CruiseMates Newsletter
 
The Year of the Freestyle Vacation
It's our most exciting promotion of the year. Receive up to a 6-category upgrade, plus on board savings certificates worth up to $400, and other ongoing specials.

7-Day Alaska Cruises from $549 with Holland America Line
Experience the beauty of the Inside Passage and Alaska's Glaciers and discover charming port cities of Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. View our special offers now and find the cruise-vacation value of a lifetime

Save up to $1,000
Per Stateroom on
Avalon Waterways
Europe River Cruises

Experience the Avalon difference in 2010 with savings of up to $1,000 per stateroom. Set sail on the youngest fleet in Europe with the largest staterooms in the industry. Get undeniable value with included sightseeing and complimentary wine.

Wall Street Journal Ranks CruiseCompete.com
Best In Cruise Deals

Experienced cruisers know your price depends on where you buy. Pick your cruise, then let 350+ agencies compete to offer the best deal. Compare offers, read reviews of agencies, then call/e-mail/live chat to ask agents direct questions or to book at

Chef Matt Sigel's Cruise with CruiseMates
A Cruisemates group cruise with Chef Matt Sigel of the popular series Hell's Kitchen. Norwegian Epic 10-30-10

kiplingers

Kiplinger's Magazine named CruiseMates to its Top 25 Best Value Travel Sites

CruiseMates is the most useful cruise-review site. We especially like its advice columns, which are written for people of different ages and interests.

WHERE THE BARGAINS ARE

Last Minute Deals Looking for a deal? Check America's Vacation Center's last-minute cruise offers! Click for Details!

Other HOT Deals...
  • from $499
    7-Night Mexico Royal Caribbean Roundtrip Los Angeles on Mariner of the Seas to Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and Matzatlan
  • from $499
    5-Night Bermuda Cruises from NJ: Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas round-trip from New Jersey. Book NOW & receive FREE onboard credits plus FREE Travel insurance!
  • from $449
    7-Night NCL Caribbean Cruise Norwegian Jewel - one of the the top rated Freestyle ships on a grea itinerary

We want your cruise reviews!
CruiseMates started publishing our readers' cruise reviews long before other web sites even thought of it. We already have thousands of reviews online, but there are never enough! CruiseMates and our sister site cruisereviews.com both want more of YOUR cruise reviews. So, please send them to us:


 
02.04.2010
The Love boat was a fantasy television series.
The real deal for single cruisers is not so simple.

The Truth about Singles Cruises
I have sailed a solo cruiser on a cruise ship, and I have to tell you it isn't a picnic, despite how great it sounds. And I am not typically a brooder who cannot bear my own company. I just find cruising to an experience that is best shared with others. Dining, watching shows, discussing vacations options, sharing memories - these are all things best accomplished in groups of two or more. Being the "odd man out" is not a situation I relish for a week in the Caribbean.

That is why I am thrilled that NCL has decided to make their Studio Staterooms available to singles on a "no singles supplement required" basis. For those who do not know what a singles supplement is, it works like this; most cruise ship staterooms are built for two people, aka "double occupancy." The bed can be configured as one larger bed or two single beds, but either way the room is sold to two people, each one paying a full cruise fare. Unlike hotel rooms, if you want a cabin all to yourself you have pay the "singles' supplment", which is basically the fare for the person who will NOT be sharing that cabin with you.


Wall Street Journal ranks CruiseCompete.com Best In Cruise Deals
Experienced cruisers know your price depends on where you buy. Pick your cruise, then let 350+ agencies compete to offer the best deal. Compare offers, read reviews of agencies, then call/e-mail/live chat to ask agents direct questions or to book at
CruiseCompete.com

But the Norwegian Epic, which will debut in May 2010, has an entire category of cabins called "Studio Staterooms" that are perfect for singles. All they have is a large bed and a bathroom, there is hardly any room for just lounging around. This is fine for one person, but would get a little crowded for two people. Originally NCL planned to sell these staterooms like any other single cabin - to two people (double occupancy), but just last month they announced the cabins will be sold to singles for the simple rate of $799 per cabin for one person.

But these Studio Staterooms are special, so named because they resemble a New York studio apartment, they all share a common public area only accessible to the Studio residents. This shared area will have a bar, snacks, big screen televisions, DVD players, etc. All of the Studios look out into this area through one-way glass. Only the Studio residents can access the public area through a magnetic strip key-card reader.


Save up to $1,000 per stateroom on Avalon Waterways Europe River Cruises
Experience the Avalon difference in 2010 with savings of up to $1,000 per stateroom. Set sail on the youngest fleet in Europe with the largest staterooms in the industry. Get undeniable value with included sightseeing and complimentary wine
Offer Details > Avalon Waterways 866.397.6594

The beauty of this arrangement is two-fold. It makes it easy for singles to find other singles, and it makes it even easier for them to have a reason to meet and talk. They are essentially roommates - at least for the shared living room. But here is the other side of the story which I suspect is under-reported; it also separates the singles from the rest of the population, in all honesty - for their own good.

