a 15 ship fleet and depending on which one you choose, may feature anywhere from 6 to 21 solo cruise cabins. Costa Diadema has 21 cabins, Costa Fascinosa, Costa Favolosa, Costa Pacifica, Costa Serena all offer 17 cabins respectively. Costa Magica and Costa Fortuna offer up 14 cabins each, while the Costa NeoRomantica and Costa NeoClassica have six solo cabins each.
Cabins: Designated solo cabins are available in both windowless inside or ocean view outside units. Unfortunately none feature a balcony. Cabins area dispersed throughout each ship. The decor and amenities featured in the cabins are identical to a standard cabin, though they feature one twin bed. Solo staterooms range in size from 102 to 199 square feet, depending upon which of the nine ships the traveler selects. In comparison standard double occupancy cabins start at 126 square feet for inside cabins.
6. Cunard Line
Ships: During a multi million dollar refurbishment, Cunard added nine solo staterooms each on Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth together with 15 ocean-view solo cabins on board the Queen Mary 2.
Cabins: Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth feature solo cruise cabins which are located at midship location on Deck 2 which is close to popular spaces including The Royal Court Theater and Queens Room where afternoon tea and evening dancing sessions are held.
Solo passengers can choose from eight ocean-view rooms boasting expansive windows or one inside cabin. On board Queen Mary 2, each of the 15 single staterooms all feature windows. Each of the three ships offer up wide single beds, measuring close to 4 feet in width with ample storage space in the cabin, including a wardrobe. Room configurations measure between 159 to 183 square feet, which is a good size for the solo traveler to enjoy their cruise in comfort.
7. Fred Olsen Cruise Lines
Ships: The United Kingdom based Fred Olsen Cruise Line has long offered solo cabins aboard its ships. Solo cabins are available fleet wide on all four of their ships being; Braemar, Black Watch, Boudicca and Balmoral.
Cabins: The company offers a total of 190 solo cabins located across the decks of each individual ship, covering a variety of cabin categories, including inside cabins measuring between 130 to 140 square feet, versus 140 to 160 square feet in standard cabins, outside cabins measure between 140 to 150 square feet which is the same as a standard cabin, and balcony suites measuring between 140 to 200 square feet when compared with 165 to 200 square feet. Their ship, Braemar boasts 40 single occupancy cabins with Balmoral having 64.
Black Watch and Boudicca each have 43 cabins. All cabins come with standard amenities with the only difference being that a solo cabin features one over sized single bed measuring 6 by 4 feet on most ships.