Solo Cruisers Unite! – Fight for your right to cruise like a couple! Down with the single supplement!

Monday Mantra

Double or nothin’ … Double or nothin’ … Double or nothin’ …

Solo Cruisers Unite!

Fight for your right to cruise like a couple! Down with the single supplement!

This single-supplement thing is really ticking me off.

I’m not usually a screaming and rebellious individual who finds persecution at every turn — the one protest I took part in was in high school, and that was to demand canned soda in the cafeteria. But the 100 percent single supplement imposed on the vast majority of sailings makes me so angry that I’m tempted to chain myself to a lifeboat and chant “We’re Not Gonna Take It” until some handsome Italian security officer wrestles me down.

The single supplement allows cruise lines to recover the costs associated with maintaining a cabin meant for two and compensates for the additional revenue that the second person in the cabin would likely generate during the sailing. I get that. But is an empty cabin (and there are always a few) more profitable than one that houses a single occupant, particularly if that single occupant is me, who will no doubt drink more than she should, enthusiastically feed the slot machines, book a few spa treatments, and do some shore excursions? I think not.

Families won’t be generating the kind of onboard revenue that I will! They have all those college tuitions to save up for, braces for the kids’ crooked teeth, the fancy sneakers that light up, the video game stuff, all those Spider-Man clothes, and, of course, the trips to Disney World. The most a cruise line will get out of families is a couple of soda cards. I, on the other hand, will have no qualms about ordering a bottle of wine from the good wine list at dinner each night.

I propose this: Why not eliminate single supplements on all cabins not sold one month before a ship’s sail date? The families and couples will still be able to scoop up most of the staterooms, cruise lines can fill the cabins that might otherwise sail empty, and solo travelers will be able to cruise at the same rate as everyone else. It’s not perfect (just try getting vacation time just four weeks out at some companies) but it’s fair … sort of.

Fortunately, some cruise lines have already realized they were missing the boat when it comes to the lucrative solo-traveler market and have introduced cozy accommodations (some with balcony!) that require no single supplement. Other lines occasionally offer reduced supplements or guaranteed shares that could be a delight (no roommate assigned to your cabin) or a disaster (roommate from hell) — this arrangement is best for risk takers. Big risk takers.

To the cruise lines that have already acknowledged the solo traveler, I say thank you! I hope all of us will reward your foresight with dedicated business for years to come. And, who knows? We might even bring a friend.

— Judi Cuervo


Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.