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Cinset) RUISING HAS always been great for solo travellers — with everything from small, intimate ships where you quickly get to know your fellow passengers to larger luxury liners offering group excursions and communal dining.
And cruise lines are waking up to the fact that solo travel is one of the fastest-growing trends in the industry, both on land and at sea. They are offering more single cabins or staterooms with no single supplements, as well as special areas for solo travellers on some ships.
It is no surprise that the number of people booking a cruise singles holiday doubled for 2016 compared to 2015, according to One in three of those was under 50 too; underlining the fact that cruising is no longer solely for older travellers.
Ships are becoming more hi-tech, offering more facilities and activities on board and providing a much wider range of itineraries than ever before, so there is no shortage of amusements for solos.
Norwegian Epic was one of the first to transform the world of solo cruising with “studio” cabins when it launched in 2010. These are all in the same area of the ship and occupants have their own exclusive lounge where they can mingle, as well as special solo-traveller events to help break the ice. Norwegian Cruise Lines (
was also the first to introduce the Freestyle dining concept, transforming cruising from the fixed formal early or late dining-room seating to the more relaxed mix on offer today. So it is easy to head for dinner with new friends, join a communal table or enjoy your own company over a mix of cuisines.
These days, they are far from alone. P&O Cruises ( has single cabins on most of the ships in its fleet without a scarily inflated cost, including outside cabins on Ventura and Azura, balcony cabins on Britannia and options on adults-only Oriana and Arcadia.
Cunard’s three ships have all had single staterooms added in their 2015/16 refurbishments, while Thomson’s TUI Discovery 2, launching this summer, has both single inside and outside cabins.
If you are new to cruising solo, find the perfect singles holiday with these tips: 1 CHECK THE SUPPLEMENT
Cruise lines are realising that charging individuals a hefty supplement is not a popular move but prices for single staterooms or solo discounts will still vary. Sites such as iglu cruise (
have great discounts on cruises but will also list the single price separately, so it is clear what the trip costs.
Keep an eye out for discounts, too. After waiving the standard single supplement on all category-one cabins for its European River Cruises in 2016, Tauck has decided to repeat the offer for 2017. Uniworld ( also has more than 200 “no solo supplement” departures across its 2017 Europe and Russia river cruise programme. 2 CHECK THE CABIN
Although more ships have dedicated solo cabins these days, they are often less-desirable indoor staterooms — although not always. The Cruise Critic ( website has more than 300 deck plans for different ships so it is easy to see where you will be on board. Consider if there is a separate singles lounge, how much time you are planning to spend in there and how much you might miss a balcony or view too. 3 CHECK THE WELCOME
Cruises have plenty of casual ways to break the ice, from group excursions to communal dining to simply getting chatting in the sunshine. But several lines have special activities laid on for solo travellers.
Both of Saga’s ( ships, the Sapphire and Pearl II, have a singles meet-up on port days so you can explore with others, as well as singles drinks and lunch and single cabins — all exclusively for age 50-plus.
Fred Olsen ( is another great option for this age group. With a wide range of single cabins on its ships and sailings with no supplement on some room categories, the ships also have options to pair up solo travellers for dinner, dance hosts to ensure everyone has a dance partner and male companions for excursions. 4 CHECK THE STYLE
With everything from vessels with a dozen cabins up to mega-ships carrying thousands, you have the choice of a small friendly group or themed cruise or an array of facilities from the big cruise companies. The Majestic Line (
has space for just 10 guests on its voyages around Scotland, while those interested in archaeology and history should try a gulet cruise from Peter Sommer Travels ( on which you island-hop in Greece or cruise the Italian coast, accompanied by expert guides.
For something more intrepid, G Adventures ( runs small group trips, to destinations from Croatia to the Caribbean, as well as river cruises in Asia and South America, with around half those on the trips travelling solo.
Norwegian Epic offers cosy studio rooms (
Epic studio lounge and ( right) P&O Azura outside single stateroom