Avoiding the Dreaded Single Supplement (Part 3)

| July 20, 2009

Single cruisers, don't you just hate single supplements? Well here's a few ideas to help you avoid, or at least minimize them.

Consider a Hosted Singles Cruise This is also a highly recommended option. Many organizations sponsor cruises specifically for single cruisers. In most cases, these group cruise operators will help you find people to share with, and often also try to pair compatible personalities together. For example, the better ones will provide a questionnaire that will ask about sleeping habits, smoking preferences, etc. Again, the more alike the cabin mates are, the better chance of the share arrangement working out to everyone's satisfaction. Check out the Singles Calendar right here on CruiseMates for some of these organizations. Just click here.

Other Ways to Beat the Single Supplement Sail During Off-Peak Times: If a cruise line normally charges a 200% single supplement for solos sailing in one of their cabins, don't expect them to reduce this at peak demand times such as the holidays. But if you sail during "shoulder" seasons, when the kids are back in school, the cruise line is more likely to "wheel and deal."

Book at the Last Minute: Booking a cruise at the last minute is another possible way to find advantageous single supplement rates, especially when the ship has a lot of empty cabins they are desperately trying to fill. This rule holds for just about every cruise line, even those that normally give no break whatsoever for single travelers.

Check the Internet: Vacationstogo.com, the large vacation discounter, has a special area of their website that lists the single prices on a wide variety of cruises coming up in the next 90 days. These cruises cover all regions of the world, and just about every cruise line -- from luxury to mass market. The double occupancy price will be listed, with the singles rate right alongside, as well as the percentage being charged for a single supplement. Depending on the cruise, this percentage can be as low as ZERO, which means no single supplement and all.

There are also a wide variety of travel agents who specialize in single travel and many of them may also have the inside track on sailings that offer advantageous single supplements. Start with some of the ones listed in our Singles Calendar and then do your own Internet search with Google. Often the person who does the most thorough research walks away with the best deal.

Look for Cruises that are Not Selling Well: Sometimes a particular sailing may not be selling very well. Maybe a certain ship has a special weekend charter which leaves them with a subsequent four-day sailing that is hard to fill. After all, a four-day midweek sailing still requires a full week of vacation time for working people. This is the kind of situation that can be beneficial to single travelers. Have your travel agent check with the cruise line and see if they would be willing to waive the single supplement on that sailing for you. Oftentimes, if they are faced with having a cabin go empty they will be willing to give you a booking on your terms.

How to Find the Special Deals Look for these unusual cruise lengths and itineraries on the internet and then use one of the online booking sites to check cabin availability. Proceed through their booking engine just as though you were planning to book and you will be able to see what categories of cabins are still available. When you find a cruise that has lots of availability, and the sail date is not that far off, chances are the cruise line is already starting to worry about filling the ship. That's the time to contact your travel agent to see if she can make a deal.

Wrapping Up Just because you choose to travel solo doesn't mean you have to pay for a non-existent passenger in the cabin. Sure, the cruise lines have a right to expect to turn a profit on each cabin sold, but does turning a profit truly require a 200% single supplement?

Well, if the cruise line is having no problems filling cabins, you can't really expect them to make a deal for you. But, the truth is that many cruises do not sell out and the cruise lines hate to be stuck with empty cabins on a ship that is sailing next week. Empty cabins are a total loss, perishable inventory it is called in the cruise business, and this is not just in cabin revenue, but in what the cabin's occupants would have spent onboard. So, these are the cases when the single can expect a significantly reduced single supplement rate.

Do your homework and don't be afraid to ask for a deal. It can't hurt, and it may very well help you save a substantial amount of money on your next solo cruise.

Back to Top of Article >> Avoiding the Dreaded Single Supplement (Part 1)

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