Traveling solo. Dealing with the single supplement cruise lines charge
by Tom P. Blake "On Life and Love After 50" newsletter
With summertime arriving, people often talk about travel and taking trips. I've received lots of questions about the vacation Greta and I recently took to
Champ Donia, , emailed a question about travel
companies that cater to single travelers. We address her question today. San Clemente, California
emailed, "Have you written anything about traveling solo after age 50. I
love to travel but find that, especially, on cruises, the single supplement is daunting.
I have traveled to San Clemente, California India, Thailand, and Europe
on my own with women friends (no tours) and would love suggestions of web sites
catering to our type of traveler."
What Donia is referring to as the single supplement is when cruise lines display the list price of cabins for a cruise, the prices are based upon two people or double occupancy. So, for example, when Greta and I check out a cruise, and the price for the stateroom is let's say $2,000, that means the price for each of us is $1,000.
But when Donia checks out the same cruise and the same sized stateroom, the cost for her is $2,000, which is known as the (dreaded) single supplement. It seems unfair to singles, but the cruise lines are trying to maximize revenue. The single supplement makes cruising for many singles prohibitively expensive. But, when you think about it, hotels do the same thing with their rooms.
As a coincidence, the April/May print issue of AARP's The Magazine, featured an article written by Myrna Blyth, titled, "Somewhere Beyond the Sea." It was about a widow who took a cruise to honor her deceased husband. In the article, there is a sidebar titled "Save Going Solo," written by Christina lanzito, that discussed the single supplement:
"...The industry is adapting. Five Norwegian-line cruise ships now have studio cabins priced far less than double occupancy, and some lines periodically slash single supplements or waive them altogether.
"Many river lines are courting solo travelers, too. Fox example, cruise operator Tauck has four solo cabins on new riverboats and is charging no single supplement for basic cabins on 2015 European cruises.
"If you can't find any solo deals for your dream cruise, ask. Practical companies would rather book a single in a double cabin than have it sail empty."
I asked travel agent, Ann Ronan, San Juan Capistrano, California, to comment on single supplements. Ann said, "The cruise industry recognizes the growing numbers of single travelers and is getting creative in balancing the need for profit with the demand for singles cabins. Norwegians Getaway, Breakaway and Epic ships and Royal Caribbean international's Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas--now have solo cabins.
"In the luxury category, Crystal Cruises is the most popular with singles with nearly 25% of solo passengers on some of their sailings. Silverseas also offers discounted single supplements on many sailings. All of the major river cruise companies also offer waived or discounted single supplements on select sailings. For example, Tauck has no single supplements on ANY European river cruise if you don't mind the category 1 cabins with a small window. Their French balcony cabins have discounted supplements."
"I have had such a demand for singles travel that I now send out a brief, weekly update of all the reduced or waived supplement cruise and tour itineraries and dates each Friday to all the singles on my email list who request it."
If any of you are interested in receiving Ann's weekly update on the reduced cost of staterooms for singles, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On July 12, 2015, I received an email from AMA Waterways announcing that it was waiving the single supplement on many of its river cruises. The email stated, "Book any 2015 or 2016 river cruise in Europe, Asia or Africa and pay no single supplement on select categories! Ask for details."
And speaking of Ann, and cruises, I have not mentioned in quite some time the short cruise that Ann has arranged for November 12 to November 16 on the Star Princess out of
. She calls it
the "Tom Blake Loving Life After 55 Cruise." We now have seven cabins
booked from our group of Champs. Los Angeles
My partner Greta and I will be on the cruise and I'm told by Ann that I will be giving a short presentation or two on the sea day when we sail between Catalina Island and
If you have never cruised before, this is a perfect way to sample cruising on an extraordinary ship, the Star Princess. Ann is working hard to get the cost as low as possible for each of us.
If you care to join us on the cruise, contact Ann as follows:
Phone: 949 702-3977
November 12-16 Star Princess Cruise information/flyer/registration page Tom Blake "Loving Life After 55" cruise November 12, 2015