It can be tough to be a single person on a cruise. The vast majority of ship cabins are designed—and priced—for two people, and many of the activities on ships are intended for couples and families. Norwegian Cruise Line has set out to change that. As the first cruise line to specifically cater to solo cruisers, it developed its Studio concept, which offers small, attractively designed and affordably priced cabins that are perfect for one person. Guests who stay in these cabins also get access to the Studio Lounge, a private-access area where they can socialize, snack, watch TV, or just relax.
Norwegian Bliss, the newest and biggest ship in the fleet—sailing to Alaska, the Caribbean, and along the Pacific Coasts of Canada and Mexico through 2019—includes a block of Studio staterooms. (You’ll also find them on Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Epic, and Pride of America.) Below, you’ll find information that will help you decide whether this type of cabin is for you. Note that cruise prices can change quickly, and that the fares mentioned below were accurate at the time of publication.
All solo cabins are inside cabins.
Norwegian’s Studio staterooms are all windowless inside cabins. On Bliss, they feature a “virtual window” that projects ocean views from outside the ship, so you’ll have some light, plus you’ll be oriented to the time of day. Rooms are about 100 square feet in size and some of them are connecting. This is a good option if you’re traveling with a friend and still want some space of your own.
You'll want to book early.
Norwegian Bliss is brand new, and it’s mix of affordability and attractive design (the Observation Lounge is a beauty) is already proving popular. Its summer 2018 Alaska sailings are largely sold out, including the Studio staterooms. Keep an eye peeled for last-minute openings, or look forward to better pricing in 2019.
A studio lets you save.
There is no single supplement for Studio staterooms on Norwegian, and they generally cost about 20 to 30 percent less than it would cost to sail as a single person in a regular inside cabin that’s intended for two people.
For example, we found Studio staterooms available on a seven-night Alaska sailing that departs on May 5, 2019 for $1,649. By comparison, if you stay in a regular inside cabin—which offers an additional 35 square feet of space—as a solo traveler, you will pay $1,898. On another seven-night sailing, this time on October 13, 2019 along the west coast of Mexico, you’ll pay $1,319 for a Studio stateroom, compared to $1,798 for a regular inside cabin. The savings speak for themselves, but if you don’t think you’ll use the special Studio Lounge, don’t like or need the extra design touches, or simply crave more space at a good price, an inside cabin may be a better choice for you.
Note that as cruises fill up, the price of these cabins can fluctuate. If Studio staterooms start to sell more quickly than inside staterooms, you may see the price on those inside staterooms dip accordingly, making them more affordable than Studios.
Booking and shopping online can be a tricky.
Even if you don’t go online to book your cruise, you’ll probably use the Internet to research it. Searching as a solo traveler requires an extra step. Always remember to adjust your search query so you’re looking at pricing for one traveler. Most search engines on both the cruise line sites and agency web sites default to two people traveling together. If you search for two travelers, you’ll be shown the price of the cruise per person, but these prices are only valid if there are two people in the cabin. If you then adjust the query to one traveler, you’ll note that the prices go up to accommodate for the single supplement.
If you book a regular inside cabin as a single traveler, you’ll never see the single supplement broken out onto its own line item on your bill. Your fare will simply reflect the total price for a single traveler in whichever cabin you choose. This is different, say, than with tour operators or vacation packagers, which often charge a fixed single supplement and will spell it out on your receipt.
Solo travel means a solo set of fees.
When you sail solo, you’ll only ever pay taxes and gratuities for one—whether you're in a Studio cabin, or a solo traveler in any other kind of cabin. If you plan to book a cruise that includes onboard credit or other perks, consider that Norwegian will often offer a specific level of credit just for Studio cabins; if you sail solo in a double-occupancy cabin, you may receive a prorated amount of credit, based on what you paid for your cruise. It all depends on the offer, so read the fine print carefully.