We’ve been selling leisure travel for more than 25 years. Our former company, CruiseMasters, was one of the largest agencies specializing in upscale cruise travel and luxury land vacations. Many of our customers were Hollywood types — familiar to all of us, and many traveled alone as did we!
At Premier, a large number of our expert Personal Travel Planners including my wife and I, know what it’s like to be over the age of 50 and travel ‘solo’ by land, by sea, and by river. We’ve all done it many times. We know that IF one is not well prepared, or if the RIGHT type of vacation is not selected, it can be a very costly, challenging and sometimes disheartening experience. And, in some cases you really may have concerns about your safety.
Let’s talk about one example of that: the newer generation of mega-cruise ships. You know what we mean… the one you share with 3500-5000 of your “best friends;” the crew never knows your name; you wait in line for almost everything; get ‘nickled and dimed’ to death; and it can take up to an hour to get off the ship only to wait in yet another line to get on a bus to take you on an over-priced shore excursion. I don’t think there can be any more impersonal or uncomfortable way for a single to travel. It’s almost impossible to even see the same person twice in a week, let along strike up a conversation or make a new friend.
Traveling in large, impersonal groups is daunting for most of us, especially those who choose to travel solo. That’s why we feel the preferred way to see much of this exciting world is by river aboard an affordably priced, intimate, almost all-inclusive luxurious river cruise ship that is most certainly “singles friendly.”
Speaking on the topic of being "solo friendly," let us quickly tell you who are the solo friendly river cruise lines and who are not. It's somewhat paradoxical that the largest and best know river cruise line, Viking is absolutely, the least solo friendly. They never have any lower solo rates, in fact you will always pay about 50% more to travel as a solo on Viking. The most friendly solo lines are Tauck which offers NO single supplement rates on every European sailing on every itinerary. Also very solo friendly are Uniworld, AmaWaterways, Scenic and Avalon.
As most of our Premier Team has traveled solo at one time or another, we’d like to spend a few minutes to address concerns heard over the years from our single travelers. We want to demonstrate why a river cruise is so perfect for the “single traveler,” and why Premier is the best travel agency to choose to book a very memorable river cruise vacation.
Let me start by saying that the Premier Team is more than just a group of travel agents. They are truly “personal travel planners.” How so? Because we’re not just about selling you a river cruise. It’s about listening to you and understanding your needs, wants, desires, and concerns. Our river cruise experts WANT to talk with you and get to know you. That way your expert Planner can ensure they’ll be able to match you with the perfect river cruise line and itinerary for your lifestyle and budget, and to ensure a rewarding and 'hassle-free' river cruise experience.
So, what are the most common concerns we hear from single travelers?
First and foremost: “Why do I have to pay extra” to get my own cabin?” While we totally agree, for most mainstream ocean cruise lines it’s a question of economics and they take a very shallow view of singles accommodations. The good news is that with river cruising, many of the ships in fact have cabins that are built for singles and there is no surcharge. Even better, because Premier does such a significant business with Single Travelers, we have quite a number of sailings where the dreaded single supplement has been waived. On other sailings, we can generally offer you reduced single supplements which make river cruises a very affordable vacation. Click HERE to view the "Hot Deals” for the Solo Traveler Cruise Chart where single supplements have been waived or reduced.
We Know the Secrets to Getting you the BEST deals!
At Premier, we handle more solo river cruise customers than most other agencies and that's because we know what is important to you. We also know how to get you the best deals and here's a tip for you, we also know which ships have dedicated solo cabins on EVERY sailing..call or email us today, it's not to early to plan for 2015.
Will there be other singles on my river cruise? More than likely there will be! That’s one of the many reasons single travelers are attracted to river cruising. On average, 4-6% of every European or Russian river cruise is made up of solo travelers. That percentage drops just a bit for the more exotic destinations such as Vietnam, China or Egypt, but there are always fellow “solo” travelers on a river cruise.
The attraction between single travelers and river cruising is very simple: it’s affordable, safe, almost fully inclusive, one sees a region or destination in depth, and you travel with like-minded, similar aged folks. How much better can a vacation get?! If you haven’t read our overview article, “Is a River Cruise Right for the Single Traveler?” yet, please take a moment to do so. It has even more info and insights on the joys of river cruising in general.
Will I fit in traveling as a single? We can comfortably say: ‘Yes!’ Unlike massive ocean going cruise ships where there are more dissimilarities than similarities between the passengers, river cruising is very different and provides an easy way to meet your fellow travelers. The best analogy? Imagine this... you love reading, history, art, the theater, architecture, cooking, wine, or music — the list goes on. You decide to register for a small class or group lecture session about one of these passions. You probably don’t know anyone yet, but attending these classes make it really easy to strike up conversation and friendships given you have so much in common — friendships that will last beyond class time.
I go to cooking or wine tasting classes all the time as a single. It’s rare that I don’t find an individual or two that I make plans with to see again and explore our common bond.
