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johnthed0g June 2nd, 2013 08:57 AM

Avoid singe supplement??
Has anyone tried booking a cabin for two, but the second person is never going to go?...A discussion elsewhere suggests that this could be cheaper than paying a single supplement. June 2nd, 2013 02:13 PM

First, it would never been cheaper to book a double for a single passenger. It could be the same price, but not cheaper.

The total price for a cruise is broken down into three parts; the cruise fare, the port fees (also called non-commissionables or NCF's), and the tax.

Normally, when a single is cruising, the cruise line will charge double the cruise fare, charge single the NCF's, and charge single for the tax. This is referred to as a 200% single supplement. Sometimes, a cruise line will offer a special whereby they only charge a single price for a cabin; this is referred to as a 100% single supplement. Or they may be offering a special where they charge a 125% or 150% single supplements. We use to see these alot more in the past than we do now.

Now, while some cruise lines will charge once for the NCF's, which is the way it's suppose to be done, other cruise lines will charge double the NCF's for a single, which is just another way to make more profit on a single.

And yet NCL does it differently than everyone else. If you book one of their special single cabins, you'll only pay a 100% single supplement and once for the NCF's. However, if you book any other cabin, then they'll charge you a 200% single supplement and double the NCF's.

Hope all that makes sense.

But let's get back to the original statement I made that booking a double when only a single is traveling will never result in a cheaper price. Here's why;

Let's say you book a cabin and the cruise fare is $500, the NCF's are $150, and the taxes are $50. If you book this as a double, the total price for two people would be $1400. Of course, when you show up at the terminal and announce the other person is not coming (or don't tell them - they'll obviously find out when the ship sails), they will refund the taxes to the credit card used for the purchase. So the total amount charged will be $1350.

Now, if you booked this as a single, the price would be $1200 (double the cruise fare, single the NCF's, single the taxes). However, if you're dealing with a cruise line that double sthe NCF's (which some will and some won't), then the price will increase to $1350.

So, as you can see, there is no benefit whatsoever to book two people in a cabin knowing that only one person will be sailing. And, if anything, this could actually hurt someone else since cruise lines passenger loads are based on how many people are booked in each type of cabins. I won't go into a long explanation about how all that works, but understand that on a cruise that's full, it could mean the difference between a family of four being able to get a quad cabin or having to buy two double cabins.

Bottom line is for singles to look at the total amount for the cabin when comparing cruises. Sometimes what appears to be a more expensive price on one cruise could actually end up costing less than another cruise that's advertised for less money.

Now, with all that said, I'll add a postscript; it is possible a cruise line would advertise a special that is based on double occupancy only and not allow the special for singles, triples or quads. However, I've not seen a situation like this in a very very long time. So the chances of that being the case is extremely slim and none.


Mike M June 2nd, 2013 03:27 PM

CP gave you all the information you need. The only thing is that this is from a North American perspective and you are from the UK. It is possible that the rules and pricing "may" be different for you. However, I can't see a situation where a single would ever pay more than two people for a cabin.

Take care,
Mike June 2nd, 2013 11:22 PM

Thanks, Mike! Good point. I didn't notice he was from the UK - it's possible things there may be different, but it would be a new one for me as I've not heard anything about singles being treated different. It would be interesting to hear from other singles in the UK with firsthand knowledge about this.


anniegb June 3rd, 2013 06:02 PM

Hi All

JTD is correct.

Carnival UK brands have recently announced changes to the pricing of their UK brands.

Prior to the change a solo was sometimes charged 300% on certain sailings. Some clever people got round it by booking double occupancy and then saying their fellow passenger fell ill.

Fortunately in Europe, with MSC, UK solos can book mid-ship balcony or other cabins with no supplement albeit on restricted sailings.

Annie June 3rd, 2013 08:13 PM

300%??? Really?

Wow! No wonder they were booking doubles for a single! I've not heard about this, but I'll be sure and ask my Carnival BDM about it and see what she has to say. It'll be interesting.


anniegb June 4th, 2013 02:43 AM


Originally Posted by cruise planner (Post 1475303)
300%??? Really?

Wow! No wonder they were booking doubles for a single! I've not heard about this, but I'll be sure and ask my Carnival BDM about it and see what she has to say. It'll be interesting.


Hi Pete

I am sure I will get this wrong, JTD is a Carnival UK brands expert :)

Carnival UK price structure revolved around Vantage and Getaway fares.

Getaway fares, released later, had to be paid in full and if you cancelled you lost all your money. There were other restrictions.
Vantage Fares were bookable in advance and came with OBC, parking or other perks.

To book a cabin using a Getaway fare - you had to book a cabin in the Noah's Ark way i.e. multiples of 2 - so families of 3 persons and solo passengers were not eligible.

Solos and say a family of 3 HAD to book cabins using the Vantage price point.

Now when all the pricing became known the Getaway fares were often pitched at 60-75% of the Vantage Fare.

So using the example of Vantage Fare of 1000 and Getaway Fare 700.

A solo could only book the cabin at 100% supplement of Vantage Fare = 2000 whereas the Getaway Fare for the same cabin was 700 - so almost 300% supplement.

So some clever solos booked and paid 2 fares at Getaway level - 40% supplement of Vantage price level and then said their companion was ill and could not travel.

The policy has been a disaster for families and solos. On occasion, the Getaway fares were often less than half of Vantage fares - lots of disgruntled clients. Everyone leaving booking to the last minute which of course damages company cash flow.

Well it is all change from Sept 1st - wait and see.

Annie June 4th, 2013 01:23 PM

I know that Carnival corporation companies have some strange rules and policies concerning UK bookings as I have several clients there. As with alot of our European clients, sometimes it's better for them to book with a U.S. agent and sometimes it's better to book with a local agent over there.

Honestly, I've never heard about this situation with singles. Of course, all my clients over there are couples or families, so I guess that's expected.

But this is really strange. They'll have specials over here whereby it's only offered to seniors, residents, military, etc, but when these super saver or early save specials are offered, they don't differentiate between singles and couples. So I can definitely see why singles are playing the game to get a better rate over there. It would be interesting to compare the different rates over there to what they are over here to see which way would benefit a single more. But as you mentioned, you'd have to make sure everything is the same (parking, onboard credit, etc).

What irritates agents over here is that occasionally they'll offer specials over there we can't get. We were once on a Princess cruise in the So. Carib (and by the way, U.S. agents cannot sell Princess to anyone outside of the U.S., Canada, or Mexico), and they made an announcement that 55% of the passengers on that sailing were from the UK. We got to talking to a UK travel agent and they were telling us about the special offered by Princess that gave them two 7-night B2B cruises PLUS airfare for less than U.S. agents could sell one 7-night cruise for!! Are you kidding me?

So I guess I shouldn't be too surprised about these specials you're talking about. They do seem to do some strange things over there.



gfleo June 28th, 2013 07:21 PM

Just yesterday I was looking at a cruise and indeed it was cheaper booking a double and get the taxes back then booking a single.

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