If you prefer to travel solo, should you be charged double?
Although cruise lines do not avidly search for solo travelers, they will ‘allow’ solo travelers to join the ARK at up to 200% more than other passengers are paying. Cunard has recently and in the past few years offered attractive rates for solo travelers and after taking one of their Atlantic crossings, I can say they are everything you imagine an elegant British ship to be.
The pricing policy for solo travelers has become a ‘movement’ in the ever growing solo traveler market.
If you choose to travel solo or because of circumstances you are traveling solo, why should solo travelers be further restricted by price? There are wonderful trips advertised every day and if they are listed as ‘packages or vacations’ the price is always higher when you select your travel dates and hotels. If you double the price of even the discounted cruises they often are $300 a day and the dream of an around the world cruise equals the price of a high end automobile!
Air travel, although increasingly uncomfortable and expensive, still charges passengers by the seat. Even the airlines offer promotions for your ‘companion to fly free’ or the dreaded 2 for 1 pricing. Travel providers should be challenged on their misleading 2 for 1 advertising….. try to buy this promotion for a cruise as a solo and you are told you will be denied travel if you arrive solo.
What other travel services charge solo travelers more:
As far as I know rental cars do not charge solo travelers any ‘supplements’. Hotels in the USA charge by the room but often do NOT offer single room rates. Some hotels in Europe offer single rooms that are usually very small and not always the best the hotel has to offer. At other times I have received a standard double room, there does not seem to be any standard. When I travel off season I can often book 4 star hotels in Italy for the price of a single room at other times during the year.
The cruise industry continues to charge solo travelers for enjoying the special pleasure of traveling solo.
Alan Fox, the president of Vacations to Go, has one of the few web sites that lists cruises with low or no solo supplement. www.vacationstogo.com/ Recently he posted an answer to this question on his web page. With his earlier permission to share solo cruise information, I am posting his response here.
on line question:
Q: When a cruise ship has less than a full capacity of passengers, why do they not permit someone to travel solo and not pay double occupancy? I would think that since they have to keep a full crew, even one person in a room makes more sense than having the cabin empty for the cruise.
A: Except for 6-star ships, cruise ships generally sail full year-round because cruise lines drop the rate to whatever it takes to sell out. They prefer to fill those empty cabins with two people to maximize their onboard sales and gratuities. However, lines sometimes slash the single supplement for a limited time, and we list every one of these opportunities on our site.
Alan Fox, Chairman & CEO, Vacations To Go, 5851 San Felipe Street, Suite 500, Houston, TX 77057
Why don’t cruise lines charge solo clients double the mandatory gratuities fees and allow solo’s to travel? The staff would not suffer financially. And there are no guarantees two passengers in a room will spend more money on drinks, tours, the casino, alternative restaurants or shopping, other profit areas of the ship.
I troll the cruise web sites months before I begin to plan a trip. Vacationstogo.com will list solo supplement trips but this list does NOT include every sailing. I have tried 4 cruise ‘agents’ with varying results. I have never found any cruise or travel agent who is excited about working with solo travelers. Or perhaps it is just how I travel. I was told off by one specialty agent when I mentioned I would be traveling throughout Italy for a month before the trip and would not be able to bring ‘dress’ clothes with me. Her response was something to “Well you can’t go around the ship in sloppy pants”. A new division of an established cruise booking site opened a ‘solo travel division’ but found the sales after I did!
So now I search any sailing to a location on my ‘bucket list’ with a posted price of $100 a day or less. This may insure a solo price of under $200.00 a day……beyond that price you may be able to fly business class! If you see a great price on a solo cruise let me know at www.maturesolotravel.com