Cunard Drops Solo Surcharge ... Slightly

April 11, 2008

Cunard's announcement today that the dreaded solo surcharge on Queen Mary 2 voyages will be reduced from 100 percent to 75 percent is good news ... sort of.

It is good news because Cunard initially seemed to be abandoning single travelers with the departure of the heralded Queen Elizabeth 2 -- one of the few ships that actually have cabins designed for solo passengers, and thus do not incur an outrageous surcharge. Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, however, feature staterooms that are pre-fabricated at a factory for at least two passengers (customary in the industry). A single person essentially has to pay to twice the normal rate to occupy a standard double cabin.

The bad news? While the 25 percent reduction is appreciated, it's still a pretty pricey tariff -- though Cunard said today that on some cruises it will be dropped even further, to 50 percent.

Most cruise lines price sailings for solos with a surcharge of 50 to 100 percent, but will occasionally reduce or eliminate them on voyages not selling well.

There are still a handful of cruise lines that do offer single cabins without excessive surcharging. Among them are Fred. Olsen and Saga Holidays. For more details about best ships for solo travelers, check out our guide.

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief, and Kelly Ranson, Associate Editor