Cruise holidays for singles

By Cathy Winston, Editor

Cruising has always been a great option for solo travellers, from small friendly boats to large luxury liners with group excursions and communal dining. The only problem has been a lack of single cabins, and annoyingly high single supplements.

But things are changing, with cruise companies now actively targeting those travelling alone. There are some great options whether you’re looking for relaxed or formal, exotic island hopping or laid-back foodie voyages, as well as some fascinating itineraries. Here is my pick of the best cruise holidays for singles.

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Informal cruisingRiver cruisesOver 50sHistory and cultureLuxury

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Informal cruises for singles

Forget the outdated image of the blue rinse brigade at sea. Cruising has worked hard to shrug off that reputation and focus on younger passengers exploring the world.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Freestyle cruising means no formal seating at dinner, so you can choose anything from black tie to sushi, alone or with others, as well as activities including wine and martini tasting.

Best for solo travellers is Norwegian Epic which has its own singles-only lounge bar, as well as studio staterooms with no single supplement and on-board facilities including an ice bar, state-of-the-art spa and climbing wall.

Or look for smaller boats to ensure a relaxed, house party atmosphere. Friendship Travel has several gulet cruise holidays exclusively for singles along the beautiful coast of Turkey.

St Hilda Sea Adventures have a maximum of eight guests aboard its ships sailing around Scotland’s Western Isles, with wildlife and whisky on offer as you cruise, and limited booking with no single supplement.

River cruises

River cruising is booming in popularity. It’s a relaxing way to travel and a great way to experience the best of a country in a short period of time.

Portugal’s Douro River is surging in popularity, or try a four-night cruise on the River Seine from Honfleur to Paris.

We recommend the solo travel specialist Just You which offers double or twin cabins with no single supplement.

Cruising for over-50s

Traditional cruising has also been updated to make it more appealing for single travellers. One of the most popular choices for older solo travellers is Fred. Olsen cruises, where plenty of thought has gone into how to ensure singles have a great cruise.

As well as activities and events exclusively for singles, plus dinner hosts and companions for shore excursions, solo travellers are paired together for dinner or have the option to swap the formal main restaurants for more casual options.

Exclusively for the over-50s, Saga Travel has single cabins on two of its ships, the larger and more contemporary Saga Sapphire and the smaller boutique-style Spirit of Discovery. Both arrange singles meet-ups on port days if you’d like to explore with others, as well as drinks and lunch parties to meet other solo travellers on board. Ideal for those who don’t want to fly, both sail from the UK, with short itineraries or the chance to spend weeks at sea.

History and culture cruises

From Egypt to Turkey and Greece, a cruise can be the perfect way to see some of a country’s ancient sites. The classic Nile Cruise is ideal whether, you’re an archaeology buff or just fascinated by ancient Egyptian history. Highlights include the Valley of the Kings, Karnak and Luxor.

Or sail along the Nile in a traditional Felucca sailboat, as part of the King Tutankhamen tour from On The Go Tours – with the option to upgrade to a five-star cruise boat as well.

And the archaeological holidays from Peter Sommer Travels include expert guides help bring history to life, with tours around Europe on a traditional gulet. Choose island hopping Greece, or a Gastronomic Gulet Cruise in Turkey.

Luxury cruises for solo travellers

If the thought of being surrounded by hundreds of other passengers puts you off cruising but you’d still like the luxury of a larger ship, boutique cruising is a great first step for singles.

Head to Europe for a luxury hotel barge holiday with European Waterways. Specialising in trips through France, you can also visit Scotland, England, Ireland, Holland, Belgium, the Venetian lagoon, Germany and Luxembourg.

With a maximum of 20 passengers, the focus is on gourmet food and fine wines – all included in the price – as well as a floating house party atmosphere and crew on board to ensure nobody gets left out. There are special offers for solo travellers throughout the year.

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Last updated: 18 February 2022

Before you book

Travel guidelines and advice are still subject to change. Check the latest travel restrictions for UK residents.