Norwegian Cruise Lines announced today that starting Monday, January 18, solo travelers will be able to book staterooms on the Norwegian Epic (its newest freestyle cruise ship which launches in July) that were specifically designed for single and solo travelers–which means no single supplement! Prices for these “Studio Staterooms” start at $799 for the Epic’s 7-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises. The rooms are 100 square feet, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s your own private space, and going by the above photo, I think I’d be happy in one. One of the perks of these studio rooms is access to the Studio Lounge, a common area exclusive to those staying in the Studios where they can enjoy a beverage and connect with other solo travelers.
“Historically, the cruise industry has not embraced the large number of people who enjoy traveling solo,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “We are breaking the mold of traditional cruising once again by offering a stateroom designed and priced specifically for solo travelers, making cruising a more attractive travel option. We invite all solo travelers – whether they are first-time cruisers or cruising veterans — to sail on our incredible new Freestyle Cruising ship, Norwegian Epic.” The Studios on Norwegian Epic are a private key-card access complex on two decks consisting of 128 staterooms and the Studio Lounge. This unique and thoughtfully designed concept provides comfort and convenience for the solo traveler. (NCL press release)
If you are a regular on my Facebook fan page, you may remember I had an opportunity to question Kevin Sheehan back in October during his open Q&A at USA Today‘s forum about the idea of accommodating solo travelers with more single rooms on board their ships so that solos could avoid the single supplement or having to bunk with a stranger. He replied:
As you know, the industry as a whole typically bases its fares on double occupancy, so targeting singles requires us to change our mindset and our planning. However, the idea of a single fare for particular staterooms is an interesting proposition and something that we are currently evaluating.
Apparently they were. In any case, I’m thrilled with this development, and I hope it starts a hot trend that other cruise lines and hotels copy. Here’s to happy solo cruising in 2010!