September is National Singles Month. It’s a good time to travel solo and take advantage of hotels, resorts and cruise ships that offer single accommodations or waive the single supplement fee, or just make a solo travel reservation. Solo travel is growing, and cruise lines, resorts and tour operators are responding with special deals and programs for the traveler who does not want a roommate.
Norwegian Cruise Lines — NCL’s newest ship, Norwegian Epic, features 128 studio cabins designed and priced for solo cruisers. Be forewarned that these are all inside cabins, with a window that looks out onto the corridor and fancy lighting schemes to minimize cabin fever. An absolute perk is access to an exclusive, shared social space for solo travelers only, called the Studio Lounge. It’s a sleek hangout space, with its own large-screen TV’s, coffee-making facilities and a bartender at certain times of the day. NCL’s CEO Dennis Sheehan told me recently these single cabins have been surprisingly successful, and sell out quickly.
Crystal Cruises — According to Cruise Critic, solo cruisers make up as much as 15% of Crystal’s passengers, especially on the newer Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. This is already a luxury-priced line, so the single supplement is as low as 25% for some cabins.
St. Lucia — The BodyHoliday is the only Caribbean resort with dedicated single rooms with no single supplement. A health and fitness resort, there are daily fitness classes, healthy cooking classes and more included in the price. I’ve been there, and just getting to the spa is a work-out — it sits atop a hill, and it’s a healthy climb to get there. There are 29 single rooms, out of 154. NCL’s newest ship, Norwegian Epic, features 128 studio cabins targeted at and priced for solo cruisers. Rates for September start at $450 per night, which includes daily spa treatments and a variety of on-site activities, including fencing, archery, yoga, Pilates, scuba diving, wakeboarding, T’ai Chi and three daily meals.
Europe and Scandanavia— It’s only in the United States that hotel rooms have double rooms only, with just a few exceptions. In Europe, Scandanavia and even South America, just about any hotel has single rooms, for less than half the cost of a double. I’ve stayed in plenty of them, from Munich to Oslo to Buenos Aires, with no complaints.
International Expeditions — Single supplements are waived for tours to the Amazon and the Galapagos, which are pretty pricey to begin with.
Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) and sister company Grand Circle Travel (GCT) offer free single supplements on all land vacations, and low single supplements on GCTs river cruises and OATs small ship adventures. Also, both companies offer free single supplements on all optional pre-and-post trip extensions.
There also are tour operators who specialize in singles travel — which is different than solo travel. Singles travel is aimed at the non-married and non-partnered. You will be matched with another single in your group for double-room hotel rates, unless you pay the solo supplement.