Holland America is a new favorite of mine, not only because of their high level of service and attention to detail, but because they cut solo travelers some slack. While I've enjoyed cruises I took on NCL, their recent disinterest in granting singles anything short of 200% of the per-person double-occupancy fare-- even charging a second set of port charges!-- had put me off booking with them, at least on any occaision when I couldn't rustle up a roomie to cut the expense.
And now they surprise me by designating those "studio" interior cabins on Epic as no-supplement single cabins! Well, good-- about time one of the big cruise lines did that, and NCL has long been an innovator. (Here's hoping other lines will imitate NCL on this innovation, as they have on others.)
I'm just not sure I'd be especially eager to sail on Epic. For one thing, 4000-plus passengers is a bit much. For another, the typical Caribbean itineraries planned for her are by now pretty much "been there, done that" for me. And finally, while this may seem a silly reason, it may be the ugliest exterior design for a ship any major cruise line has produced in decades-- no wonder some wags quickly dubbed it "Norwegian Hat"!
So I'm wondering-- anybody know if NCL might have any plans afoot to extend a similar arrangement to any other ships or intineraries in their fleet? THAT would make it a lot easier for me to sail with them again...
NCL might have created a special area for singles who want to travel for less, but there is a MAJOR problem with that. They have NOT given the option of what kind of cavin you want, where it is on the ship, and no choice of a OV or a balcony.
I would rather pay the 200% to get a balcony cabin on a higher deck than pay a single fare to get a lowest/worst deck inside cabin....I need a balcony, thus, I'll pay the price.
NCL would also not get my money as I really don't like the concept of free style dining. I like set time and being with the same group of people, especially when you travel solo...
2007 Victory & Triumph
2008 Conquest & Liberty
2009 Valor, Freedom, and Splendor
2010 Glory and Liberty
HAL's standard procedure is to charge solo travelers one-and-a-half times the basic per-person cruise fare, and they don't seem to be sticking singles with a second set of "port chages", either. (Those are supposed to be per-PERSON, not per-cabin, so it's been hard for me to understand how so many of these other lines justify that trick!)
Thus, if the per-person total for a shared cabin on HAL were, say, 700 bucks, a solo traveler could probably get it for under a thousand-- which beats the heck out of 1400 on NCL, Princess, etc.
In any event, I recommend you try using (if you haven't already!) CM's "CruiseCompete" feature, in which you enter the specific cruise sailing you're interested in, and multiple large online agencies will send in their best bids for the lowest fare. I've used it many times to good effect.
Last edited by jeph; January 31st, 2010 at 04:50 PM.