Sail your way to freedom on these cruises and river boats
Here at AFAR, we love the idea of traveling solo—and encouraging you to do it, too, from recommending life-changing trips to highlighting where to snag a table for one (not to mention we dedicated our entire March/April 2016 issue to our love for striking out on our own). But what about off-land adventures?
In the past, most (if not all) large cruises and riverboats charged a single supplement fee for using a double-occupancy room, discouraging single travelers from booking. But now more than ever before, ships big and small are catering to individual passengers—some cutting the fee, in addition to designing staterooms for single guests and creating an overall solo community. Here are our top five lines welcoming parties of one onto their vessels.
Holland America Line
Individuals are not only welcomed to book with Holland America, but are encouraged to with their Single Partners Program. The offer includes social events (mixers and cocktail parties), various activities (wine tastings, exercise classes, and line dancing lessons), and dinner seating with other singles requested in advance. And to make the trip more convenient, the cruise line provides same-sex stateroom pairings for the duration of the trip, so each only pays the per-person double occupancy rate.
For the second year in a row, AmaWaterways river cruises rolled out their Solo Traveler Program, giving passengers a single supplement break. Although space is limited, the choice of trip isn’t; solo travelers are able to pick from any weeklong river cruise. Sail on Melodies of the Danube cruise that takes you from Budapest to Vilshofen, or book a round-trip Amsterdam journey on the Tulip Time Cruise. No matter what destination you choose, additional fees for flying solo won’t be in your future.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Studio staterooms are currently offered on five of the Norwegian cruises, specifically designed to sleep parties of one. Each of these 100-square-foot spaces are equipped with a single-styled shower, personal TV, and other guestroom essentials, plus room service for those nights of staying in. Keycards grant access to the Studio Lounge, a private hangout shared exclusively by Studio guests, where solo travelers can easily meet one another. And who doesn’t love complimentary snacks and caffeine served throughout the day?
American Queen Steamboat Company
In recent years, the Steamboat Company finished renovations to two palatial paddlewheelers, including the American Queen—the largest steamboat ever built—that keeps all party sizes in mind. Eight inside cabins and four outside staterooms (with open verandas) accommodate single travelers, positioned near each other for easy meet-and-greets. Not to mention the intimate size of riverboats allows a natural openness among passengers, whether they’re with a group or alone. Read all about it and other recent river cruise happenings in AFAR's Cruise News column.
Grand Circle Cruise Line
With an entire website page dedicated to solo travelers, you know Grand Circle isn’t messing around. They especially have the services to back it up, such as free to low-cost single supplements, a free roommate matching service, and even program directors specifically catering to single passengers. And for those still wary about going alone, Grand Circle has a Travel Companions online community that connects voyagers before departure.