More ships bringing back single cabins

The item below comes from Mark Tre, the Cruise Examiner. I have already written about the new single cabins on the Norwegian Epic and here is more information on the same topic.

A Move Back to Single Cabins

While Fred Olsen Cruise Lines have included a number of single cabins in all of their ships for some time, P&O and NCL are now joining them with the new Azura and Norwegian Epic, and others such as Voyages to Antiquity are joining as well, while several lines continue to offer no single supplements on certain departures.

P&O’s Azura enters service today with 18 single cabins, 6 inside and 12 outside, These singles are so popular that they are sold out for all of 2010. But Norwegian Epic will far outstrip this, with 128 single cabins out of a total of 2,100. These so-called “studio” cabins are all inside and measure about 100 square feet each, smaller than the 120 square feet of first generation cruise ships but big enough for one person, and certainly a good way of using less desirable inside space to generate additional revenue from a singles market that has been clamoring for such accommodation for decades. The cost of a single cabin is usually more than the per person charge in a double, although on Norwegian Epic there will be no surcharge and studio customers will also get their own exclusive singles lounge.

Until the Norwegian Epic, the Saga Ruby claimed the largest number of single cabins, with 70 (Saga Rose, now retired, had 60). Fred Olsen’s Balmoral was next with 63, while the Black Watch and Boudicca have 42 each and the Braemar 27, for 174 single cabins in a single fleet. In 2009, Fred Olsen booked 7,700 single passengers, almost two-thirds of which were female, and they accounted for 8% of their passenger carryings. This compares to about 3.5% for P&O.

Voyages to Antiquity has also joined the movement with 16 cabins on board their new Aegean Odyssey out of a total of 198. The little Hebridean Spirit, however, has the highest ratio of all, with 11 single cabins out of 30, or more than a third.

Until now, many lines have been charging single supplements of 75% or even 100%, which has just pushed away the business in favor of couples. The feeling that a single might spend only half as much as two in a cabin now seems to be giving way slowly to an attitude that catering to the singles market might indeed bring them some revenue that they did not have before. After all, although each cabin must be serviced, a studio cabin occupies only about 55% of the space of a more standard 180-square foot cabin, which has been the norm on some lines for many years now.

This is far different from the attitude that prevailed ten years ago, when the Queen Mary 2 was designed with nothing but double cabins despite the fact that her predecessor Queen Elizabeth 2 had offered 125 single cabins. The reason given at the time was shipbuilding methods and prefabricated cabins but singles now seem to be gaining some favour again in the cruise market.

About Cynthia Boal Janssens

Cynthia Boal Janssens is the editor and chief blogger for She is a former national president of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). She has sailed on over 40 cruises all over the world.

9 Responses to More ships bringing back single cabins

  1. NYCruiser2 May 11, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    This is good news! Although I cruise with my family once or twice a year, I am ALWAYS looking for an extended cruise that I can take solo. As much as I love cruising, Im sure I would do alot more solo cruising if I didnt have to pay the supplement!!

  2. Tina H May 12, 2010 at 7:33 am #

    This is exciting. I love to cruise and my problem is finding a friend that wants to go too, when they are not too busy with their family etc. Now I can go afford to go on my own.

  3. Doris Caldcleugh May 13, 2010 at 3:15 pm #

    Three cheers for the lines that have these single cabins — and /or — do not charge double for a single person. I, too, have had difficulty finding a friend who wants to take some of these longer cruises. Hope all the lines try and offer this type of service. We spend just as much or maybe more money!!!!

  4. Carolyn May 18, 2010 at 6:49 am #

    While this is a step in the right direction, I prefer a balcony cabin…and I know I spend more per cruise on my own than most couples I travel with….charging me double for the room reduces the number of times I cruise..

  5. NYCruiser2 May 18, 2010 at 9:48 am #

    Although they base the rates per cabin on dbl occ, there are quite a few ships that sail without being sold out. It would be nice to allow solo passengers to pay single fare on cruises to fill up the ship. Thats in addition to having a standard solo fare that is not dbl.

  6. Will Cruise 4 Ever May 18, 2010 at 11:17 am #

    Finally, with Norwegian Epic they have given something for a solo cruiser to use. I just can’t find anyone to cruise with and love cruising without paying double, but I have found that there are discount deals on inside cabins (or even last minute deals), that even with paying double or 175% of the fare, I can still pay less for a full-size cabin versus the studio being offered on Norwegian Epic. Still, I can’t wait to go on Epic–the lounge seems like a cool idea and I fully support NCL’s innovation with this studio concept!

  7. Michael Jordan May 19, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

    I too would love to take more cruises but am tired of having to pay the extra for just me. I would love to see more cruise lines offer cruises for the single traveler —

  8. DEJ May 20, 2010 at 5:21 am #

    This great information to know. I am in such a situation at the moment.

    There is a family cruise and I cannot attend because the single rate is twice the cost of a shared room.

    How do you find out about these rates?

    • Cynthia May 25, 2010 at 5:31 pm #

      First, let your travel agent know you are interested in such cruises.

      Follow articles like this one on

      Encourage your family to book cruises on ships like the Norwegian Epic that offer single cabins.

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