My favorite ships to date are MV Sun Princess, MV Sea Princess, and MV Ocean Princess (which together account for five out of six vacation cruises). The other vacation cruise was aboard MV Grand Princess, which I thoroughly enjoyed in spite of some very annoying "features" in the arrangement of several public spaces that simply did not seem to work very well. I have posted comments comparing these vessels on the Princess board, so I won't duplicate them here..
As to choice of cruise lines, I originally avoided Carnival because, as a Christian gentleman, I really don't care for the "frat party" atmosphere for which that line is known. More recently, reports of quite a string of serious problems like fires and complete propulsion failures -- and, for the benefit of readers who might not be aware, a complete loss of propulsion means that a vessel has no capability to maneuver at all, thus putting the vessel and all aboard in grave danger, particularly in reef-infested waters like those of the Caribbean and restricted waters such as Alaska's Inside Passage -- aboard Carnival's vessels having me saying a very emphatic "No way!" until I see a clear track record indicating that the problems have been corrected. Unfortunately, these problems now seem to be afflicting at least some of the parent company's other lines including Holland America and Seaborne. It was more of a toss-up with Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity, but Princess seemed to offer more of the world on its itineraries. I probably will try both of these lines sometime, though I'm not in any rush to do so.
As to points of satisfaction:
>> Princess does seem to be a real "class" act, as one would expect of a "premium" line, with very friendly crews, staffs, and fellow passengers.
>> On most of my cruises, I have met other single passengers in my age bracket (40-ish), sometimes leading to continuing friendships.
>> The shore excursions are both outstanding and varied in most of the ports of call, and their prices generally seem very reasonable. This is especially important in ports of call where one might not want to go ashore alone.
>> There's a good variety of activities (active and intellectually stimulating), but there's also pleny of quiet spots for "down time" when one needs it.
>> The food, the service, and the shows are outstanding.
>> There's live music for dancing in both the Wheelhouse Bar and the Horizon Court every evening, and most of the groups are exceptionally good.
>> The single supplement (50-60% for a standard cabin, depending upon itinerary) is pretty reasonable, too. (Guaranteed shares are available, but I really don't want to take a chance on rooming with a complete stranger.)
Norm, thank you for sharing your experiences. I wish more single cruisers would do the same. I get lots of queries from people planning their first solo voyage, and, at the top of the list they want to know the "best ship for singles."
It would be great if others like you would post their feelings.
Norm, thx much for your response to Pat's ?s. As a newbie cruiser (just one cruise under my belt--to Alaska) I'd like to say that IMHO Alaska is a wonderful first choice cruise destination for the solo/single traveler. The beautiful scenery, ports, and, of course cruising makes for a great trip.
Faith, can you share with us your opinion as to how your cruise would have appealed to those traveling by themselves? Was there a mixer for singles to get acquainted? Any specific activities for singles?
I think that Alaska, as a cruise destination, was a good first cruise choice for me. Making connections with others on deck looking for wildlife, at the different lectures in the lounge, and on the port excursions (especially the whale watching and river rafting type trips) seemed to come natural. I also requested a late sitting at a large table (with other singles) for dinner.
I felt my particular ship (the Universe Explorer) could have done more to bring singles together.
Hi Pat, Sorry I took so long to respond, but the Holidays have gotten the best of my time. I'm going on the Carnival Inspiration, Jan 14th with a friend of mine who is also single. I already am anticipating that I will enjoy it so much that I will want to book another one!. My difficulty is that it is hard finding a traveling companion to go with me. Which is why I'm interested in this topic..to hear about other's experiences traveling solo. I'm also curious to know which lines have the best single supplement.
Faith, that's interesting about the deck being a great place for singles to meet while watching wildlife on an Alaskan cruise. But you said your ship could have done more for singles. Didn't they have a get-acquainted party for those traveling solo? If not, perhaps you could write a letter to the cruise line suggesting they do so before your next cruise.
The question has been asked which cruise lines offer single supplements. Several add less than 25% to the one person rate for a cabin: Silverseas, Radisson Seven Seas, Holland America, Orient, Cunard/Seabourn and Costa.
On Royal Caribbean International, solo cruisers' rates are only a little higher than the per-person price for double occupancy. However, cabins are assigned, not chosen, and made just a few weeks before sailing.
Among the cruise lines offering single cabins: American Hawaii, Carnival, Delta Queen Steamboat, Clipper, Celebrity, Costa, Holland America, Commodore, Princess, Orient, Cunard/Seabourn's QE2, and Norwegian Cruise lines.
I agree that Alaska is an excellent destination, especially for those "first timers" who are not looking for "fun in the sun" at a beach destination. My parents went there several years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed their trip. They combined two cruises -- Vancouver to Seward aboard TSS Sky Princess and Skagway to Vanvouver aboard MV Star Princess -- with a land tour from Anchorage to Skagway via Denali, Fairbanks, and the Yukon. I hope to do likewise someday.
Hi Pat and all.
I am booked on NCL's Norway for the 2/3/01 sailing. I am single and I got a great rate: 714 singles guarantee plus port for 7 days E. Caribbean. I arranged my own air so the total came to 1075...not bad for a solo cruiser...I will be scouting the territory on this ship and will let you know what I find!
I am taking my first cruise March 23 on Royal Caraibbean Vision of the Seas. 10 nights circling the Caribbean. Anyone else out there booked on this cruise? I am sharing a cabin on a guaranteed share and have emailed with my roomie. Would love to hear from others who have taken a guaranteed share cruise. I will report back my experiences.
Please do let us know how you like your cruise on the NORWAY. Sounds like you got a very reasonable rate. I have sailed the NORWAY perhaps 20 times and always have a great time.
The best place to meet other singles is in the Club Internationale. Make it a point to be there for a drink before dinner, and don't be shy about sitting right at the bar. The "Club I" is a very sophisticated place.
Another spot for meeting is the Great Outdoors Cafe for breakfast and/or lunch. Fill your tray and then look around for someone dining alone and ask if you can join them.
Crystal has some of the most attractive single rates anywhere, for a high end cruise. Seabourn used to have some nice rates but they have changes their policy as of late. If you want to chose your cabin, you have to pay 175% of the fare, but if you allow them to chose your cabin (you usually got one of the least desirable locations on the ship), you go anywhere from 125% to 150% depending on capacity. Personally, I much prefer Crystal, as they do a wonderful job, especially where single women cruisers are concerned.