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jasminejazz

Why are solo so expensive?

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I will be doing my solo cruise this year and I am super excited. I have found the options tone super expensive though. My preference is no more than 4/5 days on a cruise. Do you know cruise lines or website that offer good rates for solo travelers? 

 

Thank you! 

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Why? Because they can. Bottom line is the cruise line wants 2 people in the cabin and always have and they want that money somehow. So, unless you sail with a line that offers a single cabin and don't mind the size of it, you will pay more money for that regular size cabin.

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NCL offers Studio cabins on some ships (Bliss, Breakaway, Escape, Epic), all are inside rooms as they're in their own secluded area.  NCL also lists some cruises with "no solo supplement" which means that a solo pays the fare of one person even in a double cabin, sometimes this is after final payment as a way to finish filling the ship.

 

Royal Caribbean also has Studio cabins on some ships (Anthem, Quantum, Ovation, Spectrum at the least) in both inside and balcony variants but those are MUCH more limited (only 2 interior on each deck while NCL's Bliss has 86 Studio cabins) and sometimes quite expensive in comparison.

 

Which would I sail on again since I've been on both?  NCL for sure, the solo program was great IMO, and the room didn't feel as cramped while also having the Studio lounge as an option to escape to.

 

NCL was cheaper than Royal, for Studio cabins on both trips.  The Royal trip was 1 extra day though.

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I just came back  from a land tour of the National Parks and had to pay a single supplement of $1010. As Lois says they want 2 in a cabin.

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11 hours ago, Lois R said:

Why? Because they can. Bottom line is the cruise line wants 2 people in the cabin and always have and they want that money somehow. So, unless you sail with a line that offers a single cabin and don't mind the size of it, you will pay more money for that regular size cabin.

Exactly.  1 more person = more drink sales, excursion sales, shop sales, etc, etc.  They have calculated their profits on filling the ship.

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I just booked last-minute back-to-back cruises on the Island Princess for next month. The solo penalty was not bad--around $110 more per cruise rather than double the price, plus I still got $100 OBC for each cruise. It's unusual for Princess to offer such a bargain. I usually see these more frequently on Holland America and the luxury lines.

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Just now, geoherb said:

I just booked last-minute back-to-back cruises on the Island Princess for next month. The solo penalty was not bad--around $110 more per cruise rather than double the price, plus I still got $100 OBC for each cruise. It's unusual for Princess to offer such a bargain. I usually see these more frequently on Holland America and the luxury lines.

Congratulations,  sounds like you got a great deal.  Enjoy your cruise. 😉

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I understand that the "room"/"cabin" costs the company the same whether it's for one or 2 people - so I'm ok with that - but what annoys me is :

1 - Paying for the non existent person's food.

2 - The fact that the supposed "bargain" lower supplement cabins actually cost just about as much (or more) than the cheapest twin occupancy cabins,

 

Grr!

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On 5/24/2019 at 3:28 PM, jasminejazz said:

I will be doing my solo cruise this year and I am super excited. I have found the options tone super expensive though. My preference is no more than 4/5 days on a cruise. Do you know cruise lines or website that offer good rates for solo travelers? 

 

Thank you! 

Jasminejazz, I have had pretty good luck in booking solo cruises on a shorter term basis.  I usually book anywhere from 30 days to 90 days before departure.  That is after the final payment date for most cruise lines and that is when they will start discounting to fill their empty cabins.  If you have to fly to the port though about 45 days out works best.  I have gotten some very good deals on solo travel that way.  If you are flexible and what cabin you get is not that important, then there are bargains out there for solos if you look for them.  Good luck and Happy sailing.

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On 5/25/2019 at 7:51 PM, geoherb said:

I just booked last-minute back-to-back cruises on the Island Princess for next month. The solo penalty was not bad--around $110 more per cruise rather than double the price, plus I still got $100 OBC for each cruise. It's unusual for Princess to offer such a bargain. I usually see these more frequently on Holland America and the luxury lines.

Congrats! Sounds like you scored a great deal. When I booked a solo river cruise my rate was double - rate was based on 2 in the stateroom so even though I was solo, I essentially paid for two.

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I have a budget I set for between $100 - 125 (150 on an exceptional ship or itinerary)Cdn...so about US$74-110 per night.  My land travel lodging budget is $100Cdn a night.  Given that a cruise feeds me and moves me from place to place in that budget, cruises can be a good deal. I disregard what 'other people' pay and book something that interests me.  I have a MSC Dubai to Venice 21day trip for $1800US ($86/per night) in my future.  As well as moving from all those countries, I see a region I wouldn't necessarily go out of my way to see if I had to do my own logistics.  I jumped on a computer glitch and bought a 12 day Cunard Christmas cruise for $800 Cdn including insurance.  If I want to do some small ship cruise around Polynesia, I save up and pay more for it.  All of these have made/will make me happy.

People know why there are SS. You can't control the costs and business of making business, but you can control your attitude about it. When given a lemon, you can eat the pits or make lemonade. Ain't having a personal choice a wonderful thing?

