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The best luxury ocean lines for solo cruisers revealed

More people than ever before are choosing to travel solo and cruising offers an easy way to holiday on your own – without being alone. Here's our pick of the best luxe line for solo cruisers.

More people than ever before are choosing to travel solo and cruising offers an easy way to holiday on your own – without being alone. Here’s our pick of the best luxe line for solo cruisers.

According to numerous studies worldwide, solo travel – particularly for women – is on the up and up. People travel on their own for many reasons, but whether it’s to meet new friends, explore without a travel-averse partner or just enjoy an indulgent holiday, cruising ticks a lot of boxes.

Cruising solo on smaller, luxury or luxury-expedition ships that provide high levels of service provides a safe environment where you can socialise as much or as little as you want. You can do your own thing on board and ashore (no tedious “Well, what do you want to do?” discussions).

Meeting like-minded people is easier on a ship that has hundreds rather than thousands of guests; shore excursions can be a great way to meet fellow guests who have shared interests; cruises offer a wealth of onboard activities you can join … or not; and unlike many group tours for single travellers, you don’t have to share your stateroom with anyone.

The single supplement

SC Ponant Le Bellot shore excursionl©PONANT OliverTouron
Le Bellot shore excursion. Image: Ponant/Oliver Touron

However, that brings us to the single supplement (a charge levied on solo cruisers when they book a stateroom designed for couples – as in hotels), which has been a major stumbling block for years.

Although cruise lines reduce the single supplement on select cruises and in select staterooms, or waive it altogether, you – or your travel advisor – need to be on top of the promotions as soon as they arise because they’re snapped up quickly.

For example, Silversea is currently offering a 25 per cent single supplement on 47 luxury ocean and expedition sailings from April 2024 to March 2026.

Seabourn’s single supplement starts at 10 per cent and the new luxe line Explora Journeys’ starts from 15 per cent, depending on the itinerary and availability.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises is waiving the single supplement for solo cruisers on 20 sailings to Asia, Africa, Alaska, the Mediterranean and Northern Europe and is offering a 25 per cent supplement on another 100 voyages – but this promotion ends on 31 March 2024.

Dedicated solo staterooms

SC Oceania Allure Concierge Level Solo Veranda Stateroom Rendering
Render of Concierge Level Solo Veranda Stateroom on Oceania Allure. Image: Oceania Cruises

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Epic, launched in 2010, was the first ship to feature purpose-built studio cabins.

They have proved so popular that this year NCL is adding nearly 1,000 dedicated solo staterooms across its 19 ships. Solo cruisers can choose between three categories: Solo Inside, Solo Oceanview and Solo Balcony.

While NCL’s ships fall into an upper premium category with the luxury market catered for in its exclusive Haven enclave, a handful of luxury ocean and luxury expedition ships also provide dedicated solo staterooms.

Oceania Cruises

SC Oceania Vista in port
Oceania Vista in port. Image: Oceania Cruises

Oceania Vista and Oceania Allura, Oceania Cruises’ two newest ships (Allura is due in 2025) both feature six generously proportioned Concierge Level Solo Veranda Staterooms.

Solo cruisers, like all sailing in Concierge Level, receive an array of perks such as free laundry service, keycard access to the exclusive Concierge Lounge and unlimited use of the Aquamar Spa Terrace. Oceania’s four smaller R-class ships each have 14 Solo Oceanview Staterooms.

Crystal

Crystal’s beautifully refurbished ships Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony offer a number of single guestrooms with ocean views. Solo cruisers, like everyone else, enjoy butler service and inclusions such as soft and alcoholic drinks, free Wi-Fi, self-service laundry and gratuities.

Ponant

Solo cruisers can choose an individual suite or stateroom on one of Ponant’s expedition or yachting itineraries. The Sister Ships and Ponant Explorers accommodate a maximum of 264 guests and currently, there is no single supplement on more than 160 cruises between April 2024 and March 2025.

Celebrity Cruises

With every new sleek, ultra-modern ship, Celebrity has added more solo-friendly staterooms to its fleet. Celebrity Beyond and Celebrity Ascent each have 32 solo staterooms with an Infinite Veranda. Celebrity Apex features 24 and Celebrity Edge has 16 solo staterooms.

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages’ adults-only ladyships – Scarlet Lady, Valiant Lady, Resilient Lady and the yet-to-launch Brilliant Lady – each have 46 cabins for ‘Solo Sailors’, including a number of Sea View rooms. At 9.75sqm, they are compact, to say the least, but stylish and cleverly designed.

Special attention

SC Seven Seas Explorers Observation Lounge
Seven Seas Explorer‘s Observation Lounge. Image: RSSC

Luxury ships don’t have to have dedicated solo staterooms for solo cruisers to feel comfortable, welcomed and extremely well looked after on board. Most high-end lines host welcome receptions for solo guests at the beginning of every voyage to break the ice and introduce everyone.

Explora Journeys’s Solivagant Society is a group designed for independent travellers to connect them with other solos for various activities, events and experiences throughout the cruise.

Regent has a team of Onboard Social Hosts who organise mixers and events for solo travellers throughout the cruise – invitations to cocktails, dinners with guest lecturers and officers and more.

SC Ponant Antarctica Bald Head Photoby Ian Dawson
Solo cruiser in Bald Head, Antarctica. Image: Ponant/Ian Dawson

Seabourn officers host tables for dinner specifically for solo cruisers, and if you’re sailing on an expedition cruise with Ponant, Seabourn or Silversea, members of the expedition team usually join guests for lunch or dinner.

Last but not least, gentleman hosts are a thing on a (very) few luxe lines and not on every voyage. These well-dressed, well-educated and very well-vetted chaps can be found on select Silversea, Crystal and Regent cruises, offering their services to solo women guests as dance partners, dinner companions and cocktail party hosts.