And though a cruise with a significant other or the rest of the family is a perennially popular choice, fewer people think of taking the solo option and booking a cruise alone.
But these holidays can be just as rewarding and enjoyable, giving you as much flexibility as you want along with opportunities to meet like-minded travellers and see some of the world’s finest tourist destinations.
Daily activities will keep you entertained while onboard, while organised excursions or solo trips let you see a magnificent range of towns and cities at your leisure. Solo-specific events mean that meeting other travellers is as easy as sitting down to dinner, while you’ll have a comfortable solo cabin to come back to at the end of each day.
If you’ve got the itch to book, we’ve rounded up a selection of the best cruise liners for single passengers below.
Riviera Travel operates river cruises around the world, with destinations as far as Egypt and Vietnam. Nevertheless, the focus is on European river cruises, with plenty of packages to the Rhine, Rhone, Seine, Douro and Danube on offer. Packages include return flights, airport transfers and all meals onboard, with an extensive range of excursions and activities including guided tours and on-board folk music shows.
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European river cruises are the only option that Riviera offers for solo travellers, with seven routes that cover the continent’s main rivers. Prices include all the same features as a standard booking – such as excursions, onboard meals and Wi-Fi – but with spacious single occupancy cabins and welcome dinners to help you meet people. Solo bookings also include the ‘superior’ drinks package, which gives guests an extensive selection of alcoholic drinks available both at lunch and between 6pm and midnight. The Rhine and Moselle package is their most affordable, starting in Cologne and taking you to beautiful towns like Koblenz and Rudesheim.
Virgin Voyages offers adult-only cruises packed with a huge range of activities, from morning yoga classes to evening cabaret. There are plenty of solo cabins – their inaugural ship, Scarlet Lady, has 46 – and itineraries include solo meet-ups, activities and excursions with plenty of opportunities to meet other single travellers.
Packages include food, drink and activities as standard. With only four ships in the fleet, your choice of destination is slightly more limited, though you can still visit picturesque locations in Europe, the Caribbean, parts of Southern Asia and Australia. The Southeastern Caribbean Isles package will take you on a roundtrip from Puerto Rico, stopping in Guadeloupe, Barbados, St Lucia and Antigua.
Tauck claims to have specialised in solo travel for over 90 years, and today this translates to special solo savings and no single supplement on European river cruises. Travellers looking to see the continent ‘solo style’ can benefit from savings of up to £750, and will enjoy more stylish, contemporary ships with fewer guests for an overall more luxurious experience. Trips cover Europe’s main waterways, and prices include all food, drink, activities and shore tours. Choose the Yuletide package between Brussels and Amsterdam for a festive experience at some of the best Christmas markets – and prettiest waterways – on the continent.
Ambassador Cruise Line
Ambassador is a new cruise line where trips begin in cities around the UK, including Liverpool, Belfast, Dundee and Bristol. Both Ambience and Ambition have 89 dedicated cabins set aside for solo travellers, available “at a special single supplement against the equivalent twin fare based on selected single cabin categories”. The operator journeys to a vast range of destinations considering there are only two ships in its fleet, with voyages going as far as Singapore, Brazil and New Zealand.
Ambassador’s cruises contain an extensive programme of activities for solo passengers, including a ‘Welcome Get Together’ and guided tours together with other solo travellers. Other onboard entertainment ranges from West End-style shows to comedy nights, with plenty of opportunities to meet others. If cruising during winter, visit Norway to see wondrous fjords and (possibly) the aurora borealis, with the Land of the Northern Lights package.
Oceania has made considerable investment in providing options for solo travellers, with its newest ship, Vista, containing six 270-square-foot solo cabins that include balconies, premium lounge access and a welcome bottle of champagne. It has fitted its older ships with 14 ‘Solo Staterooms’, all of which offer magnificent sea views.
Oceania voyages make it easy to meet like-minded travellers with solo meet-and-greet events, large mixed dining tables, mixed shore excursions and single-traveller activities such as art classes. Destinations range from the Mediterranean and Scandinavia to South Africa and the tropics, meaning solo travellers have opportunities to see a large portion of the world alone. Book the 14-day Miami to Tenerife cruise to experience Mediterranean charm and Caribbean beauty in late March.
Royal Caribbean say that they do not “have specific pricing for single occupancy” cabins, but that they do offer single cabins on some of their ships, including Brilliance of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Spectrum of the Seas. These cruises “can be reserved by someone cruising alone without the usual single supplement fee”, and they cover an extensive range of destinations, from Europe to the Caribbean and Singapore to Australia.
Passengers can reserve inside studio staterooms, virtual balcony staterooms and super studio ocean view stateroom with balconies, giving them between 101 and 199 square feet of space. Everything else will be the same as usual, meaning you can enjoy the same benefits as every other guests without paying a premium. If departing from the UK, the only tours available take you around Europe; the most extensive is the Mediterranean Cities package, covering Seville, Sardinia, Rome, Lisbon and more.
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