It’s just about the same on a river cruise. Forget for the moment that there will be other singles aboard. You’re going to be on a vacation with a small, intimate homogeneous group of like-minded, similar age travelers whose passion is travel and they’ve chosen to visit the same places as you. Another perk: Unlike large ocean going ships, you won’t see any families with very young children or young honeymooners.
While river ships are very spacious, on average they carry only about 150 travelers. The intimate nature of a river cruise also enables you to meet your fellow travelers more easily. That’s because all of your exciting, inter-active shore excursions are included in the price. You’ll all travel together in small groups when ashore giving you many opportunities to befriend both couples and other single travelers on board.
Is river cruising safe for singles? Most certainly! One reason: shore excursions are included in the price, so almost everyone on board participates in them. You’re almost always a part of a small, guided group of your fellow shipmates and led by “local” guides [who are carefully selected by the cruise lines] who know the area like the back of their hand. You aren’t loaded on to a strange bus with people you’ve never seen before and left on your own.
In fact, river cruises travel to many of the great cities of the world by river and there has never been a security incident on any river ship in any port visited by river cruise ships — they are your safest mode of vacation travel.
I’m not an experienced traveler, how will I know what to do? For many, traveling to foreign lands can be a bit daunting and at times even overwhelming. With that in mind, the Premier Team has taken their many years of international travel experience and created an exclusive, destination-specific COMPASSPOINT™ Guide Series. Each Guide in the series is chock-full of valuable information and hints that will help you plan, prepare, and even pack for your river cruise… right down to what the temperature will be in each place you visit, at the time of your visit.
If you’re doing a pre and/or post land stay, your personalized COMPASSPOINT™ Guide will also reveal some of our personal-favorite sightseeing hints and useful information on local transportation, cool restaurants, best shopping opportunities, best photo-ops, and even local tipping customs – all guaranteed to greatly improve the enjoyment of any river cruise, make it “hassle free” and truly one of your best vacations ever. These extraordinary Guides cover all major river cruise destinations in Europe, Russia, Southeast Asia, China and Egypt and are FREE when you book with Premier, the best travel agency around to help you select, plan, and prepare for your dream-come-true river cruise vacation!
Returning guests often tell us that other passengers asked for copies of their guides because they not only answer almost any question you might have about clothing, weather, and onboard life, they also discuss local customs, those can’t miss places to visit and even where to enjoy a great local lunch or pastry and cup of coffee ashore.
Will I have to dine alone? Ah yes, the dreaded long walk into the dining room only to stare at all those couples and friends enjoying their meal.
First and foremost, you probably wouldn’t be traveling alone if you weren’t comfortable with whom you are and with your ability to fend for yourself. River ships are so intimate and conducive to meeting new friends on or off the ship, dining alone is probably not going to be an issue. Why? If you haven’t met new friends by the end of the first cocktail hour, the Maitre d’s are so accustomed to single travelers, they’ll know who they are before they arrive in the dining room. Should you arrive as a single on the first night, they’ll ask you if you prefer to join other single travelers or dine with two or three other couples. We’re pretty sure that after your first evening and day’s touring, you’ll have met plenty of fellow travelers to enjoy all your meals with!
Can I stay connected? Of course! Almost all river cruises now offer free Internet access both in the accommodations and in most of the ship’s public areas. What a great way to email the kids or grandkids at home a picture of you enjoying yourself in the vineyards of Bordeaux, or along the Charles Bridge in Prague – you’re only as far away as you want to be on a river cruise. You’ll also be able to enjoy live U.S. TV shows including CNN and other news or movie channels in the comfort of your luxurious stateroom.
Will I be lonely? While not being “lonely” is something we can not guarantee, we’ve never had one of our single travelers come back from a river cruise and indicate they were lonely or could not easily meet and enjoy the company of their fellow travelers. There’s just too much going on, too many ways to meet new friends, and too much to see and do to have time to be lonely.
As a single or solo traveler, you probably have other single friends of both genders. Why not bring one or two along as travelling companions? With Premier’s negotiated “Single Traveler” rates that apply to hundreds of sailings, you can each have your own cabin and pay only the normal one-half twin rate. Why not have the best of all worlds and bring a friend along!
This article opened with a few words about the way Premier conducts business and how we encourage you to call and speak with one of our Personal Travel Planners. After reading this article, and “River Cruises for the Single Traveler,” we think you’ll understand why Premier is able to assist Singles plan and prepare for their river cruise vacation better than any other travel agency around. We take the time to get to know you and make sure you’re totally comfortable with the suggestions we make for your vacation.
We also know that your budget, just like everyone else’s is important. Beyond our extraordinary service and staff, Premier always guarantees our customers the best price. But remember, vacations are not just about price. They’re also about value, experience, trust and wonderful memories. Premier can say with confidence that we’ll always make sure you receive the best price, values, services and trust, and we know you’ll come home satisfied, glowing and full of wonderful memories.
Ready to begin planning your exciting river cruise vacation? Just pick up the phone and call one of our expert Personal Travel Planners — you won’t be disappointed!
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