Are solo cruisers being discriminated by CUNARD?

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#1
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I have been looking at prices of some cruises with Cunard for double occupancy and for solo occupancy. For example a cruise to the Norwegian Fiords in August, a cabin for double occupancy costs about US 2500. The same cabin for solo occupancy costs about US 4500.

This is the first time I see such solo supplements on a cruise line. Is this common practice now with Cunard?
#2
Bunbury WA
502 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Originally posted by travelberlin
I have been looking at prices of some cruises with Cunard for double occupancy and for solo occupancy. For example a cruise to the Norwegian Fiords in August, a cabin for double occupancy costs about US 2500. The same cabin for solo occupancy costs about US 4500.

This is the first time I see such solo supplements on a cruise line. Is this common practice now with Cunard?
In Australia at the moment I am struggling to find any cruise line with a reduction in the single supplement. One popular online agency that I have used before, has prices, but when you go to book it comes up sold out. Why don't they say so in the first place. My cruising days will be coming to an end if this is so, unless I can find someone to sail with. A sad time for all solo passengers. It is not always our choice to sail solo, but necessity. K
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#3
Tampa
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Joined Nov 2007
Except for special promotions, almost every cruise line has a large supplement for single occupancy.
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#4
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Solo prices in most cruise lines go up to paying for one person the price of two. This means if the cruise price is US 1200 per person, than a solo passenger might pay in the worst case I have seen US 2400. But in the case I have given as an example in my original post as a solo you are almost paying the price for 4 people.
#5
Hong Kong
232 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
To be fair, I think the answer to the question posed should be "No", if the intent of the question is in a negative sense. If only looking at the pricing, then the single supplement compensates the cruise line for the 2nd bed in the cabin not being able to be sold by the cruise line. There are agencies that will help a solo traveller find a cabin mate to share a double occupancy cabin.

The other part of the question is, that on Cunard, they do things that are primarily there for solo travellers, like gentlemen dance hosts for single lady dancers (though the hosts dance with all ladies), solo traveller get togethers, solo traveller luncheon arranged by social director, meeting up prior to heading to Captain's cocktail parties (so solo ladies don't have to walk in and stand all alone), etc. So in this sense, yes, there is discrimination for the solo traveller, but in a positive way.
#6
Iowa
1,268 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Hi, travelberlin.

The typical single supplement on Cunard for a voyage booked in the U.S. without any special sale promotions is 175%. That is, if the base fare (before taxes and fees) is $1000 per passenger when booking a cabin for double occupancy, then the base fare would be $1750 for a solo passenger booking that cabin for single occupancy.

Perhaps it would help if you could provide additional details on which specific voyage and cabin grade you are pricing and I'll let you know what pricing I am seeing on my end. But for one example, here are the base fares I am seeing in the U.S. on cunard.com for a category IA cabin for the 8-day Norwegian Fjords voyage on QM2 departing August 21, 2017.

Base fare per person for double occupancy: $2329
Base fare for single occupancy: $4076

This is exactly the typical 175% single supplement.

Now in your example where you mention a double occupancy fare of $2500 and a single occupancy fare of $4500, that's close to the same single supplement percentage, if that $2500 double occupancy fare is actually per person, not per cabin.

Regards,
John
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#7
Bunbury WA
502 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Originally posted by tangoll
To be fair, I think the answer to the question posed should be "No", if the intent of the question is in a negative sense. If only looking at the pricing, then the single supplement compensates the cruise line for the 2nd bed in the cabin not being able to be sold by the cruise line. There are agencies that will help a solo traveller find a cabin mate to share a double occupancy cabin.

The other part of the question is, that on Cunard, they do things that are primarily there for solo travellers, like gentlemen dance hosts for single lady dancers (though the hosts dance with all ladies), solo traveller get togethers, solo traveller luncheon arranged by social director, meeting up prior to heading to Captain's cocktail parties (so solo ladies don't have to walk in and stand all alone), etc. So in this sense, yes, there is discrimination for the solo traveller, but in a positive way.
Not every solo cruiser wants all those Cunard extras. I just want to do my own thing, at a fair price. The more they charge to get on the ship the less one has to spend while there. Unless funds are unlimited. It is not only shipping lines, hotels, holiday RV resorts etc. I used to Bush camp rather than go to an overpriced caravan park. Yes I understand your reason, but it doesn't help the solo traveller. And no I do not want to share with a total stranger would you. K
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#8
NYC
3,800 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Originally posted by kunnocat
Not every solo cruiser wants all those Cunard extras. I just want to do my own thing, at a fair price. The more they charge to get on the ship the less one has to spend while there. Unless funds are unlimited. It is not only shipping lines, hotels, holiday RV resorts etc. I used to Bush camp rather than go to an overpriced caravan park. Yes I understand your reason, but it doesn't help the solo traveller. And no I do not want to share with a total stranger would you. K
If cruise lines did not charge a solo supplement, what would keep two people from each booking their own solo stateroom? Let's say it's $1500pp for a balcony and $1000pp for an inside, no supplement. So instead of two people paying $3000 for the balcony they immediately save $500 by booking one in a balcony and one in an inside. Then they room together in the balcony and use the inside for luggage and an extra bathroom on formal nights. A lot of people would to that in a heartbeat if they could. And shortly thereafter the cruise line would go bankrupt.

