A few months ago, Carnival UK decided in their wisdom to ban single travellers, as well as 3rd and 4th sharing a cabin, from booking the P&O and Cunard Getaway Fares. Instead we were forced to book their Vantage Fares. Single travellers are on the rise yet we were continually persecuted by the travel industry and forced to be penalised for not being two people. In April, my hotel in Sydney did just that, charging for the room rather than how many occupants there were. So you can imagine the outrage across the internet when we were told we’d have to pay 3 or possibly 4 times what we would if we had been allowed to continue booking deals. Is our money not good enough? Other cruise lines would welcome it with knobs on, and in these times, it’s stupid driving away custom. Then on the 21st May, they backtracked. Cunard announcing first we weren’t lepers again – wooo! We could book deals for cruises departing from the 1st September. Happy days!!!! 😀 P&O haven’t commented as yet but they’ll revert too at some point but have no idea about the 3rd and 4ths.
As someone who has done more than half of my 50 cruises solo, the way we’re ripped off is something of a bugbear for me. Princess, for instance, charge double if you want a balcony. I would have loved to have had one on the new Royal Princess but their policy – and absence of oceanview cabins – meant I could only afford an inside (of which there aren’t many). The mantra goes “Everyone wants a balcony” but with them building blocks of flats full of them with little other alternative, most of us are forced into having one if we want to cruise, whether we want it or not. Then there are the token single cabins put on ships. P&O are VERY guilty of this. 18 on Azura was a fabulous idea (and the cabin size puts NCL to shame!) BUT they sell out fast meaning we’re again penalised by having a twin. I was lucky to get one the day it went on sale in 2011. How’s this for an idea? Charge solos you’ve forced into twins what you would for the single cabin or increase the number to a minimum of 100 then whatever doesn’t sell, charge as a twin? Sorted! NCL have led the way with their groundbreaking Studios and Lounge on Epic, but they too come in for criticism. When I booked the transatlantic of Norwegian Breakaway, a Studio cost £500 MORE than an oceanview! I went for that but you are unable to use the Lounge. So they’re all topsy-turvy by giving us a BETTER deal by having a normal room than single. Bet that won’t last or was a fluke! Breakaway has less Studios than Epic, resulting in the Lounge being about half the size and apparently not as good. There is a common myth Royal Caribbean and Celebrity charge singles double. All I can say is if they did I wouldn’t have gone to the Caribbean for 2 weeks on Constellation or done 18 nights Australia & New Zealand on Radiance of the Seas. When I started cruising in 2006 and booked my first solos for 2007 (Constellation then Navigator of the Seas), it was double but you got a hell of a lot more for your money that the likes of Cunard’s QM2. I remember looking at the 4 nighters they used to do to Hamburg. A C3 (as was then) porthole was £1420 solo. Connie’s 5 nights with balcony cost under £1000. Which was better value for money? Thankfully, Cunard’s single rates did become more in line with P&O, but then they are joined at the hip these days so do everything together. There are many cruise lines out there offering low or no supplements and if you’re not fussed about the ship you’re on, these are definitely worth looking into if they’re in your price range. I know the high end cruise lines like Silversea, Crystal and Azamara are offering singles better deals on selected cruises but they’re unfortunately out of my price range. As much as I’d love to try them, I have a budget and won’t pay stupid money for a week when we have to pay too much generally. Voyages of Discovery have minimal no supplement cruises but they have a no tipping policy.
It’s all a start. We can only hope in the coming few years we’ll be treated more fairly instead of discriminated against and be able advance book fair prices instead of waiting for prices to drop to something more reasonable.