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The cruise lines don’t make their money on the cabin price. The money is made on passenger spending in the casino (the biggie), the spa, specially restaurants, shops, etc. so if there will only be one person in the cabin, they lose that second passenger’s supplemental revenue. Therefore, as a way to compensate for that loss, the cruise line charges the solo passenger double. 

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Here's a good resource you might find helpful.  She offers a good explanation and some tips for saving and finding the best solo option for you.  I'm going on my fist solo soon and am going to try to find a roommate to split a room.  I think that's the only way I can afford it. I do wish there were better options for solo cruisers. https://profcruise.com/prof-cruises-ultimate-guide-to-solo-cruising/ 

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Cruise ships price like hotels, by the room.  Granted they advertise price per person, but basically that is just half the room rate.  

 

 

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On 5/29/2019 at 12:37 PM, caffeine_demon said:

I understand that the "room"/"cabin" costs the company the same whether it's for one or 2 people - so I'm ok with that - but what annoys me is :

1 - Paying for the non existent person's food.

2 - The fact that the supposed "bargain" lower supplement cabins actually cost just about as much (or more) than the cheapest twin occupancy cabins,

 

Grr!

1 - They could discount the non existent person's food. But then they would be exposing how little they pay for food. They don't want that kind of information to get out.

2 - The "bargain" cabins are a marketing strategy.

 

 

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On 5/31/2019 at 8:20 AM, Straughn said:

The cruise lines don’t make their money on the cabin price. The money is made on passenger spending in the casino (the biggie), the spa, specially restaurants, shops, etc. so if there will only be one person in the cabin, they lose that second passenger’s supplemental revenue. Therefore, as a way to compensate for that loss, the cruise line charges the solo passenger double. 

 

Can safely say in all my decades of cruising solo (and also very occasionally with friends) - I, and my friends, have never set foot in a casino and never will, the spa has never interested us, and nor have the shops! None of that is why I go on a cruise. And the majority (actually all of them) of my cruising couples friends and family also don't gamble, shop or 'spa'. Our interests are the ships themselves and the destinations.

 

The specialty restaurants are still quite new (to me) - in the 80s and 90s it was the main dining room or nothing! I do occasionally dine in them these days and spend money if its a food style I particularly like.

 

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11 hours ago, PerfectlyPerth said:

 

Can safely say in all my decades of cruising solo (and also very occasionally with friends) - I, and my friends, have never set foot in a casino and never will, the spa has never interested us, and nor have the shops! None of that is why I go on a cruise. And the majority (actually all of them) of my cruising couples friends and family also don't gamble, shop or 'spa'. Our interests are the ships themselves and the destinations.

 

The specialty restaurants are still quite new (to me) - in the 80s and 90s it was the main dining room or nothing! I do occasionally dine in them these days and spend money if its a food style I particularly like.

 

Reread what you wrote.  Then ask yourself, "if I was the CEO of a cruise line how much effort am I going to put into attracting PerfectlyPerth to sail with us again?" 

 

In case you are missing what I am saying:  Every cruise line knows exactly how much each type of traveler racks up in on-board expenses.   If singles as a class spend less on drinks, casinos, port exertions, premium restaurants, spa, shops etc than couples than the cruise line has a strong incentive to want couples over singles. 

 

And then even with in the class, lets say the top 15% of singles spend on board $350+ per day, but you only spend about $25 a day. 

 

Take a wild guess  who is going to get the email "Congratulations as past single cruiser of XYZ lines we have a special offer exclusively for you.  The regular double occupancy price for cruise ABC is $1299 pp double occupancy.  But we have a special offer if you reserve within the next 7 days you can have the cabin as a single cruiser for only $1300.  Yes, that's right a $1 dollar single supplement.  But there is more, we will include a $150 OBC and rather than our normal policy of giving singles double points, for this cruise offer only we will triple them.   This offer is not transferable and only applies  the named rewards member." 

 

I will give you a hint:  You are not going to be on that email distribution list.  But the singles who spend $350 per day will be.  There is a reason why one of my sisters is constantly getting free hotel stays at the local casino, despite her claim she doesn't gamble very much.   

  

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21 hours ago, ed01106 said:

Cruise ships price like hotels, by the room.

Some hotels do charge less for a single occupant, either in a smaller single room, or even single in a double room.  I've seen it fairly commonly while searching accommodation options in Europe. 

 

17 hours ago, Cruise4Twos said:

1 - They could discount the non existent person's food.

And the less laundry to clean, and less wear and tear on everything from flooring to plumbing, etc.  That's why the thought of paying double just gets my hackles up, irrespective of the actual amount of money involved.  Yes to a supplement, no to a supplement of 100%. 

 

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7 minutes ago, calliopecruiser said:

Some hotels do charge less for a single occupant, either in a smaller single room, or even single in a double room.  I've seen it fairly commonly while searching accommodation options in Europe. 

 

And the less laundry to clean, and less wear and tear on everything from flooring to plumbing, etc.  That's why the thought of paying double just gets my hackles up, irrespective of the actual amount of money involved.  Yes to a supplement, no to a supplement of 100%. 

