Wanted: Information on how to avoid the dreaded Single Supplement on cruises and group tours. How have you successfully accomplished this?
According to Wikipedia, “The single supplement is a premium charged to solo travelers when they take a room alone. The amount involved ranges from 10 to 100 percent of the standard accommodation rate.” Usually the amount is closer to 100 percent, but there are ways around it. Since most rooms for tours or cruises must include a bathroom, it is more cost effective to have two people in a room. You even have this problem when you book a hotel room. It may be advertised as a single, but you are paying for two.
The most common way to beat the single supplement is to have the tour company or cruise line match you with another traveler, so that you can share a room. I did this for a 13 day bus tour of Ireland. The 82-year-old lady was a bundle of energy and a great roommate. Unfortunately, I was sick for the first few days and less than energetic. She was a bit judgmental when I chose to skip a side trip and told me that this was touring not a vacation, when I complained about getting up early. I had just been through a stressful school year, apartment move and a relationship break up, so even though I needed a diversion I should have taken a relaxing cruise and paid for the supplement.
That was about 10 years ago and more options are now available. Some cruise lines are offering smaller cabins for singles. You have to be proactive and book early, as they go quickly. Also, since cabins are so compact, plan on spending more time ashore, on deck or enjoying the onboard activities. You can also book at the last minute when some cruise lines waive their single supplements. Passion for Cruises offers no or low single supplements. http://www.passionforcruises.co.uk/singles.php. Check out their website for 2015-2017 deals now. When perusing their website, I noticed that European cruise lines definitely try harder to meet the needs of solo travelers. Smaller ships started first and then the larger cruise lines realized that we make up a large and ever increasing segment of the travel population.
Cruise lines that offer single cabins according to http://www.cruisecritic.com include: Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas with 28 dedicated “studio” cabins on each ship. The Radiance of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas offer cabins with a twin bed, private bathroom and minifridge. Costa Cruises has limited single cabins in both inside and outside units on half of its ships, including its two newest vessels, Costa Favolosa and Costa Fascinosa, with 17 solo cabins each. All Fred. Olsen ships – Balmoral, Boudicca, Braemar and Black Watch offer solo cabins, ranging in number from 40 (Braemar) to 64 (Balmoral), including a few balcony suites. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Epic was the first ship in its fleet to feature studio cabins (128 in all). The line continued the trend with Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, which each feature 59 studio cabins. The Norwegian Escape (entering the market in October 2015) will feature 82 studio units. Four studios have also been added to Pride of America, which sails year-round in Hawaii. P&O’s Azura and Ventura offer 18 dedicated single cabins, Britannia has 27.
My search for land tours brought me to a helpful agent named Larry at Overseas Travel Adventures, https://www.oattravel.com. He told me that there is never a single supplement on land tours with them or their parent company, Grand Circle Travel, http://www.gct.com. Grand Circle Travel offers land tours that are slower paced while Overseas Travel Adventures lives up to its name with more adventurous offerings. Their Ambassador Referral Program gives you credit towards a trip when your referral gives your customer number and name to the companies. My Customer Number is 1005277, by the way, in case you book a trip. I can tell you that my experience with them was very positive and I look forward to traveling with them in the future.
Saga, https://travel.saga.co.uk, offers a variety of options, some tailored to single Baby Boomers. I checked online for a few vacations and there was an extra charge, but it was not substantial. I emailed them and Harry replied with this answer, “We do try wherever possible to have holidays without single supplements, though it is not always possible. We do also have single cabins on our cruises, unlike some companies. Additionally, we have holidays reserved specifically for solo travelers.”
I had difficulty finding other land tours that do not require a single supplement, so I would be very appreciative if you could suggest any for my readers. You can post a link in the comment section or on my Facebook Page.
Just you, “the specialists in single holidays”, https://www.justyou.co.uk. offers great travel options which include the following types of activities; active, city, festive, escape, explore and tours. SoloTraveler Blog, http://solotravelerblog.com. gives you “9 travel bloggers, 9 stories, 9 perspectives” on their blog and you can sign–up for a newsletter with deals and tips.
Singles are demanding our rights in all arenas and with more Baby Boomers in the mix, travel companies find it beneficial to cater to our needs. There are many sites out there, but be careful that the single holidays you choose are not just singles looking for partners, unless that is what you want.
When I was on my last trip my cat was suffering from allergies. Even though I have a great pet sitter, I worried about her. That leads to my next question.
What advantages or disadvantages are there to having a pet in your life?
Share opinions and pet stories, both positive and negative on this blog or my Facebook Page, Single Boomer Life. You don’t have to be single to share your story or opinion. Links to other blogs and articles are also helpful for my readers and me.
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Happy travels, my friends.