In 2012, I found out about Norwegian Cruise Line and their studio cabins. I used to cruise a lot with my family when I was younger. It was perfect for everyone. The kids had the kids clubs and activities. The grown ups had nice dinners and could dress up if they wanted to. You could go on an excursion and know you would get back to the ship before it left, and all in all they felt like a pretty safe trip for everyone involved, but then for a long time I didn’t cruise, more through financial reasons than anything, but also because I tend to travel on my own and this therefore means that I have to pay a single supplement for being a solo traveller, which would quite often price me out of the trips I want to do.
The studio cabins are small but in my opinion, perfectly formed. These are cabins designed for people travelling on their own (and as such are only available to book for an occupancy of one person), and which have access to a private communal lounge in order to allow the solo travellers to meet others and join them for dinner or other activities if they wish. I have made some wonderful friends this way, many of whom I am still in contact with today.
Studio cabins are generally priced as more expensive than if you were sharing a standard cabin with someone else, (e.g. more than half the price of a standard inside cabin) but, there is no single supplement and so they are a lot more affordable than paying for a standard cabin for yourself (where you are typically charged double the fare, although only one lot of taxes and gratuities). Occasionally you will find a great deal – like I did in the picture below, when I booked my trip for 2013 so far in advance that it was actually cheaper to get a balcony than it would have been for a studio cabin. As you can see, I primarily have sailed on the Norwegian Epic as that is a ship that I have fallen head over heels in love with, and it does a lot of trips around the Mediterranean meaning it is cheaper and easier for me to travel to.
The studio cabins are only available on the newer ships and The Pride of America (as she recently had a refit). When I say newer ships – I mean anything built after the Norwegian Epic, so this includes the Breakaway and Breakaway Plus class ships (Breakaway, Getaway and so on).
I’ve only been on the Epic, Breakaway and Getaway, and the Epic has by far the largest of the studio lounges. I actually found the ones on the Breakaway and Getaway a little small and a little disappointing in comparison to be honest, but I believe some of the lounges on the newer ships are larger again. In defence of Norwegian Cruise Line, it is a space which will only be used by a very small proportion of their passengers, and for only a small portion of the day, and as the Breakaway and Getaway have less studio cabins than the Epic, I can see why it is smaller, but sometimes on the evening meetups it would be standing room only and feel a bit crammed. It’s important to remember that the ships do have these meetups though, and for solo travellers the studio lounge is a very social space.
There is usually a meetup every evening, in order that you can meet other travellers and make plans for dining if going to dinner on your own isn’t your thing. None of these are compulsory of course, and with all the other activities onboard around the ship there are plenty of other opportunities to meet other people.
The studio lounge is a safe space for solo travellers to meet up with others and hang out during the day. There’s also refreshments (including cookies) available 24 hours too!
I will be going on one of Norwegian Cruise Line’s older, and smallest, ship the Norwegian Sun soon. I look forward to updating this post about what they provide for solo travellers on a ship without studio cabins. The great thing about NCL is that even when I stayed in a cabin that wasn’t a studio, there are so many activities and things going on around the ship, that you meet people all the time anyway. I go to pretty much every trivia session going and there are loads of other things to do such as classes, craft sessions, fitness activities, comedy, music shows, and more.
The great thing about travelling solo with Norwegian Cruise Line is that you can go to the meetups and activities, but if you just want some me time, you can disappear back to your cabin for some peace and you don’t have to be sociable if you don’t want to. You will certainly not be lonely if you don’t want to be, but you can have your own space too! It really is a win win and I look forward to many more solo cruises with them!