 

The food savings, less sheets to wash is pretty marginal.  Plus, I think you a missing the big picture....Assuming each person spends the same amount of money drinks, excursions, spa treatments, art auctions, casino etc.  They are going to make half as much per room on the double room.  Your thinking is by going solo you are costing them half as much in food at the MDR, their thinking is you are spending half as much in the specialty dining rooms.   

 

In the USA it is extremely rare to find single hotel rooms for less than a double.  And most of the mega cruise lines are USA based.  

 

I am not saying I like it.  But I understand the pricing structure.  

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Everyone here nailed it...they can and assume that they are losing $$ on drinks, excursions, some dining, spa treatments, and gambling. I don't know the exact numbers on this, but I would bet that if all cruises offered a percentage of indoor cabins with no single supplement  that they will actually make more than to not have any at all. NCL took notice of this, and I think Princess did too (I saw that there are a decent amount of cruises now with them where the single supplement isn't that bad). 

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2 hours ago, ed01106 said:

our thinking is by going solo you are costing them half as much in food at the MDR, their thinking is you are spending half as much in the specialty dining rooms. 

No, that's not what my thinking is........My thinking is that I don't care what their balance books say about solo travellers, and I look for a company that is willing (if not wanting) to treat me like a valuable person who is not half as valuable as another person because I am travelling on my own.  I'm not claiming that they shouldn't want two people in my cabin to spend twice as much as I do - they can want whatever makes them (and their stockholders) happy.  However, I am saying I will not play their game of valuing myself by their rules, and I will protest with my wallet.  If necessary, I'll find another place to play - I'm not bothered by that idea either.   I will never choose a cruise if it costs me double the per person rate for a cabin, though I would pay it if my friends were on that cruise and I wanted to join them (i.e. I'm willing to pay the money, but I won't choose to pay the money). 

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20 minutes ago, calliopecruiser said:

No, that's not what my thinking is........My thinking is that I don't care what their balance books say about solo travellers, and I look for a company that is willing (if not wanting) to treat me like a valuable person who is not half as valuable as another person because I am travelling on my own.  I'm not claiming that they shouldn't want two people in my cabin to spend twice as much as I do - they can want whatever makes them (and their stockholders) happy.  However, I am saying I will not play their game of valuing myself by their rules, and I will protest with my wallet.  If necessary, I'll find another place to play - I'm not bothered by that idea either.   I will never choose a cruise if it costs me double the per person rate for a cabin, though I would pay it if my friends were on that cruise and I wanted to join them (i.e. I'm willing to pay the money, but I won't choose to pay the money). 

 

 

Certainly your choice not to cruise.  What I think you will find is that the only time you are going to find cruises with a relatively small single supplement is on cruises that they can't sell out without offering discounts.  

 

Cruising is probably the least efficient holiday for a solo traveler.  Go on a Disney cruise you will pay the same as two people (or close to it) Go to Disney World and you will pay for 2 beds, but only one when it comes to food and admission tickets to the parks.  

 

But many aspects of holiday charge just as much for one (or very close to it) as they do for two:

Cabs generally charge the same with one or two passengers.

Car rentals don't give a discount if you are solo.  

Hotels (at least in the USA) charge pretty much the same for one or two  (or very close)

Food, drink, entertainment and some transportation you will pay half of a couple.

 

On a cruise you will pay for two in the cabin.  But all exertions, airport transfer and other optional items you will pay for one.    

 

 

 

  

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On 6/13/2019 at 4:13 PM, relmondcrsise said:

Here's a good resource you might find helpful.  She offers a good explanation and some tips for saving and finding the best solo option for you.  I'm going on my fist solo soon and am going to try to find a roommate to split a room.  I think that's the only way I can afford it. I do wish there were better options for solo cruisers. https://profcruise.com/prof-cruises-ultimate-guide-to-solo-cruising/ 

Thank you!  That looks like fun site with useful info.

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17 hours ago, ed01106 said:

Certainly your choice not to cruise.  What I think you will find is that the only time you are going to find cruises with a relatively small single supplement is on cruises that they can't sell out without offering discounts.  

 

Not so......Crystal offers window cabins at a standard 30% supplement, and I think it's 35% for a balcony cabin (but I find that a waste of money for me).   That's on virtually all their voyages - I think the only exceptions are really special cruises like their Northwest Passage cruise.   Though there's a bit of a sticker shock when you look at the price, when I worked out a preferred itinerary and amenities on a mainstream line (travelling solo), it worked out to about $25 a day more to sail on Crystal.  I think it's the best value out there for solo cruisers. 

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Yeah, Crystal is a different beast with a very different business model.  And certainly can see where a solo traveler could find value in paying their higher rates.  And how offering a 30-40% single supplement would make finical sense to them.   They don't need two people buying drinks and spa treatments to make money.  And while the food savings of having only one mouth to feed is minimal savings, only having one person drinking alcohol is an actual savings.  

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