As somebody who always sails solo I feel your pain. I could sail more often if I had a paying companion but I don't. I too don't care to share with a stranger - or even somebody I slightly know. Too many stories of cabin mates from hell and I'll take their word for it rather than have the personal experience.
#9
Bunbury WA
502 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
I have no problem with paying a supplement, its the 100% that I find hard to accept. I am willing to pay 50%. My two upcoming cruises have been different. Antarctica is 75% but I expected that. The half world I could not afford on my own, as prices were 100%, for this cruise I am sharing with a friend of a friend. Sometimes I share with my daughter. It is not easy two organize two individuals to want to go to the same place at the same time. K
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#10
Virginia
21,824 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Unless there are solo cabins on a ship, almost all of the mainstream cruise lines charge solos 200%. That's why I like Cunard and HAL since they charge less than 200% for some of their staterooms.
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#11
829 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
I understand your point, but I would not call it "discrimination", since what ships' companies sell is cabin space, nothing else. However, there are travel agencies, one of them is located in Germany, that offer better conditions for solos, but we cannot quote names in this forum. Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria both have special prices, probably depending on the TA one is working with. It should be possible to find addresses via google.
#12
1,256 Posts
Joined Jun 2014
Originally posted by kunnocat
I have no problem with paying a supplement, its the 100% that I find hard to accept. I am willing to pay 50%.
Even at 100% surcharge they are probably losing money and they should be charging 125% or more.

If you consider the difference in the cost of the overheads between one and two people in a cabin it will be minimal. The only real reduction is on food, and that won't be significant.

Meanwhile their real profit centres have been reduced by 50% A solo passenger will only spend half what a cabin for two would in the bar, only take half the number of places on excursions, etc.
#13
Switzerland
15 Posts
Joined Oct 2016
Hello

The solo traveler charge for sure is no fun. Although I think in the Grills it is even 200%, I think it is fantastic with Cunard that you can reserve a suite as a solo cruiser at all. With the companies I traveled before, you could not reserve anything better than a Balcony as a solo traveler.

In my opinion Cunard ships are just perfect for solo cruisers. The service is attentive, but never intrusive. At Cocktail Parties the staff makes sure that nobody has to stand alone; in my case even Commander Rynd introduced me to some other cruisers. Furthermore in my opinion it is very easy to make friends on Cunard ships; it seems that the Cunard travelers are very open, relaxed and friendly. At least this is my impression.
#14
Sydney, Australia
1,498 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Originally posted by insanemagnet
Even at 100% surcharge they are probably losing money and they should be charging 125% or more.

If you consider the difference in the cost of the overheads between one and two people in a cabin it will be minimal. The only real reduction is on food, and that won't be significant.

Meanwhile their real profit centres have been reduced by 50% A solo passenger will only spend half what a cabin for two would in the bar, only take half the number of places on excursions, etc.
I don't believe this is universally true. As a solo traveller, I'm more likely to spend more money on board to be occupied. I'm always surprised by how little couples I encounter say they've spent on board when I compare it to my end of cruise account.

Of course, I'm using myself as an example. However, don't discount solo travellers as always contributing less to shipboard revenue.
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#15
Sydney, Australia
1,498 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Originally posted by Squat
Hello

The solo traveler charge for sure is no fun. Although I think in the Grills it is even 200%, I think it is fantastic with Cunard that you can reserve a suite as a solo cruiser at all. With the companies I traveled before, you could not reserve anything better than a Balcony as a solo traveler.

