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Cruise: Caribbean

Ways Around the High Price of Being Single

September 14, 1997|LARRY FOX and BARBARA RADIN FOX | WASHINGTON POST

On many cruises, the single supplement--the surcharge solo travelers must pay to get a cabin of their own--can equal what two people would pay for the same cabin.

Some suggestions for beating--or at least reducing--it:

* Ask about guaranteed single rates. With these, you pay a fixed price, which is set in the cruise brochure and usually is close to the per-person, double-occupancy rate. The caveat is that you do not have a choice of cabins and probably will be assigned an inside cabin. Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line offer such guaranteed single rates.

* Take advantage of single-share programs. Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and Carnival Cruise Line offer a single-share program, also based on availability. Using this program, a single cruiser would pay the per-person, double-occupancy rate and then be matched with a cabin mate by the cruise line, using such criteria as sex, age and smoking preferences.

* Look for low single supplements. We know of only one cruise line, World Explorer Cruises, that charges absolutely nothing extra and offers cabin choice to singles. Seabourn Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Crystal Cruises, American Hawaii Cruises, Orient Lines, Costa, Cunard, Holland America, KD River Cruises and Radisson Seven Seas have low (usually 10% to 25%) single supplements. And, as always, the availability of these lower surcharges can vary by ship, cabin class, itinerary and the prevailing public demand for bookings.

* Look for ships with single cabins. Cunard's Queen Elizabeth II has 110 such cabins, by far the most on any ship. Many other cruise lines have very limited numbers of single cabins.

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