Cruise Report: Shun Valentine's Day and run away to sea
Saturday 08 February 2014
Valentine's Day is looming. However, if you feel like opting out, you might celebrate your independence by booking a holiday on board a cruise ship. Shared dinner tables, cocktail parties, deck games, group shore excursions and even professional dance partners can make a cruise the ideal holiday for a solo traveller.
Unfortunately, it can also come with a cruelly high price tag. With a dearth of single cabins on most ships – P&O's new ship Britannia, will have just 27 single cabins out of 1,837 – the alternative is to pay for a double cabin at a supplement, sometimes as much as 100 per cent, but usually about 70 per cent, which is bad enough. Solo passengers aren't encouraged by most cruise lines, even though a recent survey by the online cruise agency bonvoyage.com found that on average lone cruisers spend more than twice as much on extras (on average £495 per cruise) as people sailing in a couple or group.
One company, Holland America Line (0843 374 1300; hollandamerica.co.uk), has a Single Partners Program. Here you pay your fare based on the per-person-price for two sharing and if they can't find you a room mate of the same sex, you get the twin cabin to yourself with no extra charge. Pot luck, but could be interesting. Single fares start at £743 for a one-week cruise to Norway from Dover on 3 May.
Most lines have periodic "no single supplement" offers but they are snapped up fast. So keep a watch on the cruise lines' websites or get a travel agent to keep an eye out for you. Currently Swan Hellenic (0844 417 1939; swanhellenic.com) has no single supplements aboard Minerva, sailing for 17 days from Barbados on 29 March to Tenerife, from £1,999 including flights. Book by 28 February.
Ramblers Worldwide (01707 386767; www.cruiseandwalk.co.uk) has five cruise-and-walk holidays this year carrying no supplements for single occupancy of twin cabins with sea views, if booked before 28 February. For example, sail for 12 nights, on a round trip from Harwich down to Porto aboard Fred Olsen's mid-size, traditional ship Black Watch on 20 May for £1,250.
Norwegian Cruise Line (0845 201 8900; ncl.co.uk) has come up with "The Studios" on its three newest ships. Norwegian Epic has 128 cleverly designed, one-passenger cabins with wide beds. Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Gateway have 59 similar studio cabins on board. The studios are grouped around their own private lounge with a bar where the occupants can meet and mingle over coffee or a drink. A one-week Caribbean cruise aboard Getaway on 22 August from Miami costs from £1,601 in a Studio cabin, including flights.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 5 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
Inside Travel: Greece 2015 Q&A - should we cancel our Greek holiday? Are our flights safe? And what will we be spending there?
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
The most powerful passports in the world
Iceland's new 500m tunnel through one of Europe's largest glaciers: Welcome to the ice age
The 10 Best hiking boots
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
£25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...
£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...
£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...
£23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...