In my opinion Cunard ships are just perfect for solo cruisers. The service is attentive, but never intrusive. At Cocktail Parties the staff makes sure that nobody has to stand alone; in my case even Commander Rynd introduced me to some other cruisers. Furthermore in my opinion it is very easy to make friends on Cunard ships; it seems that the Cunard travelers are very open, relaxed and friendly. At least this is my impression.
The Grills is 200%. While this means I could just take a travel companion with me and pay their way, it's far more fun to have my own suite (except when it's a two story Q1 on QM2 and you wake up in the night to discover someone is downstairs lurking about, only to realise you accidentally left the lights on and scared yourself stupid).

You are right that some lines refuse solos to book suites. I'm booking a NZ cruise with RCCL for the end of the year and the website wouldn't let me book suites as a solo. Turn 1 into 2 passengers and the options opened right up. However, my travel agent managed to input 1 occupant into their system and suite choices opened up. That said, I don't think I need a loft apartment for a 12 night cruise when it's only me sailing...
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#16
Cork
1,010 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Originally posted by insanemagnet
Even at 100% surcharge they are probably losing money and they should be charging 125% or more.

If you consider the difference in the cost of the overheads between one and two people in a cabin it will be minimal. The only real reduction is on food, and that won't be significant.

Meanwhile their real profit centres have been reduced by 50% A solo passenger will only spend half what a cabin for two would in the bar, only take half the number of places on excursions, etc.
No it hasn't time and again we read on these boards that babies are charged full price or a reduced rate and the argument is that baby is taking a place in a life boat that an adult could have.

Or a person is booked in a 3 person cabin but are unable to add an extra guest as their muster station is full.

If this argument is true by having one person less in one cabin means you can have one extra person in another cabin. So saying the cruise line is loosing money is nonsense by this reasoning.

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#17
Bunbury WA
502 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Originally posted by kerryincork
No it hasn't time and again we read on these boards that babies are charged full price or a reduced rate and the argument is that baby is taking a place in a life boat that an adult could have.

Or a person is booked in a 3 person cabin but are unable to add an extra guest as their muster station is full.

If this argument is true by having one person less in one cabin means you can have one extra person in another cabin. So saying the cruise line is loosing money is nonsense by this reasoning.

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Thank You. I will be in Cork next July on the Sea Princess I will buy you a drink if you are at home
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#18
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Originally posted by bluemarble
Hi, travelberlin.

The typical single supplement on Cunard for a voyage booked in the U.S. without any special sale promotions is 175%. That is, if the base fare (before taxes and fees) is $1000 per passenger when booking a cabin for double occupancy, then the base fare would be $1750 for a solo passenger booking that cabin for single occupancy.

Perhaps it would help if you could provide additional details on which specific voyage and cabin grade you are pricing and I'll let you know what pricing I am seeing on my end. But for one example, here are the base fares I am seeing in the U.S. on cunard.com for a category IA cabin for the 8-day Norwegian Fjords voyage on QM2 departing August 21, 2017.

Base fare per person for double occupancy: $2329
Base fare for single occupancy: $4076

This is exactly the typical 175% single supplement.

Now in your example where you mention a double occupancy fare of $2500 and a single occupancy fare of $4500, that's close to the same single supplement percentage, if that $2500 double occupancy fare is actually per person, not per cabin.

Regards,
John
Thanks John for your answer. I am looking at the Norwegian Fiords cruise with the Queen Elizabeth on August 11th, 2017. Nine nights from Southhampton.
Oceanview per person is US 1199. This means for two people is about US 2.500 including taxes and fees. But if booking solo, it comes a price of almost US 4.500 for same ocean view category including taxes and fees.
#19
Sydney, Australia
1,498 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Originally posted by kerryincork
No it hasn't time and again we read on these boards that babies are charged full price or a reduced rate and the argument is that baby is taking a place in a life boat that an adult could have.

Or a person is booked in a 3 person cabin but are unable to add an extra guest as their muster station is full.

If this argument is true by having one person less in one cabin means you can have one extra person in another cabin. So saying the cruise line is loosing money is nonsense by this reasoning.

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Yes, but the baby is surely a loss for shipboard revenue as it can't drink as much as an adult?
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#20
Home
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Originally posted by Austcruiser84
I don't believe this is universally true. As a solo traveller, I'm more likely to spend more money on board to be occupied. I'm always surprised by how little couples I encounter say they've spent on board when I compare it to my end of cruise account.
Yes this is my experience also. I have realized that I spend more money on board when cruising solo than when cruising with DH. For example as a solo passenger, I take shore excursions with the cruise line, while cruising with DH we rather do our visiting independently.
I really do not use the dance host programme and I do not think this should be used to justify solo supplements that are so high like in the cruise I was looking at.