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Norwegian Cruise Line is the best cruise line for solo travelers

September 23, 2017 Cruise Deals No Comments Email Email

CruiseAway by Dreamlines presents the top 3 cruise lines for solo travellers.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is the number one cruise line for solo travellers. This is the result from CruiseAway by Dreamlines ranking of 19 international cruise lines by their service for solo travellers. NCL shows the best performance in the three main criteria: accommodation, price and activities on board. The other cruise lines in the top 3 are Royal Caribbean and Cunard Line.

Accommodation

While still not very common, all the top 3 cruise lines offer a certain number of single cabins on their ships. On the Norwegian Epic, single cruisers can choose from 128 cabins designed for their needs. These “Studio” cabins are around 9 square meters and are specifically designed for the needs of solo travellers. NCL builds so called Studio Lounges next to these cabins, accessible exclusively for “Studio” passengers. These areas give plenty opportunity to meet other solo cruisers.

On all ships of the “Quantum-class” and several more, Royal Caribbean also provides single cabins – about the same size of NCL. Some of these interior cabins have so called Virtual View of real-time scenery through a flat-screen television. Cunard Line offers a limited number of single cabins on many of their ships. Additionally, solo cruisers can always book a double cabin for solo occupancy. But this comes with a price.

Price    

When it comes to the price, travelling alone is always more expensive than travelling as a couple. To measure the price policy of the cruise lines, CruiseAway by Dreamlines checked ten trips per cruise line in 2018, preferably 7 nights on board in the Mediterranean or Caribbean. Three different prices were checked: single cabin, double cabin with double occupancy and a double cabin with single occupancy.

Single cabins on NCL cost average 25 percent more than a double cabin per person. The single supplement lies at around an additional 45 percent when passengers book a double cabin for only one person. On Cunard, single cabins cost more than a third more than double cabins per person, while Royal Caribbean charge over 50 per cent more. But single cabins are always less expensive than booking a double cabin for one. The single supplement varies a lot, also depending on travel date and itinerary, however, they average 69 percent for Royal Caribbean and 71 percent for Cunard.

Activities on board

NCL offer special welcome drinks, parties and meet-and-greets for solo cruisers to get together and make new friends. Additionally, NCL’s Studio Lounge concept gives many opportunities to find partners for shore excursions and drinks at night. Cunard – the classic cruise line – bring gentlemen on board to give solo cruisers an opportunity to easily find a dancing and dining partner. Additionally, on Royal Caribbean, solo cruisers can choose big tables for dining to avoid eating by themselves.

In general, cruising alone is usually more expensive, but there are plenty possibilities for comfortable accommodation. The opportunities to meet new people on board differ from cruise line to cruise line, depending on the respective target groups. NCL, which has a broad customer age range, offers the most advanced concept for solo cruisers. Royal Caribbean count on their casual atmosphere onboard and wide target group to arrange a comfortable atmosphere for solo travellers. In addition, Cunard knows that their target group is fond of gentlemen hosts to accompany them on their cruise.

How the Data was compiled.

Data from the following range of cruise lines was analysed and then weighted to fairly reflect their overall performance: Aida, Azamara Club Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, P&O International, Ponant, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, TUI Cruises and Windstar Cruise.

For the category “Accommodation” the following criteria were considered: Availability of single cabins (60 points), the share of single cabins compared to the capacity of the ships (15 points). Also considered was if special areas in the ship are available for solo travellers to meet (15 points) and if the solo cabins are located near to each other (15 points). The results for the category “Accommodation” were weighted by 35 % in the evaluation.

To measure the price policy of the cruise lines, ten trips per cruise line in 2018, preferably 7 nights on board in the Mediterranean or Caribbean were checked. Depending on the cruise lines, not all of these criteria could be matched, when this was the case other itineraries were chosen. Analysis of the prices for a single cabin and the prices for a double cabin with single occupancy were compared to the prices for a double cabin with double occupancy. The results for the category “Price” were weighted by 50 % in the evaluation.

Supplement for booking a single cabin Supplement for single occupancy of a double cabin
0 – 30 % 60 points 0 – 50 % 60 points
31 – 50 % 30 points 51 – 75 % 30 points
> 50 % 10 points > 75 % 10 points

Activities on board: “Party” sums up special nightly events for solo travellers meaning Cocktail hours, meet and greets, welcome drinks, dance events. The regularity of such events was rated: each cruise (60 points), sometimes (30 points), never (0 points). “Dining” was evaluated by the possibility for solo travellers to dine with company: Are solo travellers seated together when choosing tables and dining hours (20 points), availability of big tables for 6 and more people (20 points), open buffet dining concept with a free choice of dining table (20 points). Are “Hosts” available to entertain and accompany solo travellers during their cruise (60 points). The results for the category “Activities on board” were weighted by 15 % in the evaluation.

Summary of ranking:

Accommodation Price Activities Result
NCL 36,75 60 15 111,75
Cunard Line 26,25 30 19,5 75,75
Royal Caribbean 26,25 20 18 64,25

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