News & Advice

These Cruise Lines Are Making it Much Easier to Travel Alone

Single? Skip the bar-hopping and opt for island-hopping instead.
Cond Nast Traveler Magazine July 2019 Lone Stars
Gabriel Scanu/@GabScanu

Solo travel has shed any lingering stigmas to become one of the key trends of the past decade. And yet, a cruise may still seem an unlikely choice for someone traveling alone. Nearly everything—meals, excursions, onboard activities—is done en masse. Now, however, the famously family-friendly industry is working hard to appeal to that very set of single travelers.

Demographics are shifting: According to the U.S. Census, in 2018, 70 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds were unmarried, compared to 41 percent in 1978. Norwegian Cruise Line was one of the first to turn its attention to this trend, repurposing interior-facing cabins as podlike solo rooms known as “studios” when it launched the Norwegian Epic in 2010; now you can find them on five other ships in the fleet. Luxury line Cunard—famous for transatlantic trips and for keeping the sailing glamour of yesteryear—introduced solo rooms to the Queen Elizabeth 2 and then the Queen Mary 2 during its $132 million refit three years ago.

Condé Nast Traveler Magazine, July 2019,  Beyond this Horizon, Cruise, Silversea
Everything you need to know about one of the greatest ways to travel.

Expedition line Hurtigruten began waiving “single supplements” (the fees typically slapped on those who occupy a room designed to hold two or more) on certain sailings and saw its solo-traveler business shoot up 40 percent as a result. American Cruise Lines, the river specialist, has supplement-free one-person staterooms on all 12 of its ships, including 250-square-foot options with their own balconies on American Song, its newest, with itineraries through the Pacific Northwest. There’s now a place on the high seas for the new nomad.