While most people think of cruising as a great vacation for families or a group of friends, they can make for a great solo trip, too. You do not have to worry about coordinating dinner plans or browsing through shore excursions trying to get everyone to agree on a single outing.
Plus, with so many scheduled activities, it's easy to find an event you are interested in and strike up a conversation with others in attendance. If you ever find yourself not knowing what to talk about, simply discuss what you did while in port!
As with any vacation, however, you will want to do enough research ahead of time, so there are minimal surprises. One of the first things you should know about solo cruising is that cruise lines charge single supplement fees to those traveling alone.
Since the vast majority of all cruise ship cabins are designed for at least two people, if you decide to reserve a standard stateroom for your solo cruise, you'll likely be paying the cost of two guests. The reason for this is that the bottom line of all cruise lines' revenue is calculated based on double occupancy.
How much does it cost to take a cruise by yourself?
Let's say that I was interested in taking a 7-night cruise onboard Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas in September 2024. The cost of two passengers in a standard interior
In comparison, the price per day to cruise on the same sailing alone increases to just about $230 per day.
When thinking about how much solo cruises cost, I wanted to compare the sailing on Harmony of the Seas to an older vessel. I found another 7-night Caribbean cruise in September 2024 onboard Enchantment of the Seas. The latter ship was launched in 1997, whereas Harmony of the Seas didn't set sail until 2016.
Sailing by myself on Enchantment of the Seas would cost roughly $1,500, while sailing with another passenger would decrease the total to $1,424.
Of course, the actual price you pay will vary based on what ship you're sailing on (i.e., newer vs. older), what line, duration, and when. Cruises to the Caribbean in a balcony cabin during July are more expensive than sailings to the Caribbean in an interior stateroom during October.
There are ways you can avoid paying a single supplement fee
To avoid the dreaded single supplement fee, you will want to book a solo cabin. These staterooms have been designed to accommodate just one passenger, so you won't be charged double.
With the popularity of solo voyages increasing, more and more cruise lines have decided to add solo cabins to their fleet. In fact, Norwegian Cruise Line is doubling down on their studio cabins. In 2024, guests will be able to find three new categories of solo cabins onboard their ships: solo inside, solo oceanview, and solo balcony.
With the majority of all cabins still being outfitted to accommodate at least two guests, you will want to book your solo cruise early. Some ships, such as Adventure of the Seas, have as few as five solo cabins onboard. All five of these staterooms can be found at the front of the ship on Deck 2.
Solo cabins do tend to be the smallest accommodations onboard. Virgin Voyage's solo staterooms, for instance, measure just 105 square feet. Of course, that doesn't mean all cruise lines are following this trend, as Celebrity Edge has 17 Infinite Veranda staterooms for single travelers that come in at 131 square feet.
Similarly, Holland America Line has 12 oceanview staterooms for solo guests on their newest ships - MS Koningsdam, Nieuw Statendam, and Rotterdam - that range anywhere from 127 to 172 square feet.
While still on the smaller end, newer ships have interior staterooms for two that are not much larger. When I cruised onboard Carnival Celebration, for example, my interior room was only 158 square feet.
Cruise.Blog writer Hayley had the opportunity to sail in a studio cabin while cruising onboard Norwegian Encore. While she found the 99-square-foot cabin to be more spacious and modern than she imagined, one of the aspects she appreciated the most was access to the dedicated studio lounge just for solo travelers!
Not all cruise lines provide a lounge just for guests by themselves, though. Onboard Royal Caribbean and Carnival ships, for instance, you won't find any similar amenities, but they do offer meet-ups for solo guests to make it easier to mingle with others.
Sometimes, cruise lines will have deals where the single supplement fee is waived
Cruise lines will often offer cruise booking perks to entice potential passengers to sail with them over a competitor.
Through late October 2023, for instance, Virgin Voyages ran a promotion that waived the single supplement fee on select European voyages onboard Resilient and Valiant Lady.
While it would not be too helpful if you were planning a Caribbean voyage, it pays to keep your eyes out for promotions. When scoping out cruise deals, it's useful to talk to a travel agent, as they would know if there were any that would help you save your hard-earned money!
What is taking a solo cruise like?
In 2023, I had the opportunity to take four solo cruises on three different lines. I started the year off sailing alone on Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas in January, and six months later, I boarded my first-ever European cruise on MSC Seashore.
In July, I took a 4-night Bahamas cruise onboard Freedom of the Seas and rounded out my solo adventures for the year on Carnival Celebration in October. In total, I spent 25 nights alone on a cruise ship within the span of one year.
Solo cruises force me out of my comfort zone. While I suppose I could go an entire voyage without speaking to anyone but crew members, that would be lonely. Instead, I find myself striking up conversations with strangers more easily than when I'm at home. Out of those four voyages, I still keep in contact with friends that I made on two of them.
Additionally, I love that I don't have to align my schedule with anyone else's desires. For instance, on both my MSC Seashore and Freedom of the Seas cruise, I was able to make the decision to splurge on teppanyaki. I also bought a last-minute excursion to Thrill Waterpark, which is something I couldn't have done if someone else was sailing with me, as admission cost $149!
Of course, taking a vacation by yourself can be a little awkward, and I found myself missing my friends and family at times. On all four cruises, I had to pay the single supplement fee, too. When I cruised onboard Carnival Celebration, for instance, I paid $1,900 for a week in an interior room!
That being said, my experiences have been positive, and I would recommend taking a solo cruise at least once in your life! You never know, you may fall in love with it!