Are you thinking of going on a Royal Caribbean cruise solo? It is not as crazy as it may sound, and a lot of people take this sort of vacation every year!
Going on a solo cruise means being able to do what you want, when you want to do it, and it has its own sets of perks (and hurdles).
Cruising solo in a double occupancy world
There is no denying that cruise ships are traditionally configured for guests who are sailing with at least two people in each stateroom.
The cruise model is based on double occupancy, which means the profitability of a ship assumes two people per room.
When cruising solo, you will likely become quickly familiar with the term, "single supplement fee", which means you are charged extra for cruising with just one person in a stateroom. The single supplement fee makes up for the lost revenue by not having a second person booked in the same room.
While single supplement fees are common, there are a few ways around this fee.
First and foremost, Royal Caribbean offers solo rooms on select cruise ships. Ten Royal Caribbean ships offer a limited amount of studio staterooms that are designed (and priced) for solo cruisers. These rooms do not come with a single supplement fee associated with the booking.
Another way around the fee is if you have at least 340 or more points in the Crown and Anchor Society (Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program). If you are that high up in the system, the single supplement cruise fare is reduced to 150% from 200%.
One other way to get around the single supplement fee is on some rare sailings, the fee may be waived in order to encourage bookings. This is typically offered on last minute cruises, where the cruise line wants to quickly increase bookings.
Money saving tip: Pretend you are not solo
One of my best tips is to price out a cruise booking as a solo cruiser, as well as making up a second person in the room to see which option is cheaper.
Royal Caribbean's system sometimes penalizes solo cruisers so much with the single supplement fee, that it is not uncommon to find a lower price by paying for a phantom second guest who never actually shows up.
Essentially, you place your name and the name of someone else on the reservation. This could be a family member or friend who has absolutely no intention of sailing. It does not really matter, since this person will not be sailing, and there is no penalty or issue if a guest does not show up for the cruise.
While you will be paying for a second person that is not going on the cruise, in many cases this is still cheaper than a booking that only has one guest on the reservation.
It should be noted that when you show up for the cruise without that second person, you will be refunded port fees and taxes for the second person, as well as still receive double Crown and Anchor points for cruising solo.
The best part about this tip? You get an even bigger stateroom than if you booked a studio cabin!
Best cruise ships for solo travelers
While there are ten Royal Caribbean ships that offer solo rooms of one kind or another, I think a few stand out for offering the best options for a solo traveler.
The Quantum Class of ships, which include Quantum of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, and Anthem of the Seas, offer not only standard studio staterooms, but also studio balcony rooms.
These Super Studio Ocean View balcony rooms offer a private balcony that measures 55 square feet, and is a rare commodity for any solo room.
If you want to try one of Royal Caribbean's biggest ships, check out Harmony of the Seas for their Studio Interior and Studio Ocean View rooms. Harmony is the only Oasis Class ship to offer studio rooms, so if you want to cruise on the largest ships in the world, this is the one for you.
Solo cruising tips
Being alone on the cruise does not mean a week-long adventure where you talk to no one. Cruising solo can be a very fun and social adventure, and many readers share how much they enjoy sailing by themselves.
Going solo on Royal Caribbean is a bit easier than on other cruise lines, because of the variety of activities offered. Many activities and events offered throughout the day lend themselves to being friendly to someone cruising alone.
Daily trivia competitions, escape rooms, water slides, FlowRider surf simulator and shows are just as enjoyable for someone on a cruise solo, as it is for couples and groups.
Royal Caribbean also offers cooking classes, drink seminars, and even a Chef's Table experience that are very fun activities to enjoy.
Another good tip if you are alone on a cruise is to actively strike up conversations with the crew. Start up a conversation with your waiter or bartender, seek out and introduce yourself to the Cruise Director, and get to know your stateroom attendant. Not only are the crew friendly and open to conversation, but many of them are equally interested in socializing since their friends and family are not onboard either.
Shore excursions are another great way to meet other people and not feel so alone. Nearly all shore excursions are group excursions, so you will end up with others from your ship. In fact, you might consider an activity or experience that pits people together (scavenger hunts, demonstrations, rides, etc) as an opportunity to be a part of the team.
Another trick for making the transition of a solo cruiser easier is to book a theme cruise. There are a ton of groups that organize cruises, and invite anyone with the same interests to join them. These group sailings are filled with people who do not know each other, and that means many more people than usual who are interested in getting to know their fellow guests.
Lastly, try meeting your fellow cruisers before you even get onboard by connecting on Facebook. It seems like there is a Facebook group organized for each sailing, so just search on Facebook for your ship name and sail date, and see what you find. You might strike up a conversation with others booked on the same cruise, and end up making friends before you even get onboard.
Have you done a solo cruise vacation? Any additional tips? Are you thinking of cruising solo on Royal Caribbean Does a solo cruise seem like something you would enjoy, or would you miss being with your friends or family? Hearing from you is half the fun, so if you have other thoughts or questions, please share in the comments!