During my one cruise as a single I believe I was the only male onboard without a partner. I was there professionally (writing an article), but the only contact I had with other people was at dinner at my assigned seating table. I am sorry to say it was a pretty boring group of people. I even tried the singles' party and there was no one there I would want to meet again. To be honest, they were all ladies in their 60s whose sole question was whether I could fox trot. This was in 1996, mind you. Things have changed a great deal.


7-Day Alaska Cruises from $549 with Holland America Line
Experience the beauty of the Inside Passage and Alaska's Glaciers and discover charming port cities of Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. View our special offers now and find the cruise-vacation value of a lifetime
Holland America Lines

Outside of that party and my dinnermates, if I started a conversation with a woman she almost immediately mentioned her husband would be back any second now - as if I was trying to suggest something contrary. If I spoke to a man he generally kept it amiable and short. The staff couldn't be bothered with me. It was just a very lonely experience and the point is this - a single man on a cruise ship is generally "the odd man out," in every sense of the term, when everyone else is couples.

Why didn't Carnival agree to book another "Cougar Cruise?" The organizers of the cruise all said it was a resounding success - by their standards. In fact, contrary to my original intuition, there were far more "cubs" (younger men) on the cruise than there were available cougars (is that a redundant term?, in any case...). here is what I suspect...


The Year of the Freestyle Vacation
It's our most exciting promotion of the year. Receive up to a 6-category upgrade, plus on board savings certificates worth up to $400, and other ongoing specials.
Book now at ncl.com

With more than twice as many young men as Cougars these generally younger guys were looking for one thing, in one place; older women wanting sex. How do yo think that went down with the rest of the ship's population? I was an innocent single in my one experience, just looking for a little polite conversation, and I was treated like a Lothario just for being onboard a cruise ship alone - without even trying. Can you imagine the reaction these young men face when they tell the "civilians" they they are "onboard for the Cougar's Cruise, but there aren't enough cougars?"

That's why Carnival doesn't want the group back. I can only imagine how many cat fights and other embarassing events happened or were more likely narrowly avoided. Single people only belong on cruise ships when there are other single people to for company onboard - who are easy to find.

Therefore I give major mega-kudos to NCL for inventing the "Studio Stateroom." This is like inventing the first year-round singles group cruise. They may not have planned it that way, but in any case I think it is a great idea. Singles now have a place just for singles during an entire cruise, and that is a good thing for the singles and for the rest of the passengers.

gray hr

new feature articles

Warning: Reading Warning Labels May Cause Eye Strain
Tragically, recently a passenger on a Star Clipper’s ship was murdered (knifed to death) during the ship's call on Antigua. blue arrows

2009 Cruising Controversies
Pirates, H1N1, Oasis Financing. What other calamities did the cruise industry sail through in 2009? blue arrows

Single Cruise Calendar 2010 Update
Our complete list of singles cruises offered by the best singles cruise agencies. Just updated. blue arrows

Nickelodeon and NCL Form Partnership
Nickelodeon launched its first family cruise the summer of 2008. Due to its success, NCL and Nickelodeon now have a permanent partnership. blue arrows

Crystal Cruises: Foodies' Gem of Choice
by Culinary Expert Janice Wald Henderson: After a thorough sampling, I believe Crystal serves some of the best food I have ever experienced at sea. blue arrows

gray hr

Read about CruiseMates

NEW YORK TIMES:
"Many sites that offer reviews are selling cruises, which raises questions about impartiality. An exceptions is CruiseMates."

FORTUNE MAGAZINE:
"The Web's best site for articles, advice, or chatting with Cruise People. Self-financed and run independently of the industry, so their opinions are impartial"

blue arrows

NEW CRUISEMATES CRUISES!

Snoozeman's Galveston Conquest Cruise
Join your CruiseMates Host Snoozeman on the Conquest of Galveston! Travel from the Lone Star harbor to the Western Caribbean: Galveston to Montego Bay Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

Chef Matt Sigel's Cruise with CruiseMates
Join Chef Matt Sigel's on Norwegian Epic, Halloween Cruise, Oct 30, 2010 Travel from Miami to Costa Maya, Roatan Honduras and Cozumel - 7-days

Let's Get Lei'd 5.0
We're doing yet again - for the fifth time (because these cruises do so well) - We are going to Hawaii on a Princess ship, this time the mega-Sapphire Princess. We sail from Los Angeles and return to the same. Eight days at sea and five beautiful ports of call - four of them in Hawaii, plus Ensenada. February 26, 2011.