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More Breaks For Single Cruisers

 

Cruise times are changing. They always are. Here’s one of the latest…

Cunard announced a refurbishment of the Queen Mary 2, and with it comes news that 15 single staterooms will be added. The rationale from Cunard is that single rooms are necessary because not only are more people cruising solo, but there are more family groups traveling together that include singles. There are already single staterooms available on fleetmates Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria

There is no single supplement for these cabins. In other words, you pay the same per-person price as you would if two to a cabin.

Other cruise lines have been ahead of that curve for some time. The Epic, with 128 solo cabins (some connecting) was the first in the Norwegian fleet with the highly-popular option for single travelers. There’s also a Studio Lounge, for the exclusive use of passengers who book in the solo cabins. With no single supplement they sell out quickly. Surprisingly, there are fewer single cabins on Norwegian’s latest ships, the Getaway and the Breakaway (59 on each). 

The Escape, being launched in the fall, will have 82. 

Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas each have 28 single staterooms, and Ovation of the Seas, also arriving this fall, will apparently also have 28 solo cabins. No single supplements apply.

Costa Cruises has 17 solo cabins on at least two of its ships, Costa Favolosa and Costa Fascinosa. There is a single supplement, although not exorbitant.

Carnival does offer some value-priced solo cruise fares, with some supplements as low as five per cent.

One thing is certain: In the cruise world, singles are being heard.

Today at portsandbows.com: Celebrity's 'Evenings Around The World'

Norwegian Jewel
5 nights
May 1, 2016
Los Angeles, Astoria, Victoria, Vancouver
Inside: $309
Cost per day: $61
www.ncl.com

The Crazy World of Carnival Cruises

BreezeDo you hear the one about the cruise line that was being sued by the lawyer for passengers on a ship's "cruise from hell" even though the passengers weren't really on the ship?

It's not a joke. It's true. And here's one for the Ripley archives…yes, Carnival.

A Houston attorney named John Bruster Loyd — who must be important because a Google search prompts 18 quick hits — filed a suit against Carnival this month on behalf of clients Luke Cash and Ami "Summer" Gallagher, claiming they had been on the Triumph in February, when it spent five days more or less lifeless in the Gulf of Mexico.

Luke and Summer were in Texas at the time. They had a pre-paid wedding in Cozumel scheduled on a future Triumph cruise, which was canceled. The attorney forgot his clients hadn't been on the ship and, in the end, uttered those two words seldom uttered by a lawyer.

Mea culpa.

Only in Carnival's world.

* * *

And then there are the people who really want Carnival. Badly. They live in DominicaDominica, an island nation in the south-east Caribbean, and they haven't seen a Carnival ship in three years after their 21-year relationship went south.

They say the price of gas cut Carnival's commitment to Dominica and that there's no sign the absence of ships will change any time soon. For a nation that depends heavily on tourism and agriculture, this is a troubling situation.

The former tourism minister calls Carnival was the island's "most important economic partner." Given the "wanted" lists that Carnival seems to be on for all the wrong reasons, maybe the cruise line should think about going back to where its ships really are missed the most.

* * *

And one final note on Carnival…

It's the first major cruise line to implement a widespread reduction of fees that single travelers have to pay, with more deals than ever on multiple ships and multiple itineraries for the solo crowd.

Two questions:

1. Will more major lines follow suit?

2. Given that cruise lines rarely do these things if they're sold out, does this mean Carnival is simply trying to put more heads in more beds?

Norwegian Pearl
20 nights
April 18, 2014
Miami, Cartagena, Panama Canal, Puntarenas, Puerto ChiapasHuatulcoPuerto VallartaSan DiegoLos AngelesSan FranciscoVictoriaVancouver
Inside: $1,359
Cost per day: $67
www.ncl.com

Crunching Solo Cabin Numbers

When Norwegian's Pride of America goes in for refurbishing that will interrupt its cruising around the Hawaiian Islands next spring, four new inside staterooms will be designed for single travelers.

Is this a glass half-empty or a glass half-full?

Our esteemed colleague, Phil Reimer of Ports and Bows, is a big fan of solo cabins — or the need for solo cabins. Therefore, he was disappointed that only four were included in the Pride of America's furbishing.

If this was a response to customer demand, it was a token response.

On the other hand, the first of two new Norwegian ships, the Breakaway, arrives next year. It will be the line's first new ship since the Epic in 2010, and it was the Epic that broke the cruise industry mold by including 128 solo cabins in its design. On the Breakaway (and presumably the Getaway), there will be 59 solo cabins.

If the Epic was indeed testing the market, the number of passengers on the ship who sailed solo (in what Norwegian calls "studio" cabins) was just over three per cent. If the same percentage was applied to the Breakaway, there would be 125 solo cabins, not 59. Apply the Epic percentage to the refurbished Pride of America and there would be 67, not four (admittedly there are physical limitations for an existing ship that's being refurbished).

Given that cruise lines are forever responding to the trends of passengers, the Norwegian strategy indicates there is a limited demand.


Norwegian Epic
7 nights
March 9, 2013
Miami (return): St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Nassau
Inside: $649
Cost per day: $81
www.ncl.com

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