By Laurie Jo Miller Farr
The single supplement on cruises is getting a closer look as cruise companies seek a younger demographic. Look beyond the cruise line look to each individual ship; some have been reconfigured or built new with solo cabins, such as Norwegian Epic and Azura from P&O Cruises. The itinerary, onboard lifestyle, and destination are equally significant in determining the right singles cruise. Chances of mingling with other single travelers are higher aboard a cruise ship that offers plenty of cabins for one.
Signature Event Sailings on Celebrity
Do something you love. Celebrity Summit is floating home to the ever-popular jazz cruise on Celebrity Cruises since 2001. In and out of Fort Lauderdale, the 7-night itinerary includes ports of call in New Orleans and Cozumel, Mexico. If jazz isn’t your top pick, there are other musical-themed cruises such as ’70s Rock & Romance Cruise to Jamaica and Grand Cayman. “Bravo” cruise departs from Southampton, England to sail the Mediterranean with entertainment from top talent in the performing arts world of opera, classical, stage. Alternatively, attend a major international event. Destination-focused signature events on Celebrity include the British Open, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Carnaval in Brazil, and the World Soccer Tournament. Go solo in style with the new Edge Single Stateroom with Infinite Veranda. Debuting in November, the proportions and amenities match a double stateroom, except it’s for one.
Dance Ambassadors on Crystal Cruises
The multi-million dollar refit (stern-to-bow unlimited Wi-Fi) of luxury Crystal Symphony debuted in October 2017; Crystal Serenity follows suit in autumn 2018. Single travelers can take a golf clinic with a PGA pro, Pilates and yoga classes, language instruction from Berlitz, wine tastings, art lessons, and computer instruction classes. Crystal’s “Table for Eight” program arranges for single travelers to dine with each other in specialty restaurants. When it’s time for cha cha, swing, and foxtrot after-dinner dancing in posh lounges, Crystal’s popular Ambassador Hosts and Hostesses concept provides professional dance partners for travelers without one. Scour the 2018 voyage finder to review 54 itineraries visiting 312 ports of call in 78 countries.
Norwegian Sets the Studio Standard
A tip of the hat to Norwegian Cruise Line for being first to feature purpose-built studio cabins and cater to solo pricing on Norwegian Epic in 2009. The cruise industry noticed and woke up to embrace the trend. NCL added more cabins on Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Escape. Not for the shy solo traveler, these are big ships with a guest capacity around the 4,000 mark. Studio Lounge is Norwegian’s exclusive spot open to studio cabin key holders for socializing over complimentary coffee and snacks or during the daily hosted happy hours. Need a singles-only cruise after a family Thanksgiving holiday? In late November, the new Norwegian Bliss sails from sunny Miami through Eastern Caribbean islands for snorkeling, pristine beaches, 4×4 vehicle exploring, tropical drinks and the beat of Caribbean music.
P&O Adults-Only Cruises
Why not meet Europeans? P&O is a hybrid British-American cruise company owned by Carnival with its home port in Southampton, England. As the world’s oldest cruise line, they know a thing or two about sailing and catering to grownups. P&O has solo cabins on six of their eight ships including Arcadia, mid-sized at about 2,000 passengers and exclusively for adults. On board there are six dining spots, a luxurious salon and spa with a large hydrotherapy pool and thermal suite, a big theater and an intimate cinema, nine lounges and piano bars to change up the scenery. Fly to London, make your way to Hampshire (75 miles) for embarkation, and head off to the Norwegian fjords or the Mediterranean sun.
Culinary and Winemaker Cruises
There’s no mistaking the popularity of winemaker and cooking schools at sea led by top chefs, a great interactive focus for solo guests on cruises in 2018. Holland America runs “America’s Test Kitchen” Cruises and the Caribbean-bound MasterChef Cruise with TV show favorites. Norwegian invites international experts onboard for “Meet the Winemakers” cruises in partnership with Mondavi Winery, while Windstar and Crystal partner with wineries of Napa and Sonoma on two 2018 cruises. Windstar provides a James Beard Foundation experience and Puerto Rican Bacardi rum distillery visit led by Chef Mario Pagan. Departing from Charleston, Carnival Ecstasy heads for the Bahamas hosted by Francine Bryson, author of “Blue Ribbon Baking from a Redneck Kitchen.” Oceania’s Executive Culinary Director, Jacques Pépin, comes aboard signature sailings to conduct hands-on